Dokken ‘Broken Bones’

  Hard rock heavyweights Dokken have sold over 10 million records worldwide and are about to release their eleventh studio album, “Broken Bones.” They are the only band that I chose to immortalize by having the phrase “Dokken Rules!” under my highschool yearbook picture. So it’s safe to say I was pretty pumped to hear some new music from them. Dokken has had their share of ups and downs over the years. The infighting between frontman Don Dokken and guitarist George Lynch led to Lynch’s departure from the band and a series of personnel changes over the years that followed. Joining Don in the latest lineup is original drummer Mick Brown, guitarist Jon Levin and bassist Sean McNabb.

  “Broken Bones” starts off solid with the first single, “Empire,” which features killer riffs and an awesome guitar solo. This seems like Dokken circa 1984, returning to the heaviness of “Tooth and Nail.” The title track is next and while not quite as fierce as “Empire” is still a solid rocker of a tune. What comes next is disappointing. The next few tracks just don’t seem to cut it and the middle of the album sounds out of place especially “Blind.” But, “Broken Bones” ends with a bang. The final six songs are terrific and more of the quality writing I would expect from Don. “Burning Tears” and “For The Last Time” are melodic hardrock gems. Providing a nice change of pace is a beautiful cover version of “Today” by Jefferson Airplane.

  The production on this record is sleek and the musicianship is amazing. People tend to focus on the loss of guitar phenom Lynch and not give Levin the credit he is due. That’s a shame because Levin is an amazing musician in his own right and this album is full of blazing riffs and monster sized guitar solos. And now we have to address the other issue, the vocals of Don Dokken. Don has taken a lot of slack over the years for his vocal range or lack thereof. Even after surgery Don doesn’t have the upper register he used to. Okay, so he can’t wail like he did back in the day. So what? He has done a great job tuning down to a lower register and has changed his songwriting style to accommodate the changes. He still has a mellow, unique sound that many people would kill to have.

  While “Broken Bones” has a few weaknesses, it is still a pretty terrific record. Full of aggressive guitars and catchy melodies, this album can stand on its own. It may not be the Dokken of old but it is definitely the Dokken of today. So sit back, listen and enjoy it for what it is.