Dokken – Broken Bones Album Review

To be honest with you, I doubt there was a bigger fan of Dokken in the NE Wales area in the mid-late 80s than me. I f*ckin’ loved this band. I followed the trials, the tribulations, the arguments played out between Don Dokken, and the hugely talented and insanely great guitar god George Lynch, in what was the musical equivalent to TMZ which was Hit Parader. This feature ran for what seemed like years at the time (and still does). Unfortunately, one of the best metal bands was always doomed to failure as Dokken v Lynch was the 80s equivalent of The Avengers v Loki, only this time there would be no winner, for either the band, or more importantly the fans
Reformations came, and most unusual, went! Slight hint of sarcasm there, but the true potential was ruined just as they were hitting their stride after the sublime ‘Kiss of Death’. They came close in 2009, but (surprise) it all fell apart. It’s a shame as the other half (or should that be, three-quarters in Lynch/Pilson & Brown) are releasing an album of new songs and some old Dokken classics with various vocalists. For someone like me, this is both a pleasure, but also a pain, as I’m sure most Dokken fans would love the various hatchets to be buried (and not in each members heads). I’ve heard the recent Dokken Greatest Hits reworked songs and it was slightly painful to hear classics, down tuned to suit Don Dokken’s vocal register
But, we are where we are. 2012 sees Dokken release their 11 studio album, Broken Bones. Despite my reservations, Broken Bones is the type of album that someone like David Coverdale should be doing. Stop pretending it’s the 80s, and deal with the hand you have now! Surprisingly the end result is pleasant and more importantly, decent enough. Gone are the high pitched vocals and screams, and in comes DD of the 21st Century, a mellower and more monotone version. I don’t mean this in a bad way at all, as Dokken has his voice, and it’s still a good one to have! It just has none of the trademark Don Dokken wail!
‘Empire’ kicks off proceedings, and yes, the Dokken flame still burns, but not with the same intensity. The sound of Dokken is courtesy of Don, even down to some of the riffs, unless Jon Levin is being forced at gunpoint to play in the style of George Lynch. ‘Broken Bones’ is straight out of 80s Dokken  and with riffing like what’s on ‘Blind’, I can’t tell the difference. It’s like I’ve loaded up MrFusion and headed back to 1985. ‘Waterfall’ is a fairly bland effort by DD’s standards, but the songs leading up to that point make the point that Dokken in the current age is a viable prospect. ‘Fade Away’ is very reminiscent of ‘Stop Fighting Love/Will The Sune Rise’, and Levin sets his stall out with a steamroller of a riff on ‘Burning Tears’. It’s more ‘Dysfunctional’ era than ‘Unchain the Night’, and I can understand DD for not wanting to try to recreate the past like other bands have recently tried to do. ‘Broken Bones’ both starts and finishes strongly with a bit of a blip in the mid-section.
All in all it’s the best of the bunch so far from any of the 80s bands trying to recapture some of their youth in 2012. Dokken’s got the mix just about right. It may struggle to appease the hard core fans, but I for one am still glad to be hearing music from the pen of Don Dokken.
Not reviewed here is the Deluxe Edition CD+DVD. That’s the version I’d plump for if I were you!!
Dokken are- 
Don Dokken (vocals)
Mick Brown (drums)
Jon Levin (guitar)
Sean McNabb (bass)
Cd edition (jewel box)

Label: Frontiers Records Music Style: Melodic Rock
Cat #: FR CD 567 Cod: 8024391056721

Deluxe edition (Cd+DVD digipak)

Cat #: FR CDVD 567 Cod: 8024391056745

Release date:
EU: September 21st
NA: September 25th

Tracklisting: Empire; Broken Bones; Best Of Me; Blind; Waterfall; Victim Of The Crime; Burning Tears; Today; For the Last Time; Fade Away; Tonight.

Bonus DVD: “Making of The Album” documentary (length approx 40 minutes)

Author: barnstoneworthutd

Rock music lover from the age of 4 thanks to my dad. I migrated to the classic rock bands of the 70 (Rainbow, Rush, Lizzy, Purple etc) before discovering melodic rock and hair metal in the 80s and beyond. Also partial to a bit of prog

2 thoughts on “Dokken – Broken Bones Album Review”

  1. Good music doesn't have an expiration date, and there was plenty of great rock in the 80's. Hence, if I had to choose between the insipid writing that's cranked out on a perpetual basis these days vs. the myriad grand rock themes churned out in the 80's, I'll take a good band that's still writing passionate, 80's inspired melodic rock any day over the current alternative.In Dokken's case the band should have continued where \”Back For The Attack\” left off, but instead, what do we get? The best thing on Broken Bones is \”Fade Away\”, and that's only because it's a rehash of 'Stop Fighting Love'(it's uglier step brother perhaps). Personally, I thought their last release ('Lightening Strikes Again') was a bigger step in the right direction, in my opinion.As for myself, I'll continue living in the 80's while you and the rest of the world languishes in the lackadaisical and misguided notion that the insipid writing of the now is somehow superior because it's current and has somehow \”evolved\”. Too many people hold this ignorant idea that current equates to superior. If that were the case, everyone would consider Warrant superior to Led Zeppelin. Anyway, good luck.


  2. James I agree! I love 80s AOR/Melodic Rock in particular, and theres been some poor efforts this year from a few 80s bands trying to live on their past glory. I stll to this day regularly listen to Dokken, Stryper, Ratt etc and there only a few that are still churning out quality. Trouble is many a band want to try to create another Invasion of Your Privacy/ Once Bitten / Under Lock And Key, but either they are restriced (by voice as in Dokkens case ) or they are just not as good as they used to be. Im pleased thet Dokken hasnt tried to live on past glories, as his voice is much lower than it used to be, but hes worked with what hes got and because of that its a half decent album. Id love nothing more than AOR to be popular, it was never the most loved genre in its heyday, but I always turn to good quality music, which in my case is the 80s as this was when I was in my teens and has the most significance to me. This album is not superior at all to anything that Dokken did after 1990, its a review of where we are today. Listen to Work Of Art, Lionville etc as these are bands who have both feet planted firmly in the 80s and they are simply great albums from current bands. If they were released 30 years ago, they would be multi platinum, in the current era unfortunately they will sell bugger all, and thats a shame. Im trying to stick up for bands that dont get a listen, and really deserve to. In a lot of AOR cases in particular, current isnt superior! But I do agree with your comment that Warrant are superior to Zep!! Sorry! Last night I was celebrating the Marshall 50 Years of Loud event, that should give you an inclination of where my musical feet are planted. Thanks for your comment, Paul.


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