I have been listening to Dokken for over 30 years now, and I have to admit that I have some extremely strong opinions about the band. I chose not to review Broken Bones when it first came out, as I didn’t want to deter or sway those fans that would purchase Broken Bones. I didn’t like the band’s last album Lightning Strikes Again very much, and I didn’t expect Broken Bones to be much better. The video for “Empire” was released, and I have to admit that I had a glimpse of hope for the new album. Jon Levin’s guitar is shredding, “Wild” Mick Brown is sounding great on the skins, and Don Dokken surprisingly pushes his voice in this song. With that being said, I decided to spin Broken Bones, and give the band another chance.
Broken Bones starts off strong enough. The first three songs, “Empire”, “Broken Bones” and “Best of Me” have that classic Dokken feel. It certainly isn’t Back For The Attack era stuff, but it is solid enough to keep me interested.
At this point the album shifts into a bunch of mid tempo songs that honestly work a lot better with Don Dokken’s voice. Don’s voice hasn’t aged well, but the songs were smartly crafted to take advantage of his diminished range. Some of the songs have a more modern approach, but Jon Levin keeps it very Dokken like with his Lynch style noodling.
One song that I typically won’t expect to like at all, “Victim of the Crime” has grown on me the most. The song has a little middle eastern flair, mixed with a little Sabbath like heaviness. Levin throws in a little Dokken style flash to keep the song honest. I think this might be the most creative song on Broken Bones.
The album closes out in good fashion with a flashy rocker “Tonight” that is more in the classic Dokken style. I thought this song helped to bring the whole album together. It is a very smartly mixed album in my opinion. Heavy rockers up front, mid tempo stuff in the middle, and a classic Dokken style rocker to close it out.
Overall, I didn’t expect to like Broken Bones at all, and after giving it a few spins, I have really enjoyed this album. I think it is Dokken’s strongest album since 1999’s Erase The Slate. If you go in expecting Under Lock and Key, or Back For The Attack you may be disappointed. If you listen with an open mind, you might be greatly surprised.
Give Broken Bones a chance! I they can win over this Dokken critic, they can certainly win you over too!
Rating: Out of 10
02. Broken Bones
03. Best of Me
06. Victim Of The Crime
07. Burning Tears
09. For The Last Time
10. Fade Away
Don Dokken – vocals
Mick Brown – drums
Jon Levin – guitar
Sean McNabb – bass
Finding a cool CD sometimes requires you to be in the right place, at the right time. On a freezing cold Thursday afternoon, I stopped in the local Half Price Books, not to look for music, but to find a movie on DVD that I only had on VHS. I was unsuccessful in finding the movie I was looking for (Aliens), but from the previously owned music section, Doro’s Force Majeure found itself in my hands rather quickly.
Force Majeure is the first CD Doro recorded without the Warlock name. This CD has several classic cuts including
“Save My Soul”, “World Gone Wild”, the cover of Procul Harum’s “A White Shade of Pale”and my personal favorite “River of Tears”.
I once owned Force Majeure on cassette, but never replaced on CD until yesterday afternoon. I can’t believe it took me so long to replace this on CD. I have been thoroughly enjoying Force Majeure, and highly recommend this to all Doro Pesch fans! Doro’s voice has never sounded better than it does on Force Majeure. This CD has some cool tunes and also features the excellent guitar work of Jon Levin.
You can score this CD for less than five bucks at this link. It is worth every penny!
Check it out!
Rating: Out of 10
1. A Whiter Shade of Pale 3:56
2. Save My Soul 3:51
3. World Gone Wild 3:44
4. Misson of Mercy 3:59
5. Angels With Dirty Faces 3:59
6. Beyond the Trees 2:27
7. Hard Times 3:33
8. Hellraiser 5:04
9. I Am What I Am 2:36
10. Cry Wolf 4:47
11. Under the Gun 3:48
12. River of Tears 3:54
13. Bis Aufs Blut 0:38
Doro Pesch – vocals
Jon Levin – guitars
Tommy Henriksen – bass and background vocals
Bobby Rondinelli – drums
I must admit that I really wasn’t looking very forward to seeing Dokken. I wasn’t very impressed by their new CD, and with Don Dokken being the only member of the original band left, this is more like the Don Dokken solo band.
Dokken guitarist Jon Levin, without question can play any guitar lick that George Lynch recorded before him, and does it quite well. That was the highlight for me, when it came to Dokken’s set. Chris McCarvill from House of Lords played bass (covering for Barry Sparks who did not tour) and BJ Zampa (also from House of Lords) played drums, covering for Mick Brown who was on tour with Ted Nugent. I never had the chance to see House of Lords play live, so it was to cool to at lease see a couple of the guys performing in Dokken’s band.
I don’t know if Don was trying to squeeze some high notes out of his crotch, but he wore a pair of jeans that both my wife and I thought was far too tight for a man of his age and size. As you can see in the video below, Don was skipping the higher vocals in Kiss of Death. Amazingly, his newer song, “Standing On the Outside” sounds better than his Lynch era material.
The set list has the following songs:
“Intro (Without Warning)”, “Tooth and Nail”, “Into the Fire”
“Standing On the Outside”, “Dream Warriors”, “Just Got Lucky”, “Kiss of Death”, “Alone Again”, “Breaking The Chains” and “In My Dreams”
As much as I love the Lynch and Pilson era of Dokken, I think Don Dokken needs to find another bass player that can sing the higher parts that he can no longer reach. Pilson’s vocals are still great missed in this band. Aside from Don’s diminished range in his vocals, Jon Levin‘s playing was excellent all night, and for the band having some fill in musicians, the songs sounded better than expected.
Check out the live clips from the show below.
Kiss of Death
Standing on the Outside/ Dream Warriors
Dokken’s tenth studio album, Lightning Strikes Again, brings the group’s sound full circle. Taking its title from a track on the band’s 1985 classic Under Lock & Key, the 12 new songs ( including the breakout tracks “Standing On The Outside,” “Oasis,” and “Heart To Stone”) capture the signature mix of barbed-wire riffs and razor-sharp melodies that made Dokken one of the most dominant creative and commercial forces of melodic hard rock in the 1980s.
Beginning in July, Dokken heads out on the road for a 40-city U.S. tour with fellow headbangers Poison and Sebastian Bach. But before the “Live, Raw & Uncut Summer Tour 2008” visits your neck of the woods, Don Dokken and bandmate Jon Levin paid a visit to the Rhino offices to autograph some posters -which you can win in Rhino’s latest sweepstakes.
Measuring 12” x 18”, this promotional-only poster for Lightning Strikes Again features the CD’s “striking” cover art and has been boldly signed by both Don and his guitarist. We’ve got five of these to give away to lucky Dokken fans, enter by June 27 and one of them could be yours!
Many of the artists who were highly successful in the 80’s have tried reigniting their careers with sounds that take listeners back to their heyday. Whitesnake, Def Leppard and House of Lords have all released discs that their fans should be pleased with. Dokken tries to recapture the lightning, or sound that once made them famous as well.
George Lynch and Jeff Pilson have long been absent from the band. In fact, the current lineup of Dokken, Brown, Sparks and Levin, is one of the longest running for Dokken, since the bands’ most successful discs from the mid to late 80’s. It is ironic that this lineup, tries to emulate the sound of the Lynch/Pilson era. Jon Levin does a damn good George Lynch imitation, and he really cuts loose on this record. Don Dokken recruited none other than Jeff Scott Soto to sing back up vocals on this record, and it really does make a difference. That unfortunately is where the good ends and the bad begins.
In 2008, Don Dokken has very limited range with his vocals. He doesn’t take the chances that he used to in the 80’s, and that is what made their music interesting, and exciting. I am assuming that Don can’t hit the high notes anymore, as he doesn’t bother to try on Lightning Strikes Again. He stays within his own comfort zone, and as a result, the songs on this disc lack the fire of the band’s earlier material. On certain songs, Don sounds like he strains to hit the notes that he use to hit with ease.
As much as I wanted to enjoy this record, I found the songs limp and uninspiring. There are three or four songs on this disc that are above average, but the majority of the material is sub par in my opinion. The music sounds close to their original stuff from the 80’s, but without the powerful vocals that these songs deserve, they come out sounding somewhat below average. After three lackluster albums since the year 2000, I believe it is time for the band Dokken to hang it up. Lightning did not strike again for this listener.
Rating:Out of 10
1. Standing On The Outside
2. Give Me A Reason
3. Heart To Stone
5. How I Miss Your Smile
7. Point Of No Return
8. I Remember
9. Judgment Day
10. It Means
11. Release Me
12. This Fire
Don Dokken – vocals
Mick Brown – drums
Jon Levin – guitar
Barry Sparks – bass