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