Broken Bones

1. Empire
2. Broken Bones
3. Best Of Me
4. Blind
5. Waterfall
6. Victim Of The Crime
7. Burning Tears
8. Today
9. For The Last Time
10. Fade Away
11. Tonight

Don Dokken (vocals)
Mick Brown (drums)
Jon Levin (guitar)
Sean McNabb (bass)

Breaking the Chains (1981)
Tooth and Nail (1984)
Under Lock and Key (1985)
Back for the Attack (1987)
Dysfunctional (1995)
Shadowlife (1997)
Erase the Slate (1999)
Long Way Home (2002)
Hell to Pay (2004)
Lightning Strikes Again (2008)


produced by Don Dokken
mixed by Bob St. John & Wyn Davis
mastered by Maor Appelbaum

Released 21/9-2012
Reviewed 19/9-2012


I would very much like to know why Don Dokken sounds so sad… or not sad, actually, he sounds more apathetic. But almost anywhere you look you'll read that this album is a return back to the good old Dokken, "back to the roots" they say - an album the fans has been waiting for and perhaps I'm the only one asking this question but I very much would like to know what exactly the fans has been waiting for? Was it an album that can go by without being noticed or without attention? Was it an album that sounds completely perfunctory? That doesn't try to inspire or engage you but rather just hurl you down in to some kind of melancholic mess where we're all just saggy and depressed. If that was what the fans was waiting for, your wishes has come true because that's kind of all that 'Broken Bones' does.

I won't try to give a false impression about me being some sort of Dokken know it all because the fact is that I haven't heard very much from them. It's not that I've disliked everything I've heard, it's just that I haven't fallen for the little Dokken I've heard. I've had my music and Dokken has just not been a part of that, which made me very eager to take this Dokken album as I was curious of what I'd missed from this classic band. This is the eleventh Dokken album and I've played it plenty of times now, I've given it a fair chance but I just feel my interest is going the same way as this album - nowhere. I'm not disappointed by the album but it won't really make any impact on my previous Dokken interest either.

I'll return to why Dokken will remain an outcast in my music collection later but let's continue this review by explaining what we actually get from 'Broken Bones'. The album begins with Empire, which is one of the fastest songs on the album, beginning with a guitar riff that sounds like the engines on motorcycles as they're running on curvy country side roads in the North American forrest and mountain landscapes. One can almost see it in front of you how you travel in high speed on the bike, feeling the wind blow past your body and getting trapped in the leaves of the trees. The contrast to what you get in the second song is almost startling. Empire feels like a soundtrack to some sort of mafia movie where the plot takes place in dark allies outside suspicious casinos during autumn nights where all the mafia guys are driving big american cars instead of motorcycles. These two songs are probably the two most memorable songs on the album, at least to me as it's the only two songs I distinctively remember. The third song is called Best Of Me and is the most apathetical song so far by quite a margin, but it will meet its superior not only once as the album continues.

I know Mr Dokken has made some surgery in his throat as they probably had suffered some damage of his high pitched screams in earier days but it just feels like he doesn't dare to do that anymore. Not just does he keep away from the high pitched stuff on 'Broken Bones' but also the really low pitched as well and I personally can't see why he still has decided to do these songs as he's clearly limited in his voice here. Sure, the band has his name and of course I understand why he wants to do it, but this just sounds nonchalant and uncommitted to the task. And in his fall he takes the music with him because that feels written after his limitations and hence the whole album ends up being a depressing, tenacious thing with songs that doesn't even get close to catch my interest.

As I've said already I've played 'Broken Bones' plenty of times and every time I play the album I wonder how long it is as I feel it just never ends. Finally I checked when I played it the eight time and despite my feelings of a really long album I discovered it was no more than 45 minutes, which kind of explained why the watch wasn't consistent with my time perception as I played the album. I thought it was at least the full hour. By the second half of the album we get some Indian or Middle eastern tunes from Victim Of The Crime and along with the first two I'd say this probably is the best song on the album. Also Burning Tears and the concluding Tonight are songs that feels better than the average but the whole album just feels so vapid and languid that it's difficult to feel anything at all for it.

Specific negatives then? Well, that's a difficult one. There aren't anything really, really negative with the album (except perhaps the mood) but neither is there anything really positive either. The album is nicely done, well produced, well played and also on the vocal side I can't really criticise anything in particular - but the album lacks emotions. I miss some drama and what I really want is some commitment - but if there are any at all on this album I have to say I can't find it. 'Broken Bones' gives me nothing on the emotional side - no energy, not fun and no feelings. I've managed to live 27 years without actively playing Dokken and I'll probably manage to live another 27 if it's the kind of music we get on 'Broken Bones' that is back to basics when we're talking Dokken. The music that defines this band. And if you like me haven't felt an urge to learn how Dokken sounds, I can't really say that 'Broken Bones' is an album that's worth the effort. Sure, if you're a fan you'll probably like this album - I can't really see why you wouldn't - and hence I think the album pass for approval.




Label: Frontiers Records
Three similar bands: Bon Jovi/Tyketto/Trixter
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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