DOKKEN – Broken Bones

DOKKEN - Broken Bones
  • 3.5/10
    DOKKEN - Broken Bones - 3.5/10


Frontiers Records
Release date: September 21, 2012

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Some rock stars age gracefully, while others tend to take a more unfriendly approach to getting older. Don Dokken seems to follow the latter. Once upon a time Dokken filled many a teenage bedroom with his smooth and soulful sounds with songs about love, heartbreak, and desire. The band gained much commercial success and helped define the Melodic/Hair Metal sound of the ‘80’s. However, those days are long gone, and the Dokken of today is more about depressive indulgence and less about uplifting melodies. Broken Bones, their eleventh studio album, may very well be nothing more than a sad, broken record.

Coming off their moderately successful 2008 album, Lightning Strikes Again, Dokken was able to recapture some of their youthful vigor. By using a marketing scheme aimed to attract their old fans with a near ‘80’s sounding album, Dokken seemed to be thriving with creativity once again. However, the eleven tracks featured on Broken Bones do not come anywhere near the buzz and excitement put forth from that previous work.

One of the most noticeable inconsistencies is the lack of passion and enthusiasm coming from Don Dokken’s vocals. It is clear the years have taken its toll on Dokken’s vocal ability as he is sounding much more coarse and abrasive than usual. He tends to use a large dose of vocal harmonies to cover up many of his deficiencies. It seems as if he is pushing his voice to limits which he cannot achieve, and the result is feeling the pain of harsh singing.

With the exception of the opening track “Empire” many of the tracks are presented at a slow to mid-tempo pace. With one slower and waning song after another, the anticipation for something even slightly stimulating grows stronger. Unfortunately, the album is never able to gain any momentum from a compositional standpoint.

Broken Bones hits bottom with the dreadful track “Today.” This is a slower, acoustic ballad and lyrically intended to be a happy and inspiring song about being in love. The musical presentation comes off as sad and distressing, and the gloomy arrangement just repeats itself over and over again.

There are however a couple of bright points which should be noted; one of them being the outstanding guitar work of Jon Levin. This is Levin’s third album with Dokken and he does a formidable job of recreating the loose and fiery guitar riffs set in stone by the band’s original guitarist George Lynch. Additionally one of the better tracks on the album, “For The Last Time” could have easily been from their previous album as it could be the only song which contains a fair amount of passion both musically and lyrically. Levin also plays spectacular on this track producing an intense riff and a killer solo.

Overall, Broken Bones is a complete disappointment. Don Dokken really seems out of his element with the entire production. It is clear that something is missing as it doesn’t compare well to anything from their decorated album catalog. Fans have certainly come to expect more from Dokken, and hang on to the hope there is still something left in the tank for the future.


  • Sean Meloy

    Sean Meloy was a reviewer, interviewer and DJ here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Iowa , USA. By day he is a straight laced, buttoned up, number crunching accountant; armed with his portable calculator. All other times he is a hard rocking Metal head! He spent many hours listening to records and 8-tracks with his father. Classic bands such as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton just to name a few. His father bought him his first record, Kiss Alive II, at age 6. By the time he reached his teens he was discovering all the Classic Metal of the 1980’s; Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, etc. He became a huge fan of the Thrash Metal of the time as well; Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, and Overkill. During the 1990’s he experimented with the Grunge and Hard Rock. However, by the time the millennium came he found himself going back to his roots and rebuilt the music collection he started in his teens.

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