Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Dokken – Broken Bones

I was a streamer by the time this album came out, so it felt like I purchased it.

And it didn’t feel right not finishing off the Dokken series for three more albums.

“Broken Bones” came out in 2012 on Frontiers. Mick Brown didn’t play on the album as I think he was touring with Ted Nugent at that point in time, so the drumming was handled by Jimmy DeGrasso. Joining Don Dokken and Jon Levin was new bassist Sean McNabb.

And the star of the album is Jon Levin on guitar again. His solos are excellent, songs within songs moments and he can write a mean riff. Vocally, Don Dokken sings in his lower register while Mark Boals is doing the backing vocals.

“Empire”

Like most of the Dokken albums released, they start off with a fast rocker. This one is more like “Till The Living End”.

Check out the guitar leads from Jon Levin on this.

What Will You Rule In The End
A Burnin Empire

“Broken Bones”

“It’s Not Love” is instantly recognisable and it also reminds me of a cut from “Back For The Attack”.

An emotive lead break from Levin is a must hear.

All These Bones That Lie Within My Spirit
Broken Just Like Me

“Best of Me”

Very grungy (think “Even Flow” from Pearl Jam).

“Blind”

A slower groove doesn’t hide “The Hunter” influence.

“Waterfall”

At 2.48 long, it feels like an unfinished cut, a left over psychedelic track. A miss for me.

“The Victim of the Crime”

The intro is head banging material before it moves into an exotic sounding riff and groove, more Tool like. And I’m always interested when bands do these kinds of things.

The lead breaks from Levin are worthy, reminding me of a cross between Uli Jon Roth and Yngwie Malmsteen.

“Burning Tears”

A haunting melodic acoustic arpeggio similar to “Alone Again” starts the song, but it’s the distorted riff which kicks in after that gets the head banging.

And Jon Levin again shines on the lead guitar here.

“Today”

It started to become a trend, since “Dysfunctional” that a cover song would appear on a Dokken album. This one is from Jefferson Airplane cover, written by Marty Balin and Paul Kantner.

It feels like an inferior “From The Beginning” ELP cover they did on “Dysfunctional”. Better to be left off, but Frontier’s likes to put old songs under a new sound copyright which they control.

“For the Last Time”

Jon Levin again steals the light, with his movement from acoustic passages to full out rock and metal riffs.

“Fade Away”

It has a feel from “The Hunter” in the intro and “Dream Warriors” in the verses. Then it’s like “Stop Fighting Love” and “Will The Sun Rise”. Musically, it’s great to jam to, vocally, Don is in the lower register and its very monotonous.

But Levin shines again in the lead break.

“Tonight”

It’s another fast rocker, to close the album with, similar to the title track in speed, but very Euro sounding, more Scorpions like. Levin just keeps shining throughout the album with another guitar hero lead break.

And make sure you check out the guitar harmony lead break to close the song and album out.

“Can’t Fight This Love”

It’s a bonus track from the cloth of “Back For The Attack”.

If you’re a Dokken fan there is something here for ya. If you’re a guitar player, you’ll be impressed by Jon Levin.

P.S. Even though some of the songs are dull, Levin’s performances are anything but dull.

P.S.S. What happened to the drum sounds on some of the albums during the 2000’s? Is it because artists are recording at home or in cheaper studios than the studios before. Is the mixing bad?

P.S.S.S. Don Dokken’s voice on this album is very monotonous and same same on each song. But he does get the job done with the help of Mark Boals.

P.S.S.S.S. Did I mention that Jon Levin is a Guitar Hero? He is.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Dokken – Lightning Strikes Again

It came out in 2008.

It’s not on Spotify but YouTube has various videos of the album and it is the last Dokken album I purchased.

By the time “Broken Bones” came out, I was a streamer. But I’ve always had that album, along with “Return To The East” and “The Lost Tapes” in my “saved for later” shopping cart, waiting until the price is right.

This album is also the last to feature bassist Barry Sparks and drummer Mick Brown.

Like previous records, Don Dokken had to organize various labels for a worldwide release.
Rhino for the North America market, Frontiers for Europe and King for Japan.

Production is handled by Don Dokken and Tim David-Kelly.

Standing On The Outside

A riff from “It’s Not Love” kicks off the album and I’m tapping my foot along with it.

The verses are better than the Chorus.

And the lead break from Levin is excellent.

Give Me A Reason

It starts off with clean tone arpeggios that remind me of “Walk Away”. But that was hiding the rocker to come.

Musically the song is excellent, while the melodies are stuck in the lower bass/baritone range and sound a bit monotonous.

Heart To Stone

A feel from “Into The Fire” kicks it off before it moves into a “Stop Fighting Love” vibe. It’s basically Dokken sounding like Dokken.

Jon Levin doesn’t get the respect he deserves He’s the longest serving guitarist in the band and he’s become a great co-writer with Don. Plus he respects the past.

How I Miss Your Smile

A simple repeating two chord arpeggio Intro kicks off the song and Don’s heartbreak lyrics take over.

It’s a run of the mill power ballad, but the lead break from Levin makes it worthy. He’s emotive and bluesy.

Oasis

A classic metal riff kicks off the song, straight from the grooves of the “Tooth And Nail” album.

The guitar solo reminds me of “Alone Again” and I like it.

But it suffers from a lack of dynamics vocally.

Point Of No Return

My favorite track.

The Intro reminds me of “Seven Nation Army” but once the song picks up it’s got a “Paris Is Burning” vibe.

Mick Brown and Barry Sparks lay down an energetic tempo.

Jon Levin has done a great job continuing the Dokken guitar brand in the 2000’s and he continues to shine on this track, showing his Lynch and Schenker/Jab influences.

Don Dokken is gravelly in his vocals and I like it as it works for this song.

The Chorus is anthemic and check out the lead break. It’s guitar hero worthy.

I Remember

Another ballad which could have come from Klaus Meine.

Judgement Day

Another favourite.

Levin is inspired by old Dokken.

It feels like “Cry Of The Gypsy” merged with “Lost Behind A Wall” and I like it.

And Don’s lower range singing works perfectly on this while Levin shines all over this track.

It Means

This is good and I like it when artists merge their old way with new influences from modern rock artists.

Release Me

Musically it’s modern rock, like a bit of Tool and a bit of Chevelle.

But it’s the lead break from Levin that captures my attention.

This Fire

An energetic rocker and the riffs are excellent.

Sunset Superstar

The bonus track on the Japanese edition. A speed metal cut like “Tooth And Nail”. It should have been on the album and Don’s gravelly vocals work.

If you like the 80s version of Dokken, you will like this. It’s the best album of the Jon Levin era.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Dokken – Hell To Pay

It probably didn’t make a big impression on me, because I forgot I had purchased it, so I purchased it again and now I have two CD’s.

The most dangerous job in the world at that point in time was the Dokken guitar player spot. After George Lynch, the band went through Reb Beach and John Norum.

For “Hell To Pay”, released in 2004, there was another newbie, Jon Levin on guitars.

Production was once again handled by Don Dokken.

The Last Goodbye

The song is written by Don Dokken, Mick Brown and Jon Levin, who quickly announces himself with a bone crunching riff inspired by “Kashmir” over a rock steady groove by Brown.

Dokken has been dabbling with exotic sounds on previous albums and that spirit has carried through on this.

Make sure you check out the lead break from Levin.

Don’t Bring Me Down

Written by Dokken, Barry Sparks and Levin.

It’s fast.

This is Levin’s statement.

That lead break.

Wow. Just listen to it.

And he did something on that lead break, not heard on a Dokken album, a harmony solo.

Escape

Another Dokken, Brown and Levin cut.

This one is like a dark rock song, almost alternative but still delivered with hooks from the 80s, something they copped shit for, but to me that’s what’s special about the album. Sounding current and modern with a sense of pop melody in the vocals.

Haunted

Another Dokken, Brown and Levin cut and one of my favourite Dokken cuts from this version of the band.

Levin goes a bit high octane bluesy in the lead break and I like it.

Prozac Nation

It’s written by Kelly Keeling, Dokken and Levin.

A familiar riff and vocal melody rule this song.

Levin goes all chromatic for his brief solo spot light.

Care For You

Written by Dokken and Keeling.

Yeah I didn’t care much about this song and I was disappointed when the bonus track was this song in an “unplugged” setting.

Better Off Before

Another Dokken, Brown and Levin cut.

A groove metal riff kicks it off, very Disturbed like.

Dokken is bringing his sense of melody to it and the 2004 version of the band is definitely rocking.

Still I’m Sad

No relation to the Rainbow song.

It’s a cut penned by Don.

It’s got groove and I like it’s three distinct parts, the clean tone verses, the distorted melodic pre chorus and the anthemic Chorus.

I Surrender

Again, no relation to the Rainbow song.

This one is also a penned by Don. It percolates with a hooky riff as Don builds it vocally.

The Chorus riff reminds me of “Unchain The Night” and I like it.

Levin is also channeling Neal Schon on the lead break.

Letter From Home

Written by Keeling, Levin and Dokken.

The band is channeling The Beatles and Led Zeppelin on this one.

The lead break from Levin is excellent. Very Jimmy Page like.

Can You See

A Dokken and Levin cut. it’s got that Dokken 80s spirit from “The Hunter” but Don’s voice is low, almost monotone like which was slowly becoming his style.

And Levin brings it again for the lead break.

If this is your first Dokken experience, there is enough here to get you interested to hear more.

If you grew up with Dokken in the 80s then this is a good listen.

C

Standard