Dokken - Breaking the Chains (Elektra/Asylum) 1983
1. "Breaking the Chains"
It's about time I found a copy of this on CD. I never, ever see this one used and finally secured a copy on SecondSpin.com for $5.99. "Breaking the Chains" was originally released as an import of Carrere Record and later picked up and re-released by Elektra. I have not seen the original version but have been told that the original had the studio version of "Paris is Burning" and also has the track "Live To Rock" listed as "We're Illegal". The live version of "Paris is Burning" was recorded live in Berlin, December 1982.
Dokken's debut is an explosive, fairly raw chunk of early 80's heavy metal. Songs like "Nightrider" and "Stick to Your Guns" remind me of Ratt or mid-80's Scorpions. However, what Dokken employed here was slightly different than most of the bands of this genre. While they did have the heavy guitar wizardry of George Lynch, what set them apart was the multi-layered vocal harmonies, something that would become a trademark of the band on following releases. Of course, the title track is on of their trademark songs and is certainly a classic. As a matter of fact, the entire album is quite good. I actually enjoy the pre-gloss days of the band a bit more than the glossier albums like "Under Lock & Key."
Bassist for this album, Juan Croucier left to join Ratt at which point long time Dokken bassist/vocalist Jeff Pilson joined the fold and added a lot to the band's vocal harmonies..
Had this CD signed by "Wild" Mick Brown when I met him performing with Ted Nugent in Beaver Dam, WI in 2008.
Dokken - Under Lock and Key (Elektra) 1985
1. "Unchain the Night"
Strong commercial and melodic heavy metal album with a stellar guitar performance by George Lynch. Plenty of strong tracks; "The Hunter, Unchain The Night, In My Dreams" and "It's Not Love." "In My Dreams" was an MTV hit for the band. Of course, what would an 80's pop metal album be with the obligatory power ballads? "Lock and Key" has it's share of these as well. (ie "Slippin' Away") Still, being a fan of this type of melodic metal, I certainly can appreciate this disc and am sure I will get more Dokken in the future.
Dokken - Back for the Attack (Elektra) 1987
1. "Kiss of Death"
Dokken had a hit with the song "Dream Warriors", which was featured in the movie "A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 - Dream Warriors". Overall, however, I think this album featured the least amount of hits for this band, yet I find that this disc is heavier, more urgent, and more serious than any of the band's earlier outputs. Still, with all of the band's 80's outputs, if you like one, you like them all. Dokken just sounds like Dokken. The band also has a song that was released as a b-side called "Back for the Attack" that was originally recorded for this release, but for some stupid reason, left off. I have this song on a compilation CDR.
Dokken - Beast From The East (Elektra) 1988
1. "Unchain The Night"
OUTSTANDING live CD! One of the things I have always liked about live discs is that raw energy and heavy sound that just can't seem to be captured in the studio. That is exactly what Dokken captured here. They were also at the top of their game when recording this CD, so the band is tight. Take a listen to "Mr. Scary" and see if it doesn't send chills down your spine. George Lynch sounds amazing. Decades later people can mock the look of the 80's bands, but there is no denying the talent. "Beast from the East" is probably my favorite Dokken CD.
The 2 LP US version as well as the Japanese version contains three bonus tracks: "Standing in the Shadows", "Sleepless Nights" and "Turn on the Action."
Don Dokken - Up From the Ashes (Geffen) 1990
1. "Crash 'N' Burn"
Hmm, smells like Dokken, sounds like Dokken. Even looks like Dokken. Must be Dokken. This 'solo' cd release from Dokken mainman Don Dokken may have his full name on the disc and may have been hyped as a solo disc, but the music sounds so much like Dokken, it's a wonder he just didn't release it under his last name only. Perhaps the music is a tad more mellow here and there, but overall, this disc is just as good as most of the Dokken 1980's releases. Along for the ride is drummer Mickey Dee (Motorhead/King Diamond), bassist Peter Baltes (Accept), and guitarist/songwriter John Norum (Europe) who is a full fledged member of Dokken (the band) as of the winter of 2002. The band also starred in the movie Far Out Man.
Dokken (Victor) 1994
1. "What Price"
This Japan-only, self-titled release is a stripped down, rawer version of "Dysfunctional", minus a couple of songs. I had actually heard "Dysfunctional" first and wasn't impressed. So, I was expecting the worst here, but surprisingly, this album is actually pretty darned good. Perhaps I should have given "Dysfuntional" a few more spins to see if it would have grown on me. Granted, "Dokken" doesn't quite have the immediate catchiness of some of their 80's classics, but lead off track "What Price" and album closer "Too High Too Fly" are quite good. I actually prefer the slightly rawer, heavier mix or mastering on this CD to the slicker American release. Perhaps this added to my more immediate enjoyment of "Dokken". This Japanese release comes wrapped in a nice box and also includes a 24-page, full color book packed with photos of the reunited band, as well as a 20-page CD insert. The insert is complete with lyrics in both Japanese and English and a biography, unfortunately only in Japanese.
Dokken - Dysfunctional (Columbia) 1995
Dokken's reunion CD is aptly titled considering the feuding between the original band members. "Dysfunctional" is a decent, yet uninspiring album and doesn't exactly recall the glory days of the band. Honestly though, there are a few decent cuts on this disc. "The Maze" is a decent song with a slight King's X vibe and "Too High to Fly" is an excellent song. "Lesser of Two Evils" isn't a bad song either and reminds me of the Dokken of old. Overall the sound here is an attempt at alternative rock in order to fit in with the times ('95), although I think the band also took some music cues from their 70s heros as well. I can understand why an older band wants to be relevant, but the problem will always remain that the longtime fans of the band will inherently like the sound that the band created for themselves. In most cases changing styles will most likely alienate your old fans and certainly not create any new fans. The younger music fans aren't interested in the older generation's bands, no matter how 'current' they sound. Unfortunately Dokken didn't figure that out until after they released their next CD, which was a horrible mess titled "Shadowlife."
Dokken - Shadowlife (CMC International) 1997
I saw Dokken several times since this release and thankfully they pretended like they never recorded Dysfunctional or Shadowlife.
Dokken - The Very Best of Dokken (Rhino) 1999
1. "Breaking the
"The Very Best of Dokken" is an excellent,16-song career retrospective from a band that dominated in the 80's. The tracks span the time from "Breaking the Chains" through "Dysfunctional" and are arranged in chronological order. The one track that is not from a Dokken album is "Mirror Mirror," from Don Dokken's 1990 solo album, which to me always sounded like Dokken anyhow. Nicely laid out insert with detailed liner notes and some bust a gut laughing photos.
Dokken - Erase the Slate (CMC International) 1999
1. "Erase the Slate"
"Erase the Slate" marks the departure of original guitarist George Lynch. . . again. However the ex-Winger guitarist Reb Beach comes in and takes over with authority helping to release one of the best discs since the band's 80s outputs. The disc starts of heavy and with only a few expections, stays that way. The title track, "Change the World" and "Voice of the Soul" are each as good as anything on "Tooth & Nail." I could have lived without the silly cover of "One" and "Crazy Mary" is a tad more in the modern rock meets the Beatles direction than I would like, but otherwise, I was quite surprised with this disc. I would imagine that Dokken die-hards were in heaven when this disc was released.
Dokken - Long Way Home (Sanctuary) 2002
1. "Sunless Days"
Exit guitarist Reb Beach, enter guitar shredder John Norum, who formerly recorded with Don Dokken on his 1990 solo album."Long Way Home" starts off with a heavy track that sounds as good as anything from the George Lynch era. After that, however, the rest of the album is nothing like the Dokken of old, save for some of Don's vocal harmonies. Several of the tracks have a heavy Beatles sound ("Little Girl" & "Everybody Needs". "Goodbye My Friend"). To tell the truth, on the first listen I didn't care much for the album, but after a few more listens I really began to enjoy it. The songs are catchy and the overall production is quite good. It may not sound like the Dokken of old, but "Long Way Home" is a good melodic rock album. "Heart Full of Soul" was also covered by Don's friend Joshua, and was made popular by the Yardbirds.
Dokken – Lightning Strikes Again (Rhino) 2008
1. Empire (3:33)
2. Broken Bones (4:54)
3. Best of Me (4:19)
4. Blind (3:23)
5. Waterfall (2:49)
6. Victim of Crime (4:31)
7. Burning Tears (4:41)
8. Today (4:21)
9. For the Last Time (3:58)
10. Fade Away (3:46)
11. Tonight (4:58)
With "Broken Bones" Dokken continues to explore the sound from "Lightning Strikes Again", which was mostly a throwback to the classic Dokken sound with more modern production qualities. The songs are a mixture of heavy rockers, melodic mid-paced rock and roll numbers, a few bluesy influences and some mellow moments. The album is chock full of hot licks and those vocal harmonies that Dokken are known for. The opening number "Empire" is a heavy rocker with an immediate and deadly hook. Follow-up track "Broken Bones" is more melodic and brings down the intensity, but is also immediately catchy. This trend runs through the album. Song after song of catchy, well-written choruses and memorable riffs. Whereas "Lightning Strikes Again" was an enjoyable album, "Broken Bones" exceeds it by adding in more hooks, memorable songwriting and even a warmer, earthier production. Frankly I think some of these songs could have been hits for the band back in their glory days, but it's not 1987 any more and most people won't even give this album a listen.
Don's vocals are even improved over the last album. In 2010 Don went through throat surgery that helped repair some of the damage he had done to his vocal chords. However, it's also evident that Don now knows his limitations and he never really stretches himself on "Broken Bones". There were a couple songs I almost expected to hear an ear-splitting scream, or at least a high note held out for emphasis, but this never happens. Frankly, this was the only disappointment I found with "Broken Bones", though it's only a minor point. Don's voice sounds great, even if he isn't breaking glass.
"Broken Bones" is an album that will please long-time fans and is definitely worthy inclusion in the Dokken catalog. Of course nostalgia is infinitely important, so I doubt that "Broken Bones" could possibly surpass the band's classic catalog in most fans minds. However, it is my opinion that "Broken Bones" holds up well against anything in their catalog.
The band consists of Don Dokken (vocals), Mick Brown (drums), Jon Levin (guitar) and Sean McNabb (bass). The album was mixed by Bob St. John (Extreme, Zappa).