It's been a long road for Dokken. They have had more than their share of turmoil throughout the years. The feud between Don Dokken and George Lynch is one of the most famous feuds in the history of rock music. They've had great albums, and let's be honest, they've had a couple of true duds as well. The band "Dokken" now only contains namesake Don Dokken (and sometimes Wild Mick Brown) from the original band. Don has toured relentlessly for over 30 years now, and that once crystal clear voice has lost it's top end now. So, clearly, the deck is stacked against Dokken now to produce a solid collection of musical hits.
And yet, with all the changes to the band, the turmoil, the changes in Don's voice and anything else you can think of, the ability to write songs that cut to the point of relationships has never, ever left Don Dokken. While BROKEN BONES is not the best Dokken album by any stretch, it does showcase that innate ability Don Dokken has to capture an emotion that all of us have felt at one time or another. To me, the title track is by far the easiest song to relate to. The song deals with a broken relationship and how it's left Dokken a broken man much like a broken skeletal piece.
People continually bitch about Don Dokken's voice, so let's address that for a second. Yes, it's changed. Certainly, it's not the same as it was when songs like "Just Got Lucky", "It's Not Love" or "Alone Again" were recorded. That top end is gone. Somehow Brian Johnson gets a pass but Dokken is continually slapped for trying to give his fans new music. Whatever. He sounds decent throughout most of the album, with the exception of the god awful song "Blind", which someone should have stepped up and suggested leaving on the cutting room floor. My hunch is that Levin wanted this song in, as his guitar solo is blazing on this song. That said though, Dokken's vocal on this song is very choppy and disjointed here.
Without question, the star of BROKEN BONES is guitarist Jon Levin. Levin is such a masterful guitarist, and yet so few people even know of him. He's every bit the player that George Lynch ever was, and yet has diversity in his playing that was never featured on 'heyday' Dokken albums. His riffs and solos on songs like "Waterfall" and the almost Led Zeppelin-esque "Victim Of The Crime" is staggeringly good. He's backed ably by veteran bassist Sean McNabb and the always thunderous Mick Brown on Drums. As a unit, they explore a lot of styles here. There are definitely burners like "Empire" and "Tonight", as well as a lot of cool, mid-tempo stuff to round out the album.
PITRIFF RATING - 72/100 - Not the greatest Dokken album, but a decent album from the band that once again features the blazing guitar skills of Jon Levin. If you are a Dokken fan, you will dig this. If not, then go get UNDER LOCK AND KEY, TOOTH AND NAIL or even LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN and discover the band there instead of here.