Review Summary: An impressive, kick-ass debutDokken: Their Golden Years
Part I of IV: Breaking the Chains
In the 1980's, one of the dominant currents in popular music was, unquestionably, glam metal. This was a style that was heavily promoted both by radio airplay as well as in music videos (especially the latter). Image had a great importance for these bands: you were either a nice band or a dirty band. The musicianship of these bands was often questionable, as many of their guitarists lacked an original style, the rhythm sections got little attention, and one often got a mean gamble between a talented vocalist or a really bad one. It was, in short, a movement full of inconsistencies. One band, however, that towerec over the heap, was Dokken
The essence of Dokken was, throughout the whole of their golden years, Don Dokken and George Lynch. Quite simply, removing any of these two from the band meant a major downfall. Rhythm sections always got a secondary role, which is why, throughout this review series, we will focus mostly on the execution in regards to the aforementioned primary elements (with only a slight mention of everything else).
Dokken was, at this time:
Don Dokken: Vocals
George Lynch: Guitars
Juan Croucier - Bass
"Wild" Mick Brown - Drums
This first album showcases a band eager to get noticed: you can easily notice Dokken's enthusiasm showing through in his singing. Lynch was equally eager to show off his guitar chops, which he does quite well. Throughout the record, you can also get that this music was intended to be displayed in music videos (again, notice Dokken's voice, and you'll see it's quite fit for the girls). Quite frankly, one could argue that this is both a pop album and a hard rock album.
As mentioned above, the bass and the drums have little to show for themselves: their role is mostly holding up the background for the guitars and the vocals. Indeed, this is a bit reminding of Van Halen, one of the band's influences, but to a more extreme degree. On the subject of said influences, the band pretty much wears them on their sleeves: Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Scorpions, AC/DC, and other such bands obviously had an impact on their music; and Dokken has rather little to show for itself in terms of originality. They do make up for that, however, with sheer creativity: it may be that they are borrowing riffs and solo parts from other bands, but they do know how to do so in style.
Some of the standouts in the album include: Breaking the Chains
, which has a nice riff and an addictive chorus (Breaking the Chains around me, nobody else can bind me); Paris is Burning
, which kicks off with an impressive facemelting solo and ye another fine chorus; Nightrider
, and Seven Thunders
(both of which have more or less the same traits). While this isn't Dokken's best album, it's still a rather impressive debut, and even today, it still kicks a serious amount of ass.
-Breaking the Chains
-Paris is Burning
Part II of IV: Tooth and Nail