With their eleventh album, Broken Bones it appears band namesake and vocalist Don Dokken has accepted that he's getting older, but also wiser (hopefully) and milder. Broken Bones is a hard rock album wrapped up in some melancholy and seasoned maturity. Dokken sings on Burning Tears, "leave the past behind, and all those wasted years.' Is he trying to tell us something?
If anything Don Dokken has recognized he's not the same singer he was in the Eighties. His vocals and his arrangements strong, but his range has become more narrow and focused, and that's a good thing. Listen to Waterfall or Today, and you'll get this. He's nearly mellow, and this carries throughout the songs. Sure Empire, Blind, and Broken Bones sound like Dokken of yesteryear, and the aforementioned Burning Tears or Waterfall, while having those smoother vocals, erupts with some great hard rock guitar from Jon Levin.
However, from Waterfall through Fade Away, this is rather mild-mannered Dokken. The smooth melodic vocal arrangements remind more of AOR melodic rock and less kick ass hard charging Eighties Dokken. It's a kinder, gentler, Dokken. But then there's those frisky Levin guitar solos to challenge the mellowness. Conversely, this could all be in the ears of the listener; you may hear things differently. Nevertheless, there's a lot to like about Broken Bones, and if fans can accept the fact that the 21st century Don Dokken is not the Eighties version, they'll like this album. Recommended.