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I’ve been looking forward to this one for quite some time now and it certainly hasn’t let me down. In the past I’ve always been ‘marmite’ with Dokken; I love the music but I’m one of those people who never particularly liked Don Dokken’s voice, especially live. When I initially heard that the ‘classic’ Dokken lineup were going to record new material together again my ears certainly pricked up, but of course the usual personality clashes seemed to get in the way and it never happened. What we have here with T&N and ‘Slave To The Empire’ however, is much better (for me at least). T&N are essentially ‘Dokken without Don’ (even though it says not to think that in the press release). George Lynch, Jeff Pilson & Mick Brown have re-recorded five classic Dokken tracks with the aid of some guest vocalists (more on them later), and then the fabulous Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Foreigner) is added on drums for the seven new compositions, with Jeff taking on vocal duties. Firstly, the new tracks, on the whole, are extremely good. Jeff has a fantastic voice in his own right (I do wonder sometimes why he hasn’t sung more) and they certainly have that Dokken feel to them, but with a slight modern twist as well. ‘Sweet Unknown’, ‘When Eagles Die’, ‘Mind Control’ and the title track will have you doing your best air guitar impressions in the mirror and regretting it later in the day!

However good the new songs are, though, I think many people will be very interested in what the band has done with the re-recorded Dokken songs. First up is ‘Tooth And Nail’ with Doug Pinnick (King’s X) on vocals. To my mind this knocks spots of the original with Lynch improving on the guitar solo, if that’s possible. Warrant’s Robert Mason grabs the ‘mic’ for ‘It’s Not Love’ and again this proves to be a great version. ‘Into The Fire’ is next, with Jeff back on vocals, and this is probably the weakest version of the five. ‘Alone Again’ with Sebastian Bach is the standout for me. Seb’s voice sounds in great form and I actually think if Jeff hadn’t been singing on the new tracks his voice would have suited them perfectly as well. Lastly is a commanding performance (as always) from Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens on ‘Kiss Of Death’. Of course, there are going to be lots of you out there, who prefer Don’s originals.

‘Slave To The Empire’ showcases a fantastic array of talent, especially from Lynch. Some of his guitar work is quite simply staggering. It is also fantastically produced, once again by Jeff Pilson and if they do decide to record again, T&N could very well become a force to be reckoned with. Music aside, I do have to pick up on a comment in the press release, which proves that the Lynch/Dokken niggles are still there. George is quoted as saying “Don is, and will always be, the singer of Dokken and an invaluable part of the Dokken Chemistry.” Fair enough you say, but this is included in a press statement entitled “The brand new album from “The Big 3” from Dokken”. Make of that what you will!
Review by Rick Tilley
12th Nov 2012
1) Slave to the Empire
2) Sweet Unknown
3) Tooth and Nail
4) It's Not Love
5) Rhythm of the Soul
6) When Eagles Die
7) Into the Fire
8) Alone Again
9) Mind Control
10) Kiss of Death; 11) Jesus Train
12) Access Denied
"...the new tracks, on the whole, are extremely good...and they certainly have that Dokken feel to them, but with a slight modern twist as well."