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T&N – ‘Slave To The Empire’

T&N_coverThe announcement last year that three quarters of the ‘golden days’ Dokken line up – guitarist George Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer ‘Wild’ Mick Brown – were working together again had fans seeking a long-overdue reunion of the classic original incarnation of the LA rockers positively salivating with expectation – not least with the anticipation that the project may finally mean a long overdue reunion of the trio and Don himself:  especially given the less than enthusiastic reception their former frontman’s last album (‘Broken Bones’) had received (PM awarded it an inglorious 3/10!).

Well, with Mr Dokken immediately taking action to stop his bandmates adopting their originally planned monicker of ‘Tooth And Nail’ – thus the T&N brand under which this project has ventured into the sunlight – such hopes were dashed almost as soon as they were expressed.  Meaning that fans have had to settle for this collection, featuring seven new songs alongside five re-recorded classic Dokken songs, with guest vocal performances from Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Doug Pinnick (Kings X), Sebastian Bach, and Robert Mason (Warrant) – the latter ‘covers’ also being the only tracks to feature Brown, with the drum stool for the original material being filled by former Whitesnake sticksman Brian Tichy.

Let’s start by setting aside the Dokken tracks and looking at the new material:  right from the title track, these are quality classic hard rock songs – dark, bluesy and mature, switching from typical Lynch guitar workouts, such as the title track and ‘Mind Control’, to moments of epic majesty such as ‘When Eagles Die’.  Lynch’s riffs and solos are nigh on perfect throughout, Tichy adds invaluable depth and feeling while Pilson’s vocals are rich and melodious:  he may not possess the range his former frontman did back in DD’s heyday, but overall his performance fits the songs like the proverbial glove and the result is a collection of tune which are appealing and satisfying.

As for the Dokken songs?  Well, they’re not bad renditions:  in fact, they’re pretty damn good.  Doug Pinnick adds a different dynamic to ‘Tooth And Nail’, although the actual rendering itself is workmanlike, and Robert Mason recaptures the passion and drama of ‘It’s Not Love’ with laudable aplomb, adding a bluesy depth to the song.  Pilson retains the mic for the reworking of ‘Into The Fire’, and the result is an admirable re-interpretation, while Sebastian Bach’s take on ‘Alone Again’ is breathlessly eager, with the song lifted by Lynch’s glorious revisiting of his stunning solo, and ‘Ripper’ Owens’ version of ‘Kiss Of Death’ is heavy enough (and slightly more so) but ultimately another average re-recording, again salvaged by Lynch’s fretwork…

All in all, a much better contribution to the overall Dokken canon of work than last year’s abortion by the man himself…

[8/10]

T&NTrack list:

  1. Slave To The Empire
  2. Sweet Unknown
  3. Tooth And Nail (featuring Doug Pinnick)
  4. It’s Not Love (featuring Robert Mason)
  5. Rhythm Of The Soul
  6. When Eagles Die
  7. Into The Fire
  8. Alone Again (featuring Sebastian Bach)
  9. Mind Control
  10. Kiss of Death (featuring Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens)
  11. Jesus Train
  12. Access Denied

http://www.facebook.com/pages/TN/264254906995701

http://www.ratpakrecordsamerica.com/tandn.cfm

About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff
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