Slave To The Empire


Rat Pak, 2012

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


At their peak, Dokken was a quartet. Vocalist Don Dokken, guitarist George Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson, and drummer Mick Brown released three great albums: Tooth And Nail, Under Lock And Key, and Back For The Attack. That trio of releases gave the band their greatest shot at mainstream success. But Don Dokken decided to leave the group and moved on to an acoustic project with Michael Schenker, leaving the three remaining members to bond together on this new release.


This album is more project than band. There are 12 tracks and you really have to pay attention to the liner notes to figure out who’s singing, who’s playing drums, and all that. There are five Dokken tunes alongside seven new contributions. The five Dokken tunes feature guest vocalists, while bassist Jeff Pilson sings the new material. Finally, the Dokken material features Mick Brown on the drums while the new songs have Brian Tichy slaying the skins.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250


With that all out of the way, I’ll address the Dokken tunes first. With slight modifications, including an outstanding acoustic section in “Into The Fire,” they are well done. The song structures have the same basic premise and the embellishments are often subtle. As a longtime fan, I appreciate the changes. I have been a fan of the band since seeing the classic line up in 1986 when they opened for Loverboy.


The new tunes took a bit longer to grow upon me. The title track kicks things off with an impressive drum performance from Brian Tichy. Vocalist/bassist Jeff Pilson does well handling the lyrics and the George Lynch’s riff is interesting. “Sweet Unknown” starts a bit slower with an airy guitar part before settling into the groove. Had I been in the room when they were deciding track order, I would have opened with “Access Denied” over “Slave To The Empire.” Of the new songs, it is the one with the most punch.


The guest vocalists were well-suited for the Dokken tunes they cover. Among the highlights are Sebastian Bach nailing the ballad “Alone Again” with his wide vocal range. Also, King’s X’s Doug Pinnick adds the right color during a new breakdown section on “Tooth And Nail,” making his version my preference over the original. Overall, Slave To The Empire is a solid release. There are no filler tracks, which I like. I am curious to hear how they take this project on the road.

Rating: B+

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© 2012 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Rat Pak, and is used for informational purposes only.