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Dokken - 1981 Breakin' The Chains

ARTIST: Dokken
ALBUM: Breakin' The Chains
LABEL: Carerre (UK)
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1983, Elektra (UAS), 60290-1 * 1990, Elektra, 9 60290-2


LINEUP: Don Dokken - vocals * George Lynch - guitars * Juan Croucier - bass * Mick Brown - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Breakin' The Chains * 02 Seven Thunders * 03 I Can See You * 04 In The Middle * 05 We're Illegal * 06 Paris * 07 Stick To Your Guns * 08 Young Girl * 09 Felony * 10 Nightrider


The history of Dokken came together at the outset of the NWLAHM, a.k.a the new wave of Los Angeles Heavy Metal. Taking their lead from their UK counterparts, were bands such as Ratt, Motley Crue, Malice, Snow, Quiet Riot, and a whole host of others. Playing in band called Xciter was fledgling guitarist George Lynch and drummer Mick Brown. They soon hooked up with singer Don Dokken (previously with Airborn), to play in his self named outfit. Don had flown over to Germany to secure a contract, which he did, and then asked Lynch and Brown to come onboard. To get this 'Breakin' The Chains' album released, they utilised the French label Carerre, and initially had the thing released in Europe first, where they became better known than in their hometown of L.A.

The Songs
Recorded and released in 1981, it's hard to ignore such outstanding slices of melodic hard rock such as 'Seven Thunders', the title track 'Breakin The Chains', or the OTT firepower of 'Paris'. They pick up the tempo on racier numbers such as 'Young Girl', 'I Can See You' or the album closer 'Nightrider'. Elsewhere, my pick of the album is 'In The Middle' which just smacks of class, as does the perennial 'We're Illegal', while 'Stick To Your Guns' growls in Ratt approved fashion. Dokken stop and start a bit on 'Felony', but again, the melodies are abundant, and the guitar crunch suitably given the stamp of HM approval.

In Summary
When the band secured a deal with Elektra the following year, the whole album was re-released, with a different cover, and two of the tracks renamed. 'Paris' became 'Paris Is Burning', while 'We're Illegal' became 'Live To Rock - Rock To Live'. Personally, I prefer the original Carerre versions myself. The Dokken catherine wheel gathered momentum over the years, culminating in success, and their reputation as one of the eighties high flying metal acts was secured. And of course there were those ever persistent stories of personality fractures between Messrs Lynch and Dokken. Oh well, that's rock n roll for ya!

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#1 | rkbluez on April 15 2007 21:53:12
Have to side with George on that one the original German Carerre pressing of 'Breaking The Chains' blew the American version out of the had a much rougher metalic sound...not sterilized like the US version...and it also had a great studio...yes studio version of Paris Is Burning...why the hell the stupid people at Elektra put a live version on the US version still blows my mind to this day...they were clueless.
#2 | sabace on April 24 2007 14:58:08
my feelings exactly the European release is still the best thing DOKKEN have released.
#3 | sabace on March 24 2008 19:25:04
i recently saw a video of the original band live in Germany 82 and they play most of the first lp. Don Dokken is actually playing guitar and they sound amazing. ala the recently released live conception lp.
#4 | reyno-roxx on March 25 2008 07:24:07
The Live Conception album wasn't recorded in 1981. It was recorded after they'd long been signed to Elektra with the 'classic' line-up of Dokken, Lynch, Pilson and Brown.
#5 | sabace on April 16 2008 14:38:32
my point was that don dokken is actually playing guitar . which
beefs up the sound!

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