Review: Breaking the Chains

Originally released in 1981 as a Don Dokken solo album and again in 1983 as a full fledged Dokken album, Breaking the Chains is an immature but reasonably enjoyable attempt at being a band.

Breaking the Chains is about as typical a heavy metal album as you’re going to get from the early ’80s. Breaking the Chains isn’t the bands finest moment, but for a debut album in the early ’80s, it is not bad. Lynch utilises some tasty guitar riffs and spins out some excellent lead guitar solos. The drums and bass by Croucier and Brown is solid, packs a suitable wallop, yet lacks any kind of originality but does just enough to keep the songs marching on with a solid rhythm. With a steady band behind him, it is a shame that Don himself is the weakest of the bunch in terms of performances. It is clear from the get go that he is no vocal power house. His voice through the record is thin, lacks any kind of consistency and goes all over the place. This is made just that little bit worse from the fact the lyrics are quite laughable.

I think the biggest drawback this record has is the typical ’80s production. There is a lot of reverb on the drums and vocals, the guitar tone is thin and the whole thing sounds very much of its time. Fans of old school heavy metal will be use to this sound with bands like Def Leppard, Diamond Head and Mercyful Fate having a similar production style. It does date the album pretty badly but at the same time, it holds onto some unique raw properties that is completely missing from modern heavy metal music and that makes it something fans can enjoy.

With exception of a handful of songs, Breaking the Chains is an enjoyable but otherwise forgettable debut album. It certainly pales in comparison to the albums that came after it and really doesn’t help the fact that people think Dokken is considered a second tier heavy metal band.

Rating : 6 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. Breaking the Chains
  2. In the Middle
  3. Felony
  4. I Can't See You
  5. Live to Rock (Rock to Live)
  6. Nightrider
  7. Seven Thunders
  8. Young Girls
  9. Stick to Your Guns
  10. Paris is Burning (Live)