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Dokken's debut in 1983 is sounds a bit young and ideas just not fully developed properly. While rough around the edges, some of the songs on here are accessible and very good and provide a short glimpse of what George Lynch can do with a guitar. This debut is far from great, but they would only continue to get better from here.
Most of the tracks on here are short, simple three minute mostly mid to up-tempo rockers. There is not much variety found on here and it can grow quite dull. The sound is pretty raw and definitly sounds like something from the 80's. The only aspect that is off is the vocals sound louder than any of the instruments.
The album opens up with the title track "Breaking the Chains" featuring a snobbish guitar riff from Lynch, but it is a simple song and not really all that good. Unfortunately, a good portion of this album just has too much simplicity. A guitar riff starts, then the vocals pop in, the chorus comes and goes, another verse starts followed by the chorus, a solo comes in, and then the final chorus. Stating the obvious, it grows boring after awhile.
Not everything is bad though. "Nightrider" has a great opening guitar riff and George Lynch shines on this track with quick bursts of notes and is one of the highlights of this record. Another is "Seven Thunders" which sounds like a power metal song with a dramatic chorus and an ominous tone and feel in the song which is surprising considering it is Dokken and all. The final track "Paris is Burning" is awesome with some lighting fast guitar work and instrumentation from Lynch and the pounding drums make this one a classic.
While the musical aspect of this record is varied, the vocals from Don Dokken are just about average. The man just sounds young and his voice is too high in some places. While he does a good job during the verses, the choruses are not very good. Hearing him screech out "Nightrider" and "Young girls" is downright uncomforting to hear and not enjoyable.
Most of this album sounds like something RATT could have written. That's a bit ironic since Juan Croucier, who plays bass on this album, joined RATT after this album came out. I like RATT and all, but Dokken is better with more musicianship and less simplicity in their songs. This isn't a bad debut, as it has its moments, but it could have been much better.