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The story behind this record is quite strange. In 1982, Don Dokken traveled to Germany to record some backing vocals on The Scorpions' "Blackout". While there, he made some contact with the people from Accept, a relation which lasted until the recording of Don Dokken's solo album reviewed below. This helped him to secure a deal with Carrere Records, the label that released "Breaking the Chains" in Europe, but it's not until Cliff Burnstein and Q Prime Inc. (also Metallica's management company) start managing the band when Dokken releases his debut album in the States. More or less that's the reason why "Breaking the Chains" was recorded at Dierks Studios in Germany with their long time partner (as producer, mixer, or whatever) and sound wizard, Michael Wagener.
We all know that Dokken was one of the best and most successful "hair metal" bands of all the '80s (although this term does not do justice to them, so I would leave it in hard/heavy metal) and this album shows all the potential that they had in a maybe more innocent, but also very charming way. In fact, that places them much closer to most of the emerging heavy metal bands of the early '80s as the powerful and fast side that, however, they never totally lost in their career (maybe only in "Under Lock and Key"), and is more present than ever in songs such as "Nightrider" "Paris is Burning", and "Live to Rock (Rock to Live)". On the other side, songs such as "Breaking the Chains" or "I Can't See You" also show the immense potential of the band to create chart-breaking singles.
All these elements are evidence of Dokken's special ability to create a perfect blend of melodic hard rock without losing their heavy metal edge, something that always earned them the respect of many metal fans instead of being despised like many others from the "hair metal" scene. If you add to this formula George Lynch's fantastic and flashy guitar work, you get one of the best expressions of pure '80s hard/metal to be found out there. A great album to start a great career, so check it out!
Originally written for Ample Destruction 'zine.