Breaking the Chains
After years of toiling on the touring circuit, Don Dokken and company released their debut album. Breaking the Chains was originally released in Germany in 1982, but was remixed and reconfigured to its present form when Elektra signed the band in 1983. The title track sets the tone for the album, and shows the influence of the Scorpions, for whom Don Dokken had previously provided backing vocals. The band is still honing its personality here — the effect of Breaking the Chains is more club rock than stadium ready — but still they prove their chops amidst a sea of hair metal hopefuls. They could provide chugging headbangers (“Stick to Your Guns”), the blitzkrieg energy of Van Halen (“Live to Rock (Rock to Live)”), and the candied power pop of Cheap Trick (“I Can’t See You”). “Nightrider” even shows that Dokken could muster a moody brand of adult-oriented rock. But the most crucial track of all is a live bonus cut that Elektra added when they repressed the record. Taped at a 1982 tour stop in Berlin, “Paris Is Burning” is a tremendous performance that confirms George Lynch’s reputation as an axe slinger on par with Eddie Van Halen.