T & N band photo

T & N – Slave To The Empire

T & N - Slave to the EmpireT & N stands for Tooth & Nail. Tooth & Nail is the breakthrough album from Dokken back in 1984. T&N is 3/4 of the original Dokken line up, George Lynch (guitar), Jeff Pilson (bass and lead vocals on this album) and drummer Mick Brown. T&N has also brought in drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Pride & Glory), which means that the band has two drummers. Why that is necessary beats the hell out of me. Also, Mick Brown still plays drums for Dokken where he and Don Dokken are the only original members today. Dokken also has a new album out this year. The first single from that album is called “Empire”… The reason they cut the name short is because of some legal stuff that prohibited the use of the full name.

What George, Jeff and Mick have tried to do with this project is to resurrect the original Dokken line up as well as they could. Don Dokken was apparently asked to join, but declined. What they have tried to do here is to make an album with originals mixed with new recordings of old Dokken songs and make it sound like a band. Which fails completely as four of the re-recordings have guest vocalists and Mick Brown only plays on those songs, leaving Brian Tichy to drum on all the originals here and that makes the end result a somewhat shattered give. I wouldn’t call this a bad album, but it’s very hard to get a grip on what the guys are after. Why not just make an album with originals? And then decide who’s gonna be the drummer, Mick or Brian, both of them in the band feels like overkill and the release photos where all four are showing makes it even more confusing.

Stuff like the very much Dokken soundalike title track, the dark, somewhat grungy “Sweet Unknown” with its fine mix of Dokken and Lynch Mob and the very groovy “Rhythm Of The Soul” clearly shows that the guys still can write some really good material. So far, so good. When we get into the re-recordings, my feelings are a bit mixed. “Tooth And Nail” with guest vocalist Dug Pinnick (King’s X) is a pretty good version, “It’s Not Love” with Robert Mason (Lynch Mob, Cry Of Love, Warrant) is very good, Jeff Pilson sings on an ok version of “Into The Fire” and “Alone Again”, Dokkens first hit, with Sebastian Bach at the mike is great, fits his voice like a glove. The only time it really falters is when Ripper Owens (Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen) completely destroys “Kiss Of Death” with his annoying screams. Still, it’s not the case of how good these versions are, because the fact is, the originals are all so much better and no matter how hard they try, on here those songs only sounds like cover versions, which actually ruins the whole picture a bit.

It’s an ok album, the production works well and the guys are obviously fantastic musicians, all of them, but I’m curious of who really needs this album. Even though the Dokken songs are much better (in their original form, anyway) than the originals here, I think it would have been much cooler and better to just cut an album full of newly written songs and try to make a real band out of this instead. This album is too split up and there is really nothing that connects all the songs and the vocalists here to make this sound like a unit. As I said, I don’t think this is bad by any means, in fact there isn’t any bad songs on here, but on the other hand this album just doesn’t go anywhere and my guess is that it’s an album soon forgotten.

Jon Wilmenius (5/10)

Tracklist

1. Slave To The Empire
2. Sweet Unknown
3. Tooth And Nail (feat. Doug Pinnick of King’s X)
4. It’s Not Love (feat. Robert Mason of Warrant)
5. Rhythm Of The Soul
6. When Eagles Die
7. Into the Fire
8. Alone Again (feat. Sebastian Bach)
9. Mind Control
10. Kiss Of Death (feat. Tim “Ripper” Owens)
11. Jesus Train

2 comments on “T & N – Slave To The Empire

  1. I’d go for any Dokken album over this 24/7. But if you want to hear something really brilliant, check out White Flame from Finland. Album of the year, no doubt. You can read the review in Hard Rock.
    Thanks for visiting my site. 🙂

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