|T&N - 'Slave To The Empire' (Rat Pack Records)|
|Written by Matthew Blakout|
|Thursday, 24 January 2013 03:00|
It's Dokken...but not as we know it. On paper any outfit that features George Lynch, never mind the other huge talents involved in the T&N project (originally titled Tooth & Nail after the classic Dokken opus), would seem as welcome as a cold Magners on a hot summer's day. Certainly, with seven original songs and five reworked Dokken classics, it's starting to feel this just can't fail. Comparisons with Dokken's recent release is inevitable and for me the original songs here demonstrate how much Don Dokken suffers without the input of George Lynch. Certainly Don's approach is softer and lacks the 'bite' of Lynch's fingers.
Jeff Pilson takes lead vocals on the original tracks, kicking off with 'Slave To The Empire', and really does an admirable job. The track is strong enough to allow you to forget Don is absent. 'Sweet Union' sounds more familiar with Dokken's back catalogue and the vocal could well be Don Dokken himself it really is that close, Jeff really nails the Don sound on this one. The Lynch solo is pure Lynch Mob, a band I really loved so it's chicken dinner all the way.
The first of the guest vocal slots is taken up by Doug Pinnick of King's X on a track every Dokken fan will be very familiar with. 'Tooth and Nail'. The first thing that strikes me as this track comes to life is the drop out in recording quality. Now I can only imagine the amount of times these tracks were emailed around the world for the numerous musicians to add their part. That aside, I really enjoyed this reworking. Doug really has changed the sound of this track and his vocals, as always, are incredible, I even loved the 'Tush' breakdown in the middle of the track. 'It's Not Love' is up next featuring Robert Mason of Warrant. Having been a big track for Dokken back in the day, who can remember the video of the band on the back of a truck? Not much of a departure from the original and with Robert's vocals this track sounds more now like Lynch Mob than Dokken which a great thing in my book! The next reworking, 'Into The Fire', is the only original Dokken song that is without a guest singer, Pilson doing a superb impersonation of Don and as such the track sticks pretty much to the format of the original. Now this is the track that many people may stick on first as we have 'Mr Screamo' Seb Bach taking over the vocal duties on 'Alone Again'. The end result is a great track which is refreshed by one of the best vocalists in classic rock. Tim 'Ripper' Owens may seem an unlikely contender as someone who would sing a Dokken song and for me this was the track that didn't sit too comfortably. The vocal effect detracts from the song as you focus on the vocal as the guest singers are a major selling point of the whole project.
Unfortunately too busy to tour, Jeff is busy enough with Foreigner and George is busy with his film project 'Shadowtrain', we shall need to make do with this album for the time being, which is no bad thing. Lightning strikes again! Well nearly.