The album is a combination of original songs and Dokken covers. Pilson handles the vocals on the T&N songs, while most of the Dokken tracks have guest vocalists. The two are interspersed throughout the album, with seven of the 12 songs being T&N originals.
The original tracks have a Dokken vibe to them, thanks mostly to Lynch’s trademark guitar sound. However, they have a more modern feel without the glossy ‘80s production.
Pilson does an excellent job on the vocals, and the lyrics focus mainly on the concept of the title track, which is that wealth is becoming concentrated into fewer hands, and that people must demand change.
The re-recorded Dokken songs also have a looser, rawer feel than the originals. They brought in some quality singers to do the vocals. Dug Pinnick (King’s X) sings on “Tooth and Nail," Robert Mason (Warrant) on “It’s Not Love,” Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) on “Alone Again” and Tim “Ripper” Owens on “Kiss Of Death.” Ironically, Pilson does the best job on a Dokken song, “Into The Fire.”
I understand that bringing in the guest vocalists to do Dokken songs draws more attention to the band and the album. However, I think T&N would have been better served to do only their own material, perhaps adding “Into The Fire” as the last track.
The band proves to be more than capable of writing and singing their own excellent material on Slave To The Empire, and in a perfect world, the Dokken songs wouldn’t be needed. However, having those well-known songs does make it more desirable, and hopefully will raise T&N’s profile enough where they won’t need them on their next album.
(released October 31, 2012 on Rat Pak Records)