Some Broken Bones never heal quite right, no matter how long they’re immobilized and allowed to set. Don Dokken is not a doctor, but perhaps he has finally concluded – after fairly recent attempts at reconciliation failed miserably – that he and guitarist George Lynch simply can never coexist together in Dokken, that their creative relationship is fractured beyond repair and that the book on the quarrelsome classic lineup that fought like hell and forged such ‘80s melodic hard-rock touchstones as the LPs Tooth and Nail and Under Lock and Key is permanently and forever closed.

As for the band that bears his name, the last chapter in the life of Dokken has yet to be written. In fact, if Broken Bones is any indication, Dokken, the sequel, could at least rival the original. With drummer Mick Brown the lone holdover from the glory days, and guitarist Jon Levin and bassist Sean McNabb filling the large shoes of Lynch and Jeff Pilson, respectively, Dokken hasn’t completely reinvented itself on Broken Bones, and yet, there’s something different about it that speaks to a subtle, yet perceptible, shift in philosophy.

Smoky and exotic, though fully engorged with the kind of hard-charging, testosterone-fueled guitar riffage and hot leads on “Best of Me” and the blazing lead single “Empire” that have always carried Dokken into battle, Broken Bones has more of a heavy blues feel than past efforts, with the weighty “Blind” and “Waterfall” owing a debt to late-‘60s/early-‘70s British rock royalty it cannot possibly repay. On the Middle Eastern-flavored snake charmer “Victim of the Crime,” Dokken manages to channel the spirits of both Led Zeppelin and The Beatles in a seductive, almost psychedelic attempt at reimagining “Kashmir” with kaleidoscopic vocal harmonies and slinky guitar. And they succeed.

“Today” is even more of a departure, an enchanted, mysterious piece of boggy, candle-lit acoustic folk that could be a distant descendant of “Stairway to Heaven,” were it not for the gentle tape manipulation coloring the meditative mood in mind-altering, Hooka-sucking fashion. And just when it appears that Dokken is ready to slump down in its Lazy Boy and drift off in a haze of golden guitar tendrils that curl around the intro to “For the Last Time,” Levin mounts a steed of stampeding power chords and spurs Dokken to ride deep into the night, where the decaying metallic beauty – interrupted by a searing Levin solo – of “Fade Away” awaits.

There’s a kind of heavy-metal yoga at work on Broken Bones, where limber melodies conform to pleasing, but unusual shapes – at least for Dokken they are. No longer able to soar to those high notes, after serious vocal surgery, Don Dokken drops to a lower register to add richness and body to these songs, soulfully delivering surprisingly insightful lyrics that express outrage over the stupidity of war and violence and heartfelt regret over lost love and bad choices. Too subdued in tone overall, Broken Bones would benefit from more attacking, vigorous rock workouts like “Empire.” But there’s more than enough of that on Broken Bones to please the old guard and new converts. No longer beholden to a commercially viable hit-making formula that major record labels would require, Dokken is branching out into new territory, while not entirely abandoning what made them famous in the first place. That’s a balance not everybody can maintain.

Frontiers Records (the audio CD can be purchased here).