Review DOKKEN ‘The Elektra Albums 1983-1987’

Dokken, this name stands for quality, at least in the 80s. Named after Don Dokken, who started the band in 1978, the band was joined a year later by former Xciter guitarist George Lynch, who became Dokken’s songwriting partner, and it was this combination that brought the band great success.

The debut album ‘Breaking the Chains’ was released in 1981 via Carrere Records in Europe and was the first album to draw attention to the band. Two years later the album was re-released via Elektra Records, partially re-recorded and remixed. The record achieved its first respectable successes and it was the second effort of Dokken to build on what had been achieved.

‘Tooth and Nail’ has considerably more class and contains outstanding metal songs like the stomping ‘When Heaven Comes Down’ and the furious ‘Turn on the Action’. Dokken stands for a mix of catchy melodies and cracking riffs from the forge of Don Dokken and George Lynch. The rhythm section should also be mentioned in this context. Mick Brown’s powerful drumming and the roaring bass of Juan Croucier, who afterwards fully focused on Ratt, provide a very solid groove on which riffs, solos and vocals expand.

In 1985 the time had come. Dokken released their third album ‘Under Lock and Key’, a real blast. The sound of the album showed improvement, which is no surprise when one knows that Neil Kernon and Michael Wagner were involved. Moreover, each of the songs is a hit. ‘Under Lock and Key’ has no dropouts and reflects the symbiosis of heaviness and melody in perfection. It all fits together nicely and one can absolutely state that this longplayer is one of the best in melodic metal. From the powerful opener ‘Unchain the Night’ via the cracking ‘Lightning Strikes Again’ to the closer ‘Til’ the Living End’ the record has everything one could wish for in this genre, including the catchy ‘In My Dreams’.

‘Under Lock and Ke’ has set the bar high and now it’s up to ‘Back For the Attack’ to confirm what has been achieved. The album entered the charts in several countries, also supported by ‘Dream Warriors’, a song the band wrote for the movie ‘ A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’. In addition, ‘Heaven Sent’ and ‘Mr Scary’ are other brilliant songs on the album. The latter, being an instrumental, mainly brings Lynch’s guitar skills to the fore. Also worth mentioning is the well-done ‘Burning Like a Flame’.

Although ‘Back For the Attack’ is a very good album, it doesn’t reach the level of its predecessor. Unfortunately, after an additional live album Dokken was history. Creative and personal differences between the two mainmen were too big. Although there have been several attempts to revive Dokken in different constellations to this day, the highlights of the 80s remain untouched.

On January 27 BMG will release the first four albums under the name ‘The Elektra Albums 1983-1987’ as a box set and those who do not yet have these genre-defining albums in their collection can close the gap in January.

Breaking the Chains

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tooth and Nail

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Under Lock and Key

Rating: 10 out of 10.

Back For the Attack

Rating: 8 out of 10.

    Label: BMG

    Genre: Melodic Metal

    Release Date EU: January 27th, 2023

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