dokkenOne of the most underrated bands to ever come out of the sunset strip metal scene will always be Dokken. They were musically different despite the overall look of the band that was made up of Don Dokken (Lead Vocals), George Lynch (Guitars), Jeff Pilson (Bass), and Wild Mick Brown (Drums). They may have shared the same area code as bands like Motley Crue, Ratt, etc., but they were definitely more melodic and more in the metal sphere then their peers. On November 22, 1985, the band would release their third studio album in Under Lock and Key via Elektra Records and was produced by Neil Kernon (Autograph/Queensrÿche) and Michael Wagener (Accept/Skid Row). The album was pretty successful for the band as it peaked at number 32 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts (higher than Tooth & Nail which was 49) and it included two singles that would hit the charts as well. The album was certified Gold by 1986 and it was certified platinum by 1987 and it was well received by most critics who thought it was a more complete album from the bunch while also realizing that heavy metal purists would likely choose Tooth & Nail as a good introductory album.

13885296_f4961. Unchain The Night– The opening track on the album and I love the intro which is brooding and eerie with the bell ringing along with George’s clean channel playing before they turn it up to 11. I think the track is about a couple that is on the brink of breaking up and Don is optimistic that it isn’t done yet. 5/5

2. The Hunter-Another mid paced rock from the band that just absolutely rips as Lynch’s guitar roars in this track. I think the track is about how even though he has someone at home, the life of a rockstar just takes over and it’s excess on the road. The guitar solo on here is absolutely amazing. 5/5

3. In My Dreams– This is one of my favorite Dokken songs with the great harmonizing in the beginning to the roar of Lynch’s guitar to Don’s amazing vocals in this song about a lost love that still runs through his dreams. 5/5

4. Slippin’ Away– as one critic called this, a “saccharine ballad” and that is what it is and not exactly my favorite either from the band. 4/5

5. Lightnin’ Strikes Again– a return back to form with this track that actually sounds like a left over from Tooth & Nail as far as it’s tone and pacing. I think the song is all about performing on stage and everything that comes with it. 4.5/5

under-lock-and-key-4fc0571ab24c56. It’s Not Love– This may be the coolest Dokken song ever written with it’s cool bluesy guitar riff and harmonized gang vocal chants of It’s Not Love! 5/5

7. Jaded Heart– Another ballad on the album that I definitely like a lot better than the previous one. It’s about someone whose been through so much that they have a hard time seeing love. 4.5/5

8. Don’t Lie to Me– a rocker that is all about being sick and tired of loved ones lying to you constantly. 4.5/5

9. Will the Sun Rise– a deep cut on the record that I don’t think gets enough credit cause it has some great harmonies and a cool guitar riff. 4.5/5

10. Til the Livin’ End– The last track on the album and it’s a barn burner in this track that is all about a guy who is telling his girlfriend that he’s just in it for what he can get and nothing more, but she still keeps coming back. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– This album (which came out 34 years ago today) is definitely not as strong musically as Tooth & Nail, but it was a great follow up that doesn’t get enough credit. I loved Unchain The Night, The Hunter, In My Dreams, and It’s Not Love while Slippin’ Away is my least favorite track. I am going to give the album 4.65 stars out of five for a final grade.

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