Sunday, February 13, 2011

Classic melodic rock CD of the week

By Stephen Kasenda

DOKKEN "Under Lock and Key" (1985)

“Under Lock And Key" finds Dokken at their top of their game. This third release displayed a more mature approach to songwriting, featuring a brilliant bridging between classic heavy metal and 80s hard rock with some commercial feel, and the superior skills of the members. This is clearly the album that made me worship the band – there are many strong tracks spread all over the record and I'm always in awe with Don's mighty voice layered with Lynch's monstrous shredding.

From the opening, "Unchain The Night", this is pure heavy metal – just listen to Don's thunderous pipe crawling from the big verse to the catchy chorus. "Lightnin' Strikes Again" and "Til The Livin' End" also bring out the pounding drums, sky-cracking guitars, and some hellish solos, which are simply stunning. Three radio hits inside are also worth hearing: "The Hunter" is okay, "In My Dreams" has a nice chorus and deadly solos, but "It's Not Love" really caught my attention. The punchy rhythm and tense chorus are magnificent, no wonder Lynch declared that this is one of his most fave track. "Slippin' Away" is a sweet and tender ballad, an underrated piece that's shadowed by their previous hit, "Alone Again", which I think is inferior compared to this one.

If you haven't heard them before and would like to try the band, this album is a perfect pick for a starter. They got everything huge inside and after giving another spin for the hundredth time, this album is as fresh and great as ever and sits nicely in my top 10 albums of all time.

Read more of Stephen’s features at MetalMusicArchives.