Dokken - Under Lock And Key

Dokken – Under Lock And Key

90 / 100

Backed by a big label, name producers, a proven songwriter in Don Dokken, and a guitar virtuoso in George Lynch, the band had reached a pinnacle of sorts with 1985’s ‘Under Lock And Key’.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: Dokken
ALBUM: Under Lock And Key
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: E2 60458
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Don Dokken – vocals * George Lynch – guitars * Jeff Pilson – bass * Mick Brown – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Unchain The Night * 02 The Hunter * 03 In My Dreams * 04 Slippin’ Away * 05 Lightnin’ Strikes Again * 06 It’s Not Love * 07 Jaded Heart * 08 Don’t Lie To Me * 09 Will The Sun Rise * 10 Til’ The Livin’ End



If one was to research the term 1980’s melodic hard rock, and associate the bands from that era, then Dokken would be right at the top of the list. The band, despite all of the alleged in-fighting and egos, still had the goods to deliver to metal fans and hard rock fans – equally.

With a couple of albums behind them, the band, by 1985/1986, found themselves floating up to the top of the pile among their contemporaries. Backed by a big label, name producers, a proven songwriter in Don Dokken, and a guitar virtuoso in George Lynch, the band had reached a pinnacle of sorts with 1985’s ‘Under Lock And Key’.

In my past, I had unfairly dismissed this album when compared to ‘Breakin’ The Chains’ and ‘Tooth And Nail’. Both of those efforts are favourites of mine, despite the low-key production on the former, and the ham-fisted delivery on the latter. Both had tracks which are lifelong friends.

But to give Dokken its due, ‘Under Lock And Key’ is very strong on many counts too. Great production, some killer tracks bordering on ‘near-metal’, with the bulk of the material being spread between rock ballads and smooth melodic rockers – but with a razor sharp edge. It is no wonder then that the album did very well, eventually going platinum, the band going out on the road with Judas Priest and Twisted Sister during the 1986 year.

The Songs

Dokken are definitely walking a well-trodden path down the corridors of rock, but it is laden with confectionery booths along the way. Consider tracks like ‘Unchain The Night’, ‘In My Dreams’ and ‘Don’t Lie To Me’. All hard-edged but laced with lean drippings of candy.

On the ballads, the band can claim a stake in the Lolly Factory with such offerings as ‘Slipping Away’ (sounding uncannily like a Strangeways tune), ‘Jaded Heart’ and to a lesser extent ‘Will The Sun Rise’. Not forgetting efforts such as the mid-tempo and punchy pairing of ‘The Hunter’ and ‘It’s Not Love’.

As stated before, the band fire up with a couple of metal oriented tunes. ‘Lightning Strikes Again’ contains some nice Thin Lizzy vocal moments a la their ‘Thunder And Lightning’ era. However, Don Dokken wailing away toward the end of the song does tend to grate a wee bit.

However, the album closer ‘Til The Living End’ is akin to the fast and furious moments found on ‘Turn On The Action’ from their ‘Tooth And Nail’ platter. Some classic guitar riffing to be found here, and the band certainly go out with a bang on this track.

In Summary

An underrated album, it contains many great moments. Many found it difficult to understand how a band with this much going for them could be stricken with so much inner turmoil. A credit to them that they endured for another two albums before calling it quits at the end of the decade.

Dokken (the band) would resurface in many guises later on in its history, but for many the best moments were to be seen and heard during the mid 80’s – while the band were in their prime. If you see the CD going cheap on Ebay, pick it up. Certainly, the CD is a treasured item in my collection.

Dokken on Video

Click to go to YTM album page.

Contact Us | Edit User Profile | Using a VPN

What is your rating for the album (music)?

Click on a star (click twice) to rate it!

Average rating 4 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this album..

Leave a Reply