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4.5 out of 5 stars
Under Lock & Key
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2011
I purchased this album a few months back with the understanding that it was the SHM CD from Japan. This was not the case. It seemed strange that a SHM CD would be listed for such a cheap price. The average SHM CD is around $30.00 or more. I thought that maybe Amazon was just having a sale and getting rid of them, so I bought it.
When i got this album, it was not in the cardboard package and should also have had a Japanese label on it. I would have sent it back , but the TOOLS that work in the warehouse for Amazon would have just sent me the same thing over again. Buy the Album because you like Dokken. Don't buy it if you think you're getting the Japanese version
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2004
From the introdcutory acoustic opening chords of "Unchain the Night", quickly turning into a crunchy, solid hard rocker, this CD is a winner!
"The Hunter" growls and prowls. "In My Dreams", is one of Dokken's more well known songs. It's radio friendly, but melodic and hard enough to still satisfy fans of Dokken's brand of hard rock. (I hate to call them metal...they really are more hard rock).
"Slippin' Away" slows things down a bit. It's one of two ballads of the CD. But it's just another example of how professional and polished these guys were as a band. The harmonies displayed here at one point in the tune are beautifully done.
"Lightin' Strikes Again" quickly brings things back up to speed...nearly a thrasher, but again, tightly played.
I could go on with the rest of the tracks of the album, but it would sound redundant. One thing Dokken had the edge over on any of the "hair bands" "metal bands" (whatever you want to call them) was MELODY.
Everything shines here...Jeff Pilson's bass, Mick Brown's drumming and percussion, George Lynch's blistering solos, and Don Dokken's vocals. Even down to the cover...the tousled hair, the colorful outfits, and the rhyming band name and CD title. This one, and "Tooth and Nail", are probably the two best bets if you're interested in re-discovering 80's hard rock.
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Released in 1985, Under Lock and Key is Dokken's third album and marked a bit of a change of sound as it's not as heavy and raw as the band's previous album, Tooth and Nail (1984), or even its follow up Back For The Attack (1987). This one goes for a more polished and melodic approach that was popular during that decade but is overall just as good of an album, if not better than its predecessor. The band was obviously aiming at the charts with this release as they went towards a more commercial way. Under lock and Key features Dokken at it's as its best with some highly melodic and fun rocking songs that proves why Dokken is one of the better Hair/Glam-Metal bands. Dokken released some excellent albums in the 1980's and to me Under Lock and Key is perhaps their very best, it captures the band at its brightest moment. Don's voice is at its best here and sounds amazing; I really feel that he does some of his best singing on this album. As always we are treated to some very skillful guitar work by George Lynch who proves himself once more. Not to be forgotten, bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer Mick Brown also provide a strong and tight rhythm section.

Unchain The Night opens the album very well, it's a good rocker with a memorable chorus. I just love Don Dokken's screams towards the end, Don sounds excellent here and his voice is terrific. The Hunter is one of my favorite Dokken songs, it has a good feel, solid melody and the chorus is undeniably catchy and is simply the band at its best. In My Dreams is a softer song that's very much on the pop side but there's nothing wrong with that as it's a great Dokken song. Its Not Love features an excellent riff courtesy of George Lynch, got to love the tongue-in-cheek breakdown towards the end! Jaded Heart is a very nice ballad with a powerful feel to it. Don't Lie To Me and Will The Sun Rise (It could be said so of many songs but this one has an incredible solo, Lynch makes the simplest things sound great) are both undeniably catchy songs that have some qualities of a ballad but are also rock 'n' roll. The only song that I am not a huge fan of is closer Till the Living End, it's a heavier song and certainly not a bad one but it's not a great track either. It has great playing on it don't get me wrong, it's heavier in the same way that Tooth and Nail was but something is missing.

Here's the thing about Dokken: they know just how to craft a catchy song full or arrangements and hooks while still making it rock. I think Under Lock and Key captures Dokken at its shiniest moment, it's safe to say that if you don't like this album then chances are you won't like the band very much. It's easy to classify Dokken as just another band that was around during the Glam movement or that decade they call the 1980's but I think they were actually one of the better bands of that genre. The band also had a hard-rock sound to them mixed with the 80's sound. Add to this lyrics that were more clever and intelligent than that of many bands of the era had mixed with some fantastic guitar work, and what you get is this band who is in my opinion often overlooked and underrated. I don't think Under Lock and Key is a five stars album but it may very well be Dokken's best and comes somewhat close. I think 4.5 stars is fitting to this excellent album, I love Under Lock and Key and it's an album I would recommend to fans of melodic/Glam metal.
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I doubt that a two word sentence was ever uttered with the words 'Dokken' and 'Rules' in alphabetical order. Of all the hard rocking L.A. hair metal bands, Dokken was a unique mystery. They were not really power pop because of George Lynch's amazing guitar skills, and they weren't Bon Jovi either, even though Don Dokken wanted everyone to think he was just as sexy and talanted (I for one think that Bon Jovi sucks, but that style was where the money was in the decadant 80's).
Dokken was a meat and potato rock n roll band, period. They hit it big for a short time on MTV with the video 'In my Dreams', followed by 'It's not Love'. Belive it or not a cheap and worthless black and white fuzzy video was shot for 'The Hunter' that played on Headbanger's Ball maybe two times.
Under Lock and Key is a good definition of what Dokken is and what they could have been. When you hear a song like 'Lightning Strikes' you say these guys can really rock, but when you hear stuff like Slippin' Away, you laugh at them for being a cheezy hair band. I don't know of anyone who detests Dokken, but I don't think they were anyone's favorite band. Here's the best way to send them up.
When a Poison or Warrant fan put them on, they were into 'the hard stuff', however a Slayer or Anthrax fan could play them without being embarrassed.
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on May 19, 2004
Under Lock And Key (1985.) Dokken's third album.
By 1985 Dokken had managed to become one of America's most popular heavy metal bands. The band's first two albums found them trying to find their sound, and around this era, the band had finally managed to find the sound that would bring them success in the latter half of the eighties. It was obvious that Don Dokken, George Lynch, Mick Brown, and Jeff Pilson were heavy metal masterminds by now, and in 1985 the band released its third studio album, Under Lock And Key. This is Dokken's most popular album and the one most fans call their best. Are they right? Read on for my review.
To put it simply, this is a damn fine Dokken album. It's not my favorite, but many fans of the band would beg to differ there. One thing you'll notice about this album as opposed to the previous two is that the production has been improved. Also, once you listen to the album, you'll agree - there isn't a single filler track. In fact, several of the band's biggest hits came from this album. Among them are In My Dreams, which is probably the most popular song that the band has ever recorded. Eighties hard rock never sounded much better. Another fairly large hit from this era was It's Not Love. This track is my personal favorite of all of the band's big hits, and why not? If you need a song that shows you why these guys were one of the best heavy metal bands of their era, this one will demonstrate that point beautifully. I could care less about the dialogue session about two thirds of the way through the song, but it doesn't change my feelings about the track as a whole. And then, of course, there are several lesser-known tracks that are equally good. The opening track, Unchain The Night, was a minor hit for the band (it never compared to the success of other popular tracks, though.) It's a real shame this one didn't gain more popularity than it did. And then of course, we have Hunter. It's a slower track, but not quite a ballad. It's the happy medium between a ballad and a rocker, and this works well. The other ballad featured here is Jaded Heart, and it's quite similar to the band's big hit from their previous album, Alone Again. Sadly though, it was never as popular. But, of course, the band saved the best song of all for last. Till The Living End is straight up, fast and furious rock. The track has somewhat of a resemblance to Live To Rock (Rock To Live) from the band's debut album, Breaking The Chains (maybe that's why I like this track so well.) If you need solid proof that George Lynch is a guitar genius, this closer track will put your doubts to shame. In the end, this is one of Dokken's finest efforts. Not my personal favorite (in my book that honor goes to the band's debut), but solid nonetheless.
If you're a fan of Dokken, or just eighties hard rock/heavy metal in general, Under Lock And Key is essential listening. This, my friends, is the way heavy metal should sound. Dokken were the kings of the genre, and this album proves it like no other of their releases can.
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on November 9, 2003
Under Lock and Key(1985). Dokken's third studio album.
Dokken started out in 1983 with their first album, Breaking The Chains, which although raw, it showed a stunning display of musicianship between Don Dokken's vocal delivery and legendary guitarist George Lynch's killer riffing. It continued on with the harder edged sophomore effort, Tooth And Nail(1984). This album delved into the more metallic side of Dokken's abilities due to their blazing title track which can be comparable to the faster songs of Judas Priest. It also housed their first major hit, 'Alone Again' which was unintentionably responsible for coining the decade's popular phrase "monster ballad".
By 1985, Dokken had reached popular status and was labeled as one of the forerunners of glam metal. They shed some of the hard metallic qualities that dominated TaN, and even though they softened their sound a bit for ULaK, the songwriting remained a strong point for them, and hasn't been this great since this album. It takes on a dark melodic overtone throughout the whole disc. The production is actually nice and polished here and every instrument from the wailing guitars to the echoing hammer-pound drums can be heard clearly. While there are certainly more ballads here, there are no "filler" songs to be found. This album succeeds on all levels due to the fact that when the songs intend to be soft and melodic, they do exactly that, and same thing with the faster and heavier tracks. ULaK is accessible enough that anybody who is new to the band should start here before checking out the other albums. Here's the lowdown:
1) Unchain The Night- Great start to the album with its keyboard backed intro and transition into a melodic rocker. I'm quite surprised that this song didn't end up on Dokken's Greatest Hits disc, considering it was actually quite a hit for them. Excellent. Sounds somewhat like Bon Jovi's song 'Secret Dreams'. *****
2) Hunter- This song slows the pace down, but it's not quite a ballad. Another winner here. Don's vocals shine on this one. *****
3) In My Dreams- Wow. Probably one of the catchiest songs Dokken has ever written. Similar in style to 'Unchain The Night'. It'll be sure to stick in your head long after it's over. *****
4) Slippin' Away- ULaK's first ballad. This one never became a hit, but it's a good ballad nonetheless. ****
5) Lightning Strikes Again- SIMPLY AWESOME! The band breaks from the mid-paced anthems and ballads to deliver a fast balls-to-the-wall rocker. Great guitarwork and drumming. I wish this track could've become a hit. *****
6) It's Not Love- This anthem is actually ULaK's biggest hit to emerge, and yet I find it to actually be the weakest song on here. Still, it's not bad at all and it contains a small interesting dialogue section after the solo with Don and some girl. ****
7) Jaded Heart- The second ballad to be found here. It's very lightweight and melodic, but if you hear the song, it's actually a good thing. In the same vein as 'Alone Again' although it never became big like the aformentioned song. *****
8) Don't Lie To Me- A straight-ahead rocking anthem similar to tracks 1 and 3. What makes this one stand out to me is George Lynch's rhythm guitaring sounds its best here of the three mentioned tracks. Don't skip this song or you'll be missing out. *****
9) Will The Sun Rise?- Again, this track is another straight-ahead rocker, though this one combines accoustic and electric guitar stylings. It doesn't really stand out from the other songs here, but it does bear a resemblance to the Def Leppard song 'Foolin'. ****
10) Till The Living End- Perfect title for the final track, and what a way to end an incredible album. Another fast rocker in which George Lynch's guitar shredding ability is at its best. Sounds like a cross between an earlier Dokken song, 'Live To Rock, Rock To Live' and the Judas Priest song 'Freewheel Burning'. Thus ending an awesome album with a BANG! *****
Overall, I find ULaK to be Dokken's best album, although Breaking The Chains and Tooth And Nail come awfully close. 5 stars for excellent songwriting, production, and musicianship. It represents not only a high water mark for Dokken, but for any glam metal album as well. They may have lead the scene, but Dokken showed great talent when it came to their music. ANYONE WHO IS NEW TO THE BAND SHOULD START HERE, THOUGH YOU CAN'T GO WRONG WITH ANY OF THE FIRST FOUR ALBUMS. Unfortunately, after Back For The Attack(1987), George Lynch left the band because he opted for more of a heavier sound, while Don Dokken was more into appealing to the girls. From then on, Dokken was done for in terms of creating solid music, but like Def Leppard, it's best to just remember them by their 80s material. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Other similar dark, melodic, & heavy albums that sound like ULaK include:
-'Pyromania' by Def Leppard
-'7800 Degrees Fahrenheit' by Bon Jovi
-'Defenders Of The Faith' by Judas Priest
-'Pride' by White Lion
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on October 23, 2002
As far as image goes, this was about as hair metal as Dokken ever got. The music is great on this disc, particularly "It's Not Love," which is one of the more perfect songs Dokken ever did. It all comes together on that tune. The riffs are typical George Lynch, with his characteristic alteration between clean and heavy riffing, Don Dokken's excellent lead vox, a pounding '80's rhythm section and pretty cool lyrics to boot!
The rest of the album is fairly strong, but a bit uneven. "In My Dreams" has the stereotypical over-produced background vocal style of the '80's and a couple of songs like "Slippin' Away" pass through me like filler. But it's still a good listen. Like most Dokken, it's fun to hear how this four piece can sound so full and interesting with the very unorthodox playing of Lynch. Lynch gives each song a lot of breathing room and always seems to know how to riff just enough but not too much. And his solos always give you a few surprises as well.
Bottom line: Their image was cliched, but their songs rise above the cliches.
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on August 16, 2002
Though they had some very good hits the albums weren't so good. They found the perfect Pop/Metal formula with a little classic Rock and Scorpions feel to it.
"Unchain the Night" is a longer hard song and typical of the whole album. Somehow it avoids being cheesy, unlike many of their peers. "In My Dreams" was the biggest hit and is a perfect mid-tempo song about love. "It's Not Love", with the chants of the title is good, but not a classic.
The other songs are just as good if not better. The 2 ballads are "Slippin Away" which is relaxed and better than "Alone Again" off their last album. "Jaded Heart" has more of a laid back feel that turns into a Power Ballad. The upbeat Metal of "Don't Lie to Me" and the slightly mournful "Will the Sun Rise" are lyrically deeper than you might think, and are overlooked. The heaviest songs are "Lightning Strikes Again" and the brutal "Till the Living End" are put at the end of each side. Although not my favorites, they're nice since they break up the feel of the album. The guitar playing combined with the high-pitched but not girlie singing seems like good video game music for some reason.
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on August 16, 2002
Though they had some very good hits the albums weren't so good. They found the perfect Pop/Metal formula with a little classic Rock and Scorpions feel to it.
"Unchain the Night" is a longer hard song and typical of the whole album. Somehow it avoids being cheesy, unlike many of their peers. "In My Dreams" was the biggest hit and is a perfect mid-tempo song about love. "It's Not Love", with the chants of the title is good, but not a classic.
The other songs are just as good if not better. The 2 ballads are "Slippin Away" which is relaxed and better than "Alone Again" off their last album. "Jaded Heart" has more of a laid back feel that turns into a Power Ballad. The upbeat Metal of "Don't Lie to Me" and the slightly mournful "Will the Sun Rise" are lyrically deeper than you might think, and are overlooked. The heaviest songs are "Lightning Strikes Again" and the brutal "Till the Living End" are put at the end of each side. Although not my favorites, they're nice since they break up the feel of the album. The guitar playing combined with the high-pitched but not girlie singing seems like good video game music for some reason.
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on August 10, 2002
If it's possible to say there is a "better" Dokken album of their four 80's studio LPs ("Breaking the Chains," "Tooth and Nail," "Under Lock and Key," "Back for the Attack"), an avid, objective 80's metal fan would probably tell you that this album is their best overall. Their heaviest? No. That honor goes to their '87 release "Back for the Attack." Their rawest? No, not that either. That would be "Tooth and Nail." But their biggest commercial and metal success simultaneously? Yup. Their biggest? Probably-- this album awakened a legion of female fans to Dokken's inimitable style. And their finest? By far; there isn't a single filler track, not a single poorly produced track on this album.
Dokken's vocals on this album are, in my opinion, at their pinnacle in this album. Just listen to him hit the soaring notes in "Slippin' Away," an awesome ballad, or sample his vocal power in "Lightning Strikes Again." "Unchain the Night" is another example of how Dokken outshines most other 80's metal wailers [vocally]. This album is proof positive that Don Dokken is one of the 80's best vocalists. He injects passion and vitality into Dokken's songs.
...but Don would be "just another band" without their signature sound-- that of axeman George Lynch. His guitar talent and skill rivals that of other of the 80's best axemen-- no joke. Any of his solos on this album will prove that. Check out the solo in "Unchain the Night" to be persuaded. The crisp, clean distortion sound that jumps off of his guitar in this album was/is one of the definitive sounds in 80's metal. Lynch seems to be able to make the standard pings, squeals, crunches, riffs, and chugs seem extraordinary. For some of his best solos on this album also check out "The Hunter," "In My Dreams," and "Till the Livin' End". But let us not overlook the passion of his guitar in "Slippin' Away" and "Jaded Heart." Nor the sheer power in "It's Not Love" (one of the three BIG hits from this album), "Lightning Strikes Again," "Don't Lie To Me," and "Till the Livin' End."
Pure and simple: Lynch is beyond awesome! (For what I think is his best solo ever, see Dokken's '87 "Back For the Attack" release for the instrumental "Mr. Scary" showcasing Lynch at his finest.)
There are three major singles from this album (tracks 1, 3, and 6), but there isn't one song on here that could be considered filler. This album is solid throughout.
"Under Lock and Key," with a mix of fast songs, blistering guitar riffs and solos, soaring vocals, and tight songwriting, is one of the 80's best metal albums-- despite the fact that it is clumped under the "glam metal" genre.
This albums is a MUST HAVE for any 80's metal fan, or for any fan of top-notch guitar work. BUY IT NOW!
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