Dokken - 1987 Back For The Attack

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ARTIST: Dokken
ALBUM: Back For The Attack
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 9 60735-2
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 2015, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY266

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Don Dokken - lead vocals * George Lynch - guitar * Jeff Pilson - bass * Mick Brown - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Kiss Of Death * 02 Prisoner * 03 Night By Night * 04 Standing In The Shadows * 05 Heaven Sent * 06 Mr Scary * 07 So Many Tears * 08 Burning Like A Flame * 09 Lost Behind A Wall * 10 Stop Fighting Love * 11 Cry Of The Gypsy * 12 Sleepless Nights * 13 Dream Warriors

Background

By 1987, Dokken had ascended to the upper echelon of the hard rock scene. Not quite to the very top, but just a small step below bands like Motley Crue and Ratt.

They were coming off two straight platinum albums, and their videos received lots of play on MTV. They had a winning formula that appealed to a lot of fans like me - hard rock songs with great hooks and huge choruses and flashy yet melodic guitar solos.

They didn't go the glam or sleaze route - Don Dokken's vocals are too smooth to sound anything but classy. They also didn't try to cultivate a bad-boy image. That might have kept them from the mega-success of Motley Crue and Poison.

But it did broaden their overall appeal - they were quite popular with my college buddies (and our girlfriends).

I remember hearing their music coming from car stereos and boom boxes quite frequently. I never considered them to be metal in the same vein as, say, Judas Priest or Iron Maiden

They may have caught some grief from critics for sounding too tame or unimaginative. But you can't really argue with millions of album sales.

The Songs

'Kiss Of Death' doesn't waste a second in getting to the point, with Lynch providing the kind of riff that gave the band credibility with most metalheads. It's harder than anything on 'Under Lock And Key', but it has the same full sound courtesy of Neil Kernon (who also produced that prior album).

'Prisoner' was the fourth single, an excellent choice with the trademark Dokken commercial hard rock sound and a typically excellent solo by Lynch.
'Night By Night' and 'Standing In The Shadows' are two more solid tunes.

'Heaven Sent' is the closest thing to a ballad on here. This was the third single. While not quite at the level of previous hit 'Alone Again', it is still a very nice effort.

'Mr. Scary' is an instrumental that showcases the talents of the band to great effect. This is a favourite of Dokken fans.

Next is the most commercial tune on here - 'So Many Tears'. I'm surprised that this was not a single, as it is the most radio-friendly song on here. It's always been a huge favourite of mine. I've seen some reviews of this album that are not too keen on that song, but I don't know what the hell they're thinking - it's great.

Second single 'Burning Like A Flame' was the most successful tune on the charts, hitting 20 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart.

The quality keep going strong with 'Lost Behind The Wall'. Critics may say that the album is starting to get 'samey' by this point, but not to my ears.

'Stop Fighting Love' is more commercial, similar to 'It's Not Love' from 'Under Lock And Key'.

'Cry Of The Gypsy' and 'Sleepless Night' are two more songs that, while not really bringing anything new to the table, are way too good to be considered filler.

'Dream Warriors' was used for the horror movie 'A Nightmare On Elm Street 3', and the video was quite popular on MTV (with Dokken tormenting villain Freddy Krueger with the power of rock). It was the first single, although technically it was released prior to the album's release.

For those who are counting, that's 13 songs and 63 minutes of rock. We expect that much material per album these days, but that was a lot in 1987. And to their credit, there are no songs I consider to be weak.

In Summary

Like the preceding two albums, this too went platinum. It was considered by many to be harder and heavier overall than their previous material, although I don't necessarily see it that way.

It lacks the extremes of the earlier albums, with no true ballads and no frantic rockers. That, of course, gives the critics ammo to call it boring. But the quality of the material and the full and polished sound made this one that could live in my cassette deck for days at a time.

I'm still not tempted to hit the skip button on any tracks. I'll forever associate this with the 1987 Whitesnake album that I purchased on the same trip to the music store.

Unfortunately, tensions between Don Dokken and Lynch led to the breakup of the band, at least until 1993. They may have had plenty of personal differences, but the musical results were pretty darn good.


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