20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
After the Melodic Metal debut album, Breaking The Chains, and the much heavier follow up, Tooth And Nail, Dokken found a middle ground on Under Lock And Key. Under Lock And Key features several of Dokken's best songs, including "In My Dreams," "It's Not Love," "Unchain The Night," and "The Hunter." ULAK also features the rip roaring "Lightning Strikes Again," one of their best "fast and heavy" songs, and "Slippin' Away," the follow up to "Alone Again" from Tooth And Nail. "Slippin' Away" is actually almost as good as "Alone Again." The production on ULAK is excellent, with a GREAT guitar tone and a great mix. For a combination of power and melody with some great hooks you can't find anything better than Under Lock And Key. As good? Maybe. But not better. -(And if you like this one, check out Alice Cooper's Hey Stoopid CD, KISS' Asylum CD, and Ratt's Dancing Undercover CD.)
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2004
This is one of the best hard rock albums of the 1980's...period. Cover to cover this is Dokken's best album. Unchain the Night starts it out and it never lets up. In My Dreams and It's Not Love will always be classics. The Hunter and Jaded Heart are mid tempo gems, the latter of which is a haunting ballad. Even the couple of slow moments on this album come with such a kick!The production on this album is phenominal. No collection is complete without this one. Definitely in my top 10 hard rock albums ever.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I can remember when this first came out and, thinking about the lukewarm reception it got back then, am disappointed that Dokken never got the respect they so deserved (while watching "hair bands" such as Whitesnake and Poison, among many others, headline at stadiums, with their videos in constant rotation on MTV - back when it actually played music videos all day long and not for an hour or two a day).
This is definitely Dokken's best album, a rarity in that one can just push play and enjoy it from beginning to end.
Even as a pre-teen, I had an intense crush on Don Dokken (those eyes!) but I also appreciated his voice (and here's yet another vote for the way he wailed on "Slippin' Away"). It's true that not many male vocalists in the 80's could match him.
This is a great introduction to the music of Dokken - and a good primer for other 80's metal bands.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2006
This isn't as heavy as there album Tooth And Nail but it's almost as good and just as popular. The heavier Lightning Strikes, Til the Livin End, It's Not Love and Unchain the Night are and the more melodic In My Dreans, Will The Sun Rise and The Hunter are excellent too. The 2 ballads Jaded Heart and Slipping Away are excellent power ballads too. The whole band here performs just as well as they did on Tooth And Nail. If you like melodic rock, hair metal, classic rock, metal or good music in general than get this.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2000
Under Lock and Key is my favorite album from Dokken. This album holds personal significance to me. I first got the cassette of Under Lock and Key in 1986 when I was a teenager. Shortly before, I had seen a couple of the album's videos. For a long time, I couldn't get enough of it. I listened to the album incessantly. It's hard to believe that it has been fourteen years since I first listened to this album. This disc opened the doors to a lot of music that I subsequently started to listen to. Even though I don't listen to Under Lock and Key as much as I did when I was younger, I still have and always will have a tremendous amount of respect for it. The album consists of ten tracks and is in a melodic hard rock direction. Under Lock and Key contains a nice variety of songs. There are straight-ahead rockers, ballads, and a couple of heavy, metallic ones. The musicianship, songwriting, and production are all quite impressive. George Lynch does a very good job with the guitar playing; he has his own style of playing. His solos are well constructed, and there are some cool, memorable guitar riffs. Don Dokken does an energetic job with the vocals. The backing vocals from the group are also very nice. My favorite songs are "Unchain the Night," "In My Dreams," "Jaded Heart," and "Will the Sun Rise." "In My Dreams" features catchy backing vocals and a well-crafted guitar solo (one of my favorite guitar solos) from George Lynch. Don Dokken's vocals on the ballad "Jaded Heart" are nice. George Lynch also plays a killer guitar riff on "Unchain the Night." None of the ten tracks are bad. "Lightnin' Strikes Again" and "Til the Livin' End" display the heavy, metallic side of the band. I also like the album cover. The guys really have a cool look. Under Lock and Key is a consistent album that is quite impressive. It's a better-than-good representation of melodic hard rock. It emanates melody, energy, and emotion. I actually give it 3.5 stars. It's well worth a listen.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2000
THE BAND: George Lynch (guitars), Don Dokken (vocals), Jeff Pilson (bass), Mick Brown (drums).
THE DISC: (1985) 10 songs clocking in at 42.5 minutes. Included with the disc is a 6-page booklet with song lyrics, 1 black & white band picture, and thank you's. Recorded at Amigo Studios, North Hollywood, CA. Label - Elektra.
COMMENTS: "Under Lock & Key" is Dokken at their peak. 10 great songs, cool lyrics, trademark Lynch shredding, unsurpassed Don Dokken vocals. Typical album cover from the mid 80's 'Hair' era - leather and spandex pants, colorful blue/purple/red shirts and blazors, big hair and a gallon of make-up. "In My Dreams", "The Hunter", "It's Not Love" are all great songs - and each made it to their "Very Best Of Dokken" album released in 1999. "Unchain The Night" is another gem and a great album opener. 3 of the 4 songs mentioned here also made it their "One Night Live" (1996) album as well. There are some amazing deep album cuts ("Slipping Away", "Jaded Heart", "Will The Sun Rise") that never got old. Don is harmonizing at his absolute best. Lynch blisters on guitar (as always). Pilson & Brown are steady and by know means should they be outshined by the 2 leaders of this band (both went onto to be wonderful session players with other well-known rock bands). Even though Dokken was classified as one of those metal hair bands of the 1980's, I think they were much more. Wizard guitar talent, vocally trained, great song writing, craft and appealing melodies - Dokken possessed all the traits. Some will argue "Tooth And Nail" (1987) may be their best disc, but for song for song if I had to choose one - "Under Lock And Key" is it. Wondering if Dokken's (early) catalog will get the deluxe digital remastered treatment somewhere in the future... regardless - Great disc.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2006
This release was more commercial friendly then their magnificent TOOTH AND NAIL, but it is still just as enjoyable - just different. Lyrically speaking, there are at 4-5 songs on here that explore the "having been wronged by the femme-fatale" theme that appears often enough on Dokken releases so as to almost make those lyrics a Dokken trademark.
Anyone who has ever been disappointed in love should be able to relate to Dokken's thorough covering of the subject, whether it be "searching for love on the lonely streets again" (The Hunter), betrayal of confidence (Don't Lie To Me), yearning for a love that still flourishes although it is history (In My Dreams), or the helplessness one feels when a loved one exits one's life (Slippin' Away). I think that has been a big reason Dokken has had such a lasting appeal to their fans because this is a subject so many of them can relate to.
I love Don Dokken's voice. He doesn't exhibit the same range as someone like Rob Halford (then again, who does?), but his voice can suit perfectly for all-out rockers like "Lightnin' Strikes" or ballads like "Slippin' Away" with equal justification. Can you imagine Rob Halford or Ronnie James Dio singing ballads? To me, it just doesn't work as well as Don Dokken's would on Dokken's ballads. Don's voice and style works out great in either capacity.
The first three songs, plus "Don't Lie To Me", are what I would classify as "melodic metal" - musically speaking, similar in style to the Scorpions. A theme and beat is recorded and diversified with George Lynch's intricate guitar work so as to maintain listener interest through the songs.
"Unchain the Night" is a great opener to the release - a mid-tempo track with a thumping bass hook and Don Dokken's soaring vocals. Dokken had opened shows with this number on tour before.
"The Hunter" is a another mid-tempo track, similar to the previous one. Lyrically it's about a broken-hearted guy "searching for love on the lonely streets again" that he himself acknowledges may be in vain.
"In My Dreams" - remember the video to this? George Lynch's fancy fingerwork in this guitar solo is AMAZING. (Incidentally, some techno-dance musicians call THE PARTY redid this in 1991 that promises an intersting comparison.) "Don't Lie To Me" on the same CD is similar to this song.
"Slippin' Away" is a power-ballad similar to "Alone Again" Dokken had released a year earlier. "Jaded Heart" is the other slow song on the CD.
"Lightnin' Strikes" and "Til The Livin' End" are the all out, rapid fire tempo songs on here with the thunderous drums and Lynch's lightning fast fretwork. That is stuff to crash your car to.
"It's Not Love" got a fair amount or radio and MTV airplay It does not happen to be one of my preferred Dokken recording, but it is a fan favorite, so let the other reviews tell you more about that track.
"Will The Sun Rise" sounds like a song that could have appreared on Def Leppard's HYSTERIA. It is a political statement against war. Listen to the song "Give It Up" from Don Dokken's solo CD UP FROM THE ASHES. They are lyrically similar.
Give this Dokken offering a serious listen - it ranks up there with "Tooth And Nail" as their best release.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2005
This was one of those albums from the '80s that REALLY pissed me off! It pissed me off because this third release from the VERY underrated band Dokken should have been a major hit. I kid you not when I say there is not one bad song on this album. Not one! If you like melodic hard rock you will LOVE everything on this disc. If the power ballads Slippin' Away and Jaded Heart had been released as singles I truly believe they would have reached the Top 10 if not #1 on the charts. After this release Dokken should have been headlining 10,000 seat arenas instead of opening up for other bands. Get this one now!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 1999
This CD is 5 star all the way. This is a feel good all around rockin CD, This CD rocks top to bottom never a dull spot. Listen to my personal fav its not love these guys can rock. Some more of my favs are Jaded Heart, Unchain The Night, The Hunter. But the rest of the cd is awsome to Definatly there best work but i also recommend there other CD's released before 1988 after that they just didn't rock like they once did. Five stars all the way this Cd has been with me during good times, bad times and in between a must for any headbanger, or any hair band metal lover.