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Dokken’s second album, Tooth and Nail, was an underachieving glam metal release that still managed to pull a few crunchy, guitar-heavy rockers out of its hypothetical hat. Dokken’s third album, Under Lock and Key, sounds like the fucking B-sides from that album: similarly well-produced but substituting balladry over originality. Even Dokken fans should be wary here, as this cuts no sharper than a spoon.
It’s only the third time out, but clearly Dokken have run out of ideas. Songs here are repetitive and uninspired and full of sing-along choruses that aren’t memorable enough to sing along to. George Lynch is still ripping off Eddie Van Halen (doubters can track down that Guitar World interview where he admits it [UPDATE: I believe it's the October '04 issue. The one with Trey Anastasio from Phish on the cover]) to little effect, Don Dokken is still the hero to other mediocre glam singers like Terry Glaze and Gary Cherone, and everyone else is predictably shitty. Worse yet is the dulling of the band’s already barely metal edge with numerous ballads. Heavier tunes like “Til the Livin’ End” and “Unchain the Night” are quickly outweighed by lame tracks like “Slippin’ Away” and “Jaded Heart.” Their lyrics, surprise surprise, have gotten cheesier as well.
In short, this album should have been kept under lock and key to spare us from it. Don Dokken and company were clearly the poster boys for mediocre-to-shitty glam metal in the mid 80’s. Avoid, avoid.