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Under Lock and Key is generally seen as an ok Dokken album, but not one of their best pieces of work. I totally disagree with this. In fact I think the first three Dokken albums are the essential albums that have defined this band. If you were to pick up the best of Dokken album, you would find that most, if not all, of the songs on this album come from these three albums, but I digress... After an ok debut, Breaking the Chains, the amazing and stellar Tooth and Nail pops up. How can any album compete with Tooth and Nail?
Under Lock and Key is an essential buy because it has some of Dokken's greatest hits: The Hunter, In My Dreams, and It's Not Love. However, the rest of the album is not bad at all. The opening to the album, Unchain the Night, is moving and leads into a nice guitar riff/melody that defines the song. Another great song is Lightnin' Strikes Again. Combined with some cool lyrics and some of the best Lynch guitar riffs (save for Kiss of Death via Back From the Attack) this is the best "forgettable" Dokken song. After It's Not Love, the rest of the album is pretty much worthless. The songs are ok, still giving a nice blend of creative Lynch riffs, but they really don't stand out like the rest of the album.
The guitar riffs on this album are awesome. Lynch provides some of his best solos as well on this album, my favorite being In My Dreams. Don is on key hitting all those delicate high notes, like at the end of Lightnin' Strikes Again, but also delivers a serious soft tone like on the ballad Slippin' Away. If you are a Dokken fan, you probably own this album, but like I mentioned before, get the first three, or a best of and you really can not go wrong. Sure the album has fillers at the end, but this album is worth the first six songs!