Great Metal Albums of 1987: Dokken- Back for the Attack

Have you listened to an album recently and found it was much better than when you listened to it years earlier? I recently had that experience with Accept’s “Russian Roulette” album and I was hoping the same thing was going to happen when I listened to Dokken’s 1987 album, “Back for the Attack.” I didn’t hate the album when I first heard it in 1987 but I thought the album lacked punch. The problem is that after hearing it three times recently, my view hasn’t shifted.

“Back for the Attack” sums up what happens to many bands. They are hungry on their first few albums and that hunger is reflected in the music and the way the band plays it. This was definitely true on the first three Dokken albums. They were hungry and it certainly shows and I could see that hunger for myself when I saw them support first Twisted Sister and then Judas Priest in 1986. Then the band makes the big time and when they do, it seems like they don’t have to try anymore. That is exactly the case with this album. It almost feels like Dokken are going through the motions and it’s why the album isn’t as good as the first three.

I think the main problem is the choruses of most of the songs. In some cases, it sounds like the band is hung over. It is the choruses where the lack of punch makes itself known. On many of the tracks, they start out with some great riffs, vocals and rhythm section and I start getting excited about it and then I hear the chorus and think, ‘”Are they trying?” It leaves me shaking my head until George Lynch is able to restore some excitement with a decent guitar solo.

For all my ripping on the album just now, it’s still pretty good. The main reason is the parts outside of the choruses where Don sings well, Jeff and Mick lay down a strong rhythm and George shreds. One song which manage to beat the chorus let down is the closer, “Dream Warriors,” which I am sure most of you know from the “Nightmare on Elm Street 3” soundtrack. That is one chorus which definitely has some punch. While the chorus is how I describe it on “Lost Behind the Wall,” it is a standout track nevertheless. I dig Jeff’s bassline and George does some of his best shredding. “Stop Fighting Love” has a great intro and an equally great George solo but it is let down by the lackluster chorus.

Taking what I have said about the album, it is the reason why I think “Mr Scary” is the best track on the album, it’s an instrumental so there are no choruses to be sung half-heartedly. George, Jeff and Mick just go and play their hearts out and the result is a brilliant track. Now, it is easy for me to blame Don for the bland vocals on the chorus but he does sing the verses of the songs with conviction, so it’s not that. Besides, Jeff and Mick also provide backing vocals. Still, you can’t go wrong on “Mr Scary.”

Track Listing:

  1. Kiss of Death
  2. Prisoner
  3. Night by Night
  4. Standing in the Shadows
  5. Heaven Sent
  6. Mr Scary
  7. So Many Tears
  8. Burning Like a Flame
  9. Lost Behind the Wall
  10. Stop Fighting Love
  11. Cry of the Gypsy
  12. Sleepless Night
  13. Dream Warriors

Don Dokken- lead vocals

George Lynch- guitar

Jeff Pilson- bass, backin vocals

Mick Brown- drums, backing vocals

What amazes me is how the chorus can affect a song. With all of these tracks on “Back for the Attack,” each starts out as if it’s going to be a killer song but then the chorus makes me think, “Oh, that’s it.” Otherwise this could have reached the dizzy heights the first three. Then again, the commercial success of the album could say that I am totally wrong here. I would like to hear your opinions on “Back for the Attack.”

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24 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1987: Dokken- Back for the Attack”

  1. Great review. You’re reminding me of all the music I grew up on.

    I liked this album when it first came out and still do. Dream Warriors and Burning Like A Flame are my favs, great songs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d agree with your assessment. The album does lack the intensity of the older material. I do enjoy it but it’s a step down from their classic period. They probably started painting by numbers after getting some experience under their belts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve only owned it since about 2013 so I dont have the same history, but I quite like this. The first three tracks, the closer and Mr Scary are all fine by me.
    There’s quite a lot of samey forgettable tracks ottherwise, but nothing I’d call bad. I agree that the previous albums were better though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I liked this one when it come out. I didn’t love it. I like Don’s solo album better that came out next I believe.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The production sounds pretty good, right? Can see why it would hold up well on a revisit.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pretty good rock record considering it’s not everyone’s favourite Dokken. I would put it behind Tooth and Nail as my personal go to Dokken album. Dysfunctional as well was very good

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think this album captures all the good things from Dokken.

    The fast Metal stuff like Kiss Of Death and Mr Scary, the melodic rock of Prisoner, Heaven Sent, Stop Fighting Love and So Many Tears and the NWOBHM vibe on Lost Behind The Wall, Dream Warriors and Standing In The Shadows.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Whipped Owl and commented:
    Another review nailed by 80’s Metalman here. I have to agree that this is the worst of the classic four Dokken albums, although there are some good moments. Another thing to consider is the fact that Don and George were at each other’s throats by this point. Kiss of Death and Dream Warriors are the highlights for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great review. Definitely not a bad album but I don’t get as excited by this as the predecessors. Great tracks, especially at the beginning, and then it just gets a bit samey… I felt like there was too much mid-tempo stuff maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

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