March 17, 2023 Dokken – The Elektra Albums 1983-1987 (Box Set Review)
Back in the early ’80s Heavy Metal blossomed into something larger than life thanks to blister guitar, soaring vocals, and unmistakable imagery. From Iron Maiden to Judas Priest, Heavy Metal had become a force to be reckoned with, and taking the genre to the next level of mainstream exposure were bands like Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, and Dokken. Dokken, originally formed in the late ‘70s, prior to the ’80s Metal assault, are a band with an interesting, yet deep history.
Going through growing pains early on, including some lineup shifts, by 1981 Dokken really started to come into focus with founder Don Dokken on vocals, George Lynch on lead guitar, Mick Brown on drums, and Juan Croucier (of Ratt fame) on bass. Picking up steam, by 1983 Croucier split with the band to join up with Ratt, Jeff Pilson took over on bass, and thus the classic lineup of Dokken was born. Around the same time inking an American record deal with Elektra Records, their 1981 debut album Breaking the Chains was reworked for a ’83 release, and a string of success would follow. In fact, Dokken would go on to become one of the early decades most defining more mainstream Metal bands, and it would make sense to refer to this as the Elektra Years.
A special period in time, from 1983 to 1987, Dokken managed to put out four powerful albums in a row. Starting with the re-release of Breaking the Chains in 1983, to follow would be 1984’s Tooth and Nail, 1985’s Under Lock and Key, and 1987’s Back for The Attack. A truly magical time, stand out hits included “Breakin’ the Chains,” “Just Got Lucky,” “Into the Fire,” “Alone Again,” “In My Dreams,” “It’s Not Love,” “Burning Like A Flame,” and “Dream Warriors,” you would have been hard-pressed to find a bigger band at the time. That in mind, minus the well-known cuts, each of these albums hold a special place in the heart of long-time fans, and in their eyes, each is perfect from start to finish. Hard to argue, you had a killer combination of Don Dokken’s high flying vocals, George Lynch’s razor-sharp guitar playing, tight bass/drums of Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown, but also fantastic songwriting from the whole collective. They wrote songs that were heavy enough to please more traditional Metal fans, but accessible enough to convert a more mainstream radio listener. So, should time just let these records be left behind? Absolutely not! That is why it is extra exciting to see that BMG has put together the four classic Dokken albums in a brand-new box set called The Elektra Albums 1983-1987.
Released back on January 27, 2023, the limited edition set includes the four albums outlined here, and comes in either a 5 LP or 4 CD set. All newly remastered by Andy Pearce (Black Sabbath, Motörhead), the LP collection is limited to 2,500 copies, and is pressed on 180g black vinyl. A fantastic package for fans, they come in a nice box set, and sound rather stellar. For the 4 CD set, you get all four albums in digipak format also in a nice compact box set. Also sounding pristine and crisp, each comes with a nice piece of fold out artwork with art on one side and liner notes/lyrics opposite.
All in all, purchasing the CD or LP set is a fantastic option for fans. Each is well packaged, high quality, and a great way to honor this classic period of Dokken history. Furthermore, even if you own each of these albums already on CD and/or vinyl, these sets are a great addition to your collection since the remastering is well worth listening to. Everything considered, Cryptic Rock gives The Elektra Albums 1983-1987 sets 4.5 out of 5 stars