Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dokken - Tooth and Nail

This week (September 13th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Tooth and Nail, the second studio album from the Los Angeles heavy metal band Dokken. This follow-up to their 1983 release Breaking the Chains (click here for that review) spent seventy-four weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 49. It also reached number 47 in the UK.

With this record, Jeff Pilson came onboard on bass to replace Juan Croucier, who had left to join Ratt.

Side one opens with the minute and a half long instrumental overture “Without Warning”. It builds nicely before exploding into the title track which follows.

The rapid-fire, aggressively driven “Tooth and Nail” was released as the B-side to the third single. The guitar work on this one is very sweet.

The second single “Just Got Lucky” reached number 27 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. The song has a bit less of an edge, giving it perfect crossover potential. The melodies fall right in line with what would become known a bit later in the 80’s as “hair metal”.

“Heartless Heart”, a song about a woman who could easily shut off her emotions, keeps up the middle-of-the-road sound. The drums pound and the backing vocals soar here.

The B-side to the second single was “Don’t Close Your Eyes”, a balls-to-the-wall grinding rocker about a stalker.

Side two opens with the slow but steady crawl of “When Heaven Comes Down”.

“Into the Fire”, the first single, peaked at number 21 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. It would later resurface in the 1987 film A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors; the band contributed a new song to that soundtrack as well.

The B-side to that first single was the next track, “Bullets to Spare”.

“Alone Again”, the third single, went to number 20 on the US Mainstream Rock chart and crossed over to the US Billboard Hot 100 where it reached number 64. This power ballad deals with a man’s depression after a relationship break-up. Of the tracks on this record, this is the one that I remember after all these years (most likely due to the video for it playing on MTV).

The album closes with the quick tempo tune “Turn on the Action”.

This was my first listen on Tooth and Nail, and I enjoyed it. This is the way I like my metal, with a bit more of a lighter and accessible approach. If Dokken was going for a more commercial, MTV-friendly sound on this album, it certainly worked. For me, the best tracks could be found on the singles and their flip-sides, along with the remaining tracks from the first side of the album.

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