The Lost Songs: 1978-1981

(Silver Lining Music)

     For 'Metalheads' of a certain age, Los Angeles, California-born veterans Dokken have long represented the epitome of Glam and/or Hair Metal excellence. Armed with a series of multi-platinum, hairspray and mascara-encrusted efforts (most notably Back For The Attack, 1987 and Under Lock And Key, 1985), the group was on the cusp of international dominance before imploding in 1989. Although a 1993 reunion would soon lead to the release of the woefully-underrated gems Dysfunctional (1995) and One Night Live (1996), the ensuing--and, for that matter, outright predictable--personnel and label-related turmoil left the group heavily battle-scarred. With nearly a decade having passed since their most recent all new studio effort, many of their disciples have become increasingly impatient. However, with the release of the highly-anticipated rarities compilation The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 (2020) now upon us, they appear poised for the re-newed global recognitions they rightfully deserve.

     On the stellar The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 (2020), an expertly assembled eleven song collection of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the refreshingly upbeat, hook-laden jewel “Step Into The Light” and the flamenco-tinged lamentation “Day After Day”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of all parties involved. Boldly improving upon the misleading and apparently unauthorized bootleg From Conception: Live 1981 (2007), the group wastes little--if any--time reminding everyone of their rightful place amid the hierarchy of the Heavy Metal genre. Essentially laying the frameworks and foundations for the earliest era of the their career, they deliver the proverbial goods early and often while utilizing a sound that often strays from the polished, synthesized sheen of their later works. The resulting auditory barrages serve as a showcase for what was then a young, struggling group blessed with 'serious' lyrical and compositional skill sets.

     Continuing with the hard-driving, 'arena ready' canticles “No Answer” and the painfully dated--albeit razor-sharp--“Hit And Run”, the steadfast, to say the very least, combination of vocalist Don Dokken, guitarists Greg Leon (Quite Riot), George Lynch (Lynch Mob) and Jon Levin (Doro, Warlock), bassists Rustee Allen (Sly And The Family Stone) and Juan Croucier (Ratt, Quiet Riot) and drummers Bill Lordan (Robin Trower), Gary Holland (Great White), Greg Pecka (Helion), 'Wild' Mick Brown (Lynch Mob) and BJ Zampa (House Of Lords, Wayne) deftly drive home each key focal point. With the now-trademark vocal histrionics, blistering fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms you know and love already in place, the depth and intensity that would soon be expounded upon via their major-label debut Breaking The Chains (1983) appears in rarefied form. Translating this into the Platinum tone that propelled them to worldwide acclaim, the group boldly surges ahead.

     Deftly chronicling a previously 'under documented' era of their storied history, other standouts, including the muffled--yet delightfully raw--demo “Broken Heart” and the smoldering in-concert showcase “Prisoner” (not to be confused with the track that would later be featured on Back For The Attack), only further reinforce their well-deserved, albeit largely misguided, reputation as forerunners of the genre's rapid proliferation. While not necessarily groundbreaking and certainly not revolutionary, much of the incendiary The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 re-examines and, in some cases, partially re-imagines the improbably long-running group's prototypical yore. While those unfamiliar with group's later works (most notably the pre-Dysfunctional/One Night Live era) may find my incessant admiration for their efforts to be precariously approaching hyperbole-fueled ridiculousness, you only have yourself to blame for not embracing the undeniable charm of these occasionally furious offerings.

     While it's obviously not the 'full-fledged' reunion many have impatiently been anticipating (à la Return To The East Live 2016), the majority--if not all--of the uniquely rare wares contained herein offer an unprecedented level of insight into the group's formative years. Although the overall impact of The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 may be lost on all but the most die-hard completists, the compilation further traverses the more than considerable distance between Back In The Streets (1979) and Tooth And Nail (1984). An absolute must-have for anyone with a genuine and sincere interested in all things Glam Metal, the end results serve as a much-welcomed addition to their sprawling discography. As a result, if you've once again found yourself in search of a thought-provoking trip down memory lane that doesn't involve embracing a morbidly obese expanse of spandex-clad Velveeta, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane cure-all for what ails you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Select Discography

The Lost Songs: 1978-1981 (2020)

Return To The East Live (2016)

Broken Bones (2012)

Lightning Strikes Again (2008)

From Conception: Live 1981 (2007)

Hell To Pay (2004)

Long Way Home (2002)

Erase The Slate (1999)

Shadowlife (1997)

One Night Live (1996)

Dysfunctional (1995)

Beast From The East (1988)

Back For The Attack (1987)

Under Lock And Key (1985)

Tooth And Nail (1984)

Breaking The Chains (1983)

Back In The Streets (EP) (1979)

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