Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lesser of two evils

Back in the 1980's the LA hard rock scene had more than it's share of bands pouring out and trying to make a name for themselves. Some like Motley Crue became huge while others fell by the wayside. Then there were the ones in between who sort of made it for a while or came close. The bands for today's contest come from this group and they are both actually older bands. We have...

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Dokken-Back for the attack
vs.

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Quiet Riot-3



Dokken had gotten some airplay and their videos had been shown on MTV. However around the same time Motley Crue had gotten huge and even Ratt had built their way up to being a headliner. Dokken were still opening act as they got ready to release their forth album. Quiet Riot were on a different track instead of slowly rising like Dokken. Kevin DuBrow considered this a different version of the band from the one with Randy Rhoads. Looking at it from that perspective the first album from this version was "Metal Health" in 1983 which was a huge hit. The band followed up fairly quickly with "Condition Critical" the next year. Personally I think it was a good album, but it didn't sell nearly as well as the previous effort. Like Dokken it was two years until they got around to their next album. Even though there was reason to believe these bands would put out good albums, but that just didn't happen. So lets get at them and see which one I could tolerate more.





Vocalists

Kevin DuBrow is up for Quiet Riot as he takes on Don Dokken. This is certainly not the finest moment for either vocalist. Quiet Riot tried to be something different on this album and really it was a failure. However the one aspect that clicked to some extent was Dubrow's vocals. It's pathetic material, but he makes a fine effort at trying to make it click. Don Dokken has always been a singer who has more range than personality. For me that makes him less memorable. He sounded good on the previous two albums, but here it's like the song run together and he seems to approach most of the songs the same. In the end he turns in a rather bland performance here.


Point to Quiet Riot


Guitarists


It's Carlos Cavazo for QR and George Lynch for Dokken. Cavazo was often considered a light weight and Lynch got the label guitar god or virtuoso. Okay, Cavazo deserved his label more than Lynch deserved his. Here it's as much Cavazo's playing that is at fault as it is the whole idea behind the album. What hard rock guitarist could sound good with so many synthesizers? Not many although that doesn't completely forgive Carlos from doing virtually nothing constructive here. Lynch had plenty of good moments on the previous two discs and his signature Mr. Scary is on this release. Still Dokken's album contains far too much filler and Lynch could have made a difference because he has the skill, but he didn't. So shame on him for spending more time on his tan and biceps than on his writing. Still he is the main factor behind the couple of good songs that are on here.


So point to Dokken



Rhythm section


For Quiet Riot is Frankie Banali on drums and Chuck Wright on bass going against Mick Brown and Jeff Pilson. Normally hard rock bands of the 80's seemed to be lacking in the rhythm section. However I actually think that Frankie Banali is a pretty good drummer, but unfortunately here he and wright both have their efforts absorbed into a big synthesized goop. Brown and Pilson had times where they were a decent duo. This time around I think the sound is smoothed more than normal, However the sound is still more coherent and more tolerable than on the QR album.

Point to Dokken


Disappointment factor

Both bands followed up decent albums in "Condition Critical" and "Under lock and key". The element that decided this category for me is the fact that while Dokken tried to be too smooth at least they tried to be hard rock. Quiet Riot were trying to cash on a synthesized rock that didn't benefit anyone. They would have hurt themselves less by not releasing any album until they had enough ideas to at least attempt a real hard rock album.

Point to Dokken


Who rocks more?

There are a couple of good songs on "Back for the attack" but it suffers from a definite lack of substance. The vocals and loud and Lynch's guitars whirl around here and there, but most of what we get is a lot of going through the motions. However that beats out Quiet Riot who through the effort of creating some of the most annoying excuse for hard rock to assault my unsuspecting ears in the mid 1980's. No wonder their mascot hid behind the band logo on this cover. I wouldn't want to show my face either if I had been involved with this mess.

Point to Dokken



Dokken win it fairly easily 4-1. Neither was a joy listening to and neither has aged well. Still I stuggled through and now I will likely not listen to either for some time.

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6 Comments:

Blogger BeckEye said...

I always loved Dokken, but I was disappointed in that CD. There are maybe 2-3 decent songs on it.

3:17 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

I never expected anything from Dokken, so they never disappointed me. I did like Quiet Riot at the time (even though relying on another band for their hits should have been a strong indicator that there wasn't much there), so QR III was definitely a bigger disappointment. Oddly enough, I have the 12" single "The Wild and the Young." I'm not sure why, but it's there. I guess that's better than having the whole album.

7:06 AM  
OpenID themetalfiles said...

Between the 2, Dokken is the one I'd listen to first.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Rob Liz said...

I liked Dokken back in the day and saw them for this tour and Under Lock and Key.

I was already done with Quiet Riot by the time III came out.

Back for the Attack I thought was pretty good though many of the tracks semed forced and weren't as catchy as previous albums.

9:32 AM  
Blogger t-o-n said...

"Back for the Attack" was my favorite album when it came out. About ten years later I gave it a listen and was beside myself over how boring it is.

("Prisoner", ....ugh).

You make a great point about the lack of personality in Dokken's vocals. Somehow he always sounded like he was overselling the songs to the point of being vapid (if that's even possible).

All of that said, "Kiss of Death" is one of the finest hard rock songs of that entire era (save a few ham fisted, overly-earnest lyrics). The live version on "Beast from the East" is sort of their career high point in my eyes.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

t-o-n: "Beast from the east" is a good album. Some of the songs from "Back for the attack" do sound better on that album.

9:34 AM  

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