The Glam Metal Thread

First Post March 18, 2023 09:50 AM

Given that I've checked out a few releases that fell into the glam metal category more than they did into a genuine metal subgenre of late, it got me thinking about what the best glam metal releases I've ever heard were. I used our usual 2-1 ratio genre-tag cut-off for inclusion & this is what I came up with:

01. Twisted Sister – “Stay Hungry” (1984)

02. Pantera – “Projects In The Jungle” (1984)

03. W.A.S.P. – “W.A.S.P.” (1984)

04. Dokken – “Back For The Attack” (1987)

05. Skid Row – “Skid Row” (1989)

06. Twisted Sister – “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll” (1983)

07. Motley Crue – “Shout At The Devil” (1983)

08. Alice Cooper – “Hey Stoopid” (1991)

09. Alice Cooper – “Trash” (1989)

10. Lynch Mob – “Wicked Sensation” (1990)

The Pantera inclusion will no doubt take people off guard but it's my party & I'll cry if I want to. Feel free to post your own top ten.

March 19, 2023 12:45 AM

Here's my top ten.

1. Motley Crue - Dr. Feelgood (Yes on metal)

2. Dokken - Under Lock and Key (Yes)

3. Twisted Sister - Live at Hammersmith (Yes)

4. Def Leppard - Pyromania (No)

5. Michael Monroe - Not Fakin' It (No)

6. Bon Jobi - Slippery When Wet (No)

7. Motley Crue - Shout at the Devil (Yes)

8. Crazy Lixx - New Religion (No)

9. WASP - WASP (Yes)

10. Dokken - Beast from the East (Yes)

March 19, 2023 01:14 AM

To be clear, I wasn't suggesting that every release on my list wasn't metal. Just that they at least deserve a dual tag with glam metal. The WASP, Twisted Sister & Motley Crue releases on my list are all metal releases as well in my opinion.

Also, "Pyromania" would have made my list but I made the decision not to consider it as glam metal.

March 29, 2023 10:18 PM

Dokken - "Back For The Attack" (1987)

Following on from last week’s disappointing investigation of Los Angeles glam metal legends Dokken’s 1985 third album “Under Lock & Key”, I thought it would be worth me reassessing the record that first drew me to the band (& more specifically their wonderful guitarist George Lynch) iback in the late 1980's in order to see whether my positivity around 1987’s “Back For The Attack” (Dokken’s highest selling record) was more about teen nostalgia than it was genuine merit. The unpolished hard rock of Don Dokken’s 1981 debut album “Breakin’ The Chains” didn’t do much for me when I checked it out during my Metal Academy podcast research many years ago now but it’s 1984 follow-up “Tooth & Nail” was much more metal & subsequently fit in closer to my taste profile so my experience with arguably the band’s most highly regarded release (i.e. “Under Lock & Key”) was a touch underwhelming. This saw me going into “Back For The Attack” a little tentatively but with high hopes of a glam metal revival.

The first thing I noticed about “Back For The Attack” was the production with Lynch’s guitar tone being absolutely shredding. It’s very easy to see why people will want to lump Dokken in with your classic heavy metal sound based on that element alone, especially when you consider that Lynch’s performance is the clear highlight of the album. In fact, I think this is really where George comes of age because I’d found myself doubting myself a little while listening to the first three records. He was certainly pretty special but nothing like as mind-blowing as he is here. This right here is what placed him in my top few guitar influences & I can’t fully express how impressive his tone & phrasing are here, not to mention the dazzling technique. Don puts in possibly his best performance to date too with several of the chorus hooks drawing me in when the overall aesthetics of the song-writing sees me wanting to pull away. This wasn’t the case with “Under Lock & Key” which was simply too poppy & commercialized me for but “Back For The Attack” has a metal edge & stronger, more mature song-writing that allows the highlight tracks to more than compensate for the cheesier glam metal numbers like “So Many Tears”, “Burning Like A Flame” & the particularly poor “Stop Fighting Love”.

Dokken have never sounded tighter & more cohesive than they do on “Back For The Attack” &, when combined with an attractive album cover, it’s not hard to see why it might have been such a commercial success for the band. I particularly enjoy the gritty hard rock of “Heaven Sent”, the energetic glam metal of “Sleepless Night” & the clear album highlight “Mr. Scary” which sees Lynch being allowed to stand alone in the spotlight & show us all what he’s really capable of in what must surely be one of the greatest instrumental guitar displays of all time. “Breakin’ The Chains” & “Under Lock & Key” simply sound watered down compared to the best material on this record with some of the transitions hitting with a weightier crunch than Dokken had previously achieved to the time. I guess this begs the question of whether “Back For The Attack” is a genuine heavy metal record or not which I think is a really interesting question because, much like “Under Lock & Key”, the guitars sit very much in metal territory. I think the answer depends on the listener’s position on whether glam metal is a hard rock subgenre or a metal one. Here at Metal Academy we’ve generally taking the stance that it’s more rock than metal &, that being the case, I would have to suggest that this album sits outside of our scope. Sure, there are a few metal tunes included amongst the thirteen songs on the tracklisting but I don’t think that’s enough to compete with the lop-sided result of its battle with glam metal extravagance here. The chorus hooks, hard rock beats & gang vocals are simply too easy on the ear for this to be regarded as a genuine metal release in my opinion. Songs like “Kiss Of Death”, “Standing In The Shadows”, “Mr. Scary” & “Lost Behind The Wall” should offer heavy metal fans a fair bit of encouragement nonetheless though.

Overall, I’d suggest that “Back For The Attack” is the best of Dokken’s four 1980’s studio albums with it just pipping out “Tooth & Nail”. It may not be as sophisticated as I remember it being as a kid but it’s presented in an undeniably attractive package that may have a thick layer of icing sugar on the outside but also has a deliciously gooey centre that tastes bloody great at times.


P.S. I think I'm comfortable with where this release sits in the top ten list I posted earlier in this thread. No changes required.