The single "Dream Warriors" was originally released in February 1987 as the theme song for the horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. The album title for Back for the Attack was taken from an earlier Dokken song of the same name, recorded during the sessions for Under Lock and Key (1985) and released as the B-side to "Dream Warriors". It was later included in the 2009 remastered edition of the album as a bonus track.
Barry Weber at AllMusic gave Back for the Attack three stars out of five, saying that it "certainly isn't Dokken's greatest album, yet it remains a worthwhile listen". He praised the band for sounding "tighter than they ever have before", with frontman Don Dokken and guitarist George Lynch being "at the top of their game." Canadian journalist Martin Popoff praised the album, which "offers length, variation and a sense of ambition as never before", and called it "one of those lost records brimming with bravado" but not so unique to be "one's life soundtrack". He added that the "excruciating" circumstances of its recording took their toll as the band tried to assemble "a more competent, mature, substantial record".
The album was ranked number 12 on Metal Rules list of the Top 50 Glam Metal Albums.