Shok Paris – “Full Metal Jacket” (No Remorse Records)
At last – the return of classic US metal band Shok Paris! Formed in 1982, this Cleveland band released their debut on Bill Peters’s cult Auburn Records label just 2 years later, following up with 2 more albums before a hiatus at the end of the 80s. Now, some 31 years later (!) after “Concrete Killers” and following special appearances at festivals like Bang Your Head, Up The Hammers, Keep It True and Headbangers Open Air comes “Full Metal Jacket” with its 12 tracks full of old school power metal faithful to their trademark sound of hook laden riffs, melodic hooks and catchy choruses – just as it was in the 80s! Still led by founder guitarist Ken Erb and longtime vocalist Vic Hix, the sound is authentic to the old days, while the remaining 2010 line up has ensured top notch performances throughout. Opening with the creepy intro from Private Pile on ‘The Creed’, the title track ‘Full Metal Jacket’ fires in with chugging riffs from the twin warbling guitars of Erb and John Korsekwa while Hix leads the fist banging chorus to its air punching shout out, capped off brilliantly by the smashing drums of Donovan Kenaga – awesome. Clearly moved by the loyalty and respect of their fans, ‘Brothers In Arms’ wails in blissfully with its catchy melodies as Hix leads the singalong lyrics made even more ballsier by Ed Stephens’s twanging bass, while Erb and Korsekwa continually drop in melodic breaks and fiery licks, not to mention their soulful solos, which like the rest of this appealing number, reach well into your heart to stir the epic fire. Screaming in on ‘Black Boots’ with its fast riffing and spiraling melodies, Hix bears his soul along to the guitar wails in the build up to the big chorus as Kenaga kicks in magnificently. A thoroughly enjoyable album in every regard from a band that is as exciting now as it was back in the day – excellent!