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Shok Paris - Full Metal Jacket Award winner

Shok Paris
Full Metal Jacket
by Kevin Lewis at 03 July 2020, 4:41 PM

SHOK PARIS is back! Originally formed in 1982, this Cleveland, OH, based band rocked the 80’s from coast to coast, touring with bands like LIZZY BORDEN and SAVATAGE. Reformed in 2009, SHOK PARIS has been performing with this current lineup since 2010. “Full Metal Jacket” is the first full length album of new music by this incarnation of the band. Originally scheduled to release in February, the album was delayed until May 29, 2020 on No Remorse Records. This record has greatly benefited from 10 years of playing together with some of their trade-craft honed on the European festival circuit over the last decade.

You know this record means business when it starts with a clip from the iconic movie this album is named after. “The Creed” begins with some of the dialogue from the movie with ominous music setting the stage for the kick into the title track. “Full Metal Jacket” bolts out of the gate with a classic, almost stereo-typical 80’s type riff. It is obvious from the start these guys are not messing around. They have not lost a step. “Nature Of The Beast” shows off more of the guitarists chops, but also features a more prominent drum beat. Solid bass playing drives these songs along in a tight display of musicianship. 31 years after their last full-length release, SHOK PARIS is still ready to rock out.

Again, in typical 80’s fashion, “Do Or Die” brings an anthemic sound and attitude to the front. That attitude carries over into “Metal On Metal” with a mindset typified by the lyrics “What you see is what you get/No surprises, no regrets”. With a healthy bottom end working its’ way through the songs, dual guitars flying over the top and the words driving home a message of unity and the will to fight, “Brothers In Arms” wraps up three songs that are not really a story within a story, but do have a theme. Vic Hix should be waving a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag around while singing these songs.

Keeping on, “Black Boots” has the best intro to any of the songs in my opinion. That riff is air guitarist gold. “Hell Day” and “Those Eyes” move through some minor tempo changes, again showing these guys are definitely talented at writing and playing music that does not just conform to a mold. While other songs also have shifts and pivots in them, these are some of the best examples of movement in and out of the choruses with “Those Eyes” having a double shift and a slowed down section meant to set up the move back into the main sound and lead into the solos with both guitarists taking their turn at impressing the audience.

The album concludes with the three tracks that cannot be left out of the discussion. “Fall From Grace”, “Symphony Of The Seas” and “Up The Hammers (bonus track)” wrap up this album in a very appropriate way. With intricate guitar work over the main rhythm, pounding drums through the middle and a bass line that paces the songs with precision and depth, this is a fantastic finish. Lyrically intense, these songs leave you wondering where you are with your life. Are you ready, or do you need more time to prepare for what’s next?

After listening to this album for four consecutive days, I wonder how I missed this band in the 80’s. The unfortunate answer is I was stuck on a few bands that I loved and (obviously) did not branch out enough to find these guys then. I now know that I cheated myself. I should have been listening all along. Make no mistake, I will be making up for lost time by going back and discovering their entire early catalog way too late. It may have been 31 years since the last SHOK PARIS album, but I certainly hope the next one comes much faster than that. These guys need to keep making new music for those of us who have come to love them in the here and now.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Creed
2. Full Metal Jacket
3. Nature Of The Beast
4. Do Or Die
5. Metal On Metal
6. Brothers In Arms
7. Black Boots
8. Hell Day
9. Those Eyes
10. Fall From Grace
11. Symphony Of The Seas
12. Up The Hammers (bonus track)
Lineup:
Vic Hix - Vocals
Ken Erb - Guitars
John Korsekwa - Guitars
Ed Stephens - Bass
Donovan Kenaga – Drums
Record Label: No Remorse Records
     


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