Shok Paris is a heavy rock band which was formed back in 1982 in Cleveland, Ohio and released three albums before calling it a day in 1989 before then reforming in 2009 with Full Metal Jacket. This then makes it the band’s first album in thirty one years so this is one that is very overdue indeed. This is metal very much of the Savatage and Queensrÿche school and flirts somewhere between progressive and power metal and mighty fine it is too.
There have been a couple of changes in the band which is understandable and they now line-up with old hands Vic Hix on vocals and Ken Erb on guitar welcoming the relative newcomers in John Korsekwa on guitar, Ed Stephens on bass and Donovan Kenaga on drums. This is metal with lots of riffs and plenty of hooks to draw you and then they hit you with outstanding guitar work to blow your mind. Erb and Korsekwa combine amazingly well and work in perfect harmony with an ethic and sound similar to that of Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton in their prime. Thirty one years may have passed but the band is still as vital, hungry and angry. Vocalist Vic Hix is one of those singers that you hear and instantly remember, not a classic crooner by any means but a quite wonderful metal frontman with a rich and insistent delivery with a throaty roar that hints of too many smokes and Jack Daniels.
Shok Paris is one of those bands that never go out of fashion simply because they never were fashionable but they did and still do know how to rock and then some. The band is still rooted in the ’80s and why not, there are plenty of bands who want to replicate the ’80s vibe and the music on display here makes it feel like the musicians have just stepped out of a collective ‘cryotube’, picked up their instruments and started to jam. Full Metal Jacket is a perfect example of fist pumping American hard rock with attitude.
Is it the best rock album of the year, well no it isn’t but it is a hell raising journey into insanity with a bonkers vocalist who gives it everything that he has and then some more. Then add some of the best twin guitar duelling around and you have a hugely enjoyable comeback album and these boys are going to take some festivals by storm, if we ever get to see live music again. The album starts in very eerie fashion with The Creed a short track which is basically a cut from the film of the same name and features the moment in the head (that’s toilet/showers to us non Americans) when Gomer Pyle is discovered loading his rifle and reciting the ‘Rifleman’s Creed’ before killing the drill instructor and then committing suicide, still one of the most distressing movie scenes I have ever seen. The album then kicks into the title track and it is full steam ahead for 52-minutes of metal mayhem. Just check out the song titles and I think you will get a favour of where the band is coming from and what makes them tick.
If you missed out on Shok Paris first time round then gives this fine album a listen, you’ll definitely enjoy the ride.
Full Metal Jacket track list
- The Creed (1:22)
- Full Metal Jacket (3:14)
- Nature Of The Beast (4:20)
- Do Or Die (2:58)
- Metal On Metal (3:53)
- Brothers In Arms (4:39)
- Black Boots (4:21)
- Hell Day (4:33)
- Those Eyes (5:10)
- Fall from Grace (5:20)
- Symphony Of The Sea (4:24)
- Up the Hammers (bonus track) (7:15)