Released: 2005, Auburn Records
It’s a fact in the music business that there are always excellent bands that deserve attention that, for whatever reason, don’t get the recognition they deserve. In the early ‘80s it seemed as if every band that came out of the burgeoning Ohio metal scene had this inauspicious fate thrust upon them. Shok Paris is/was one of those bands, though they did manage to maintain a little more success than most of their peers. Beginning in 1984 with GO FOR THE THROAT, the band turned many heads with their powerful melodic sound. The following STEEL AND STARLIGHT was well received, but by 1989 when CONCRETE KILLERS was released, thrash was in full command of the metal scene, and there were not many ears turned towards Shok Paris’ sound and the band quietly slipped away (with the notable exception of Aftershok – we’ll get to them next month). Now, thanks to the resurgence of Auburn Records, Shok Paris’ debut assault, GO FOR THE THROAT has been re-released. Is it worthy?
Skipping past the horrible album cover (identical to the original) and getting straight to the music, it’s easy to hear why Shok Paris created such a stir 20 years ago. GO FOR THE THROAT is chock full of ripping aggressive melodic metal, that may sound a bit dated by today’s standards, but still has a certain vitality to it. For 40 minutes the band fire off classic after classic from the immortal “Battle Cry” to perpetual concert closer “Run But Don’t Hide”. Shok Paris was one of those rare bands that managed to combine a rock solid rhythm section with two shredding guitarists and an absolute wailer of a vocalist.
The other great thing this album has going for it is the innocence that came with a lot of ‘80s metal releases. No band today would dare follow the straight up aggression of “Burn It Down” with the obviously commercial (but no less great) “On A Wing And A Prayer”. Seriously, if you want ageless traditional metal, this is it.
After the 10 tracks of GO FOR THE THROAT are done, Auburn tacked on another full 9 bonus tracks, seven of which are live. These tracks are OK as a curiosity, showing the band could bring the goods live, but they still don’t measure up to the studio versions. The other two tracks are lost classics “Go Down Fighting” (featuring original vocalist Buddy McCormack) and “Streets of Pleasure” both of which could have fit nicely on the album itself.
Like their mates in Breaker, Shok Paris deserved more recognition than they got in their original formation, but thankfully have another chance to reach even more ears 20 years later. GO FOR THE THROAT is an essential piece of metal history – go get it.