F U L L . R E V I E W S


Shok Paris - Steel & Starlight 1987 IRS Records reviewed by: EC

Track Listing
- GO DOWN FIGHTING
- STEEL AND STARLIGHT
- TOKYO ROSE
- ROCKED OUTTA LOVE
- CASTLE WALLS
- ON YOUR FEET
- FALLIN' FOR YOU
- EXHIBIT A
- LOST QUEEN
- HOT ON YOUR HEELS
- STREETS OF PLEAUSURE
With the recent aquisition of Catch 22's new record "Awaken", I have decided to turn this installment of Rusted Metal into a nostalgic look at Shok Paris and their incredible album "Steel & Starlight". What does Shok Paris have to do with Catch 22 you may ask? Well, not much really if you look at it on paper. None of the same band members, different record label, and a different time period. The reason I see similarities are numerous however. Let me explain:

Catch 22 and Shok Paris both share the same musical traits. Both bands have put out albums that contain material from alot of different resources. With Catch 22's newest offering and Shok Paris' remarkable "Steel And Starlight" records, the bands have been able to capture the greatest moments of their respective metal genres. With Catch 22, the band manages to incorporate Pantera, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Savatage, and a host of others into their blend of 2003 heavy metal mayhem, a formula that works very very well indeed. Anyone who doesn't own that disc should rush right over to Molten Metal (www.moltenmetalusa.com) and pick it up! But in regards to what Catch 22 has done this year, fellow Ohio natives Shok Paris did the same thing 16 years ago. They took the best elements of Savatage, Vicious Rumors, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Dio, and created a winning combination that will go down in the metal history books as a vital part of any headbanger's metal collection.

Shok Paris released their first album, "Go For The Throat" on Auburn records in 1984. The record is a very good debut record and got the band noticed by alot of fans and record executives. The act signed to IRS Records and in 1987 released "Steel & Starlight", an absolute masterpiece that should be held in high esteem by metal fans worldwide. With the release, Shok Paris proved they were a heavy metal force in America. With masterful songs, great writing, and one superior vocalist in Vic Hix, Shok Paris created the perfect melodic metal album of 1987.

The album kicks starts with "Go Down Fighting" and a minute long guitar intro courtesy of Ken Erb and Eric Marderwald. After the into frontman Vic Hix lets out a blood freezing scream to let the listener know who's running this metal show. Pounding rhythm, twin guitar melody, and a very professional sound punctuate the track and reinforce the fact that Shok Paris means business. The title track follows in a moody Dio meets Lion escapade, with plenty of great hooks and passages perfectly tuned to fit Hix's vocal style, a style that is very much like Ronnie James Dio.

Hard rock numbers follow in "Tokyo Rose" and "Rocked Outta Love", showing an amazing ability to thread good US underground metal with blazing love potioned rock and roll tracks. "Castle Walls" is next with it's slow acoustic intro that builds into a violent crescendo of over the top guitar and a raging Hix dishing out the gloomy lyrics of a prisoner trapped behind the cold walls of a castle. The rousing, in your face "On Your Feet" rebounds nicely, showing off the great songwriting of the band. This track has a very catchy chorus and showcases the power that this great US band possessed at that place and time.

"Falling For You" is next with its Dokken styled hard rock approach again. Soaring guitars from Marderwald and Erb here again, expressing the mood to STAND UP AND SHOUT!!!!! Pure brilliance illuminates from the album's gem, "Exhibit A", which is very much in the same lyrical style of Maiden's "Hallowed Be Thy Name". This song brings out the "never give up & never say die" heart and soul of heavy metal. This is Americanized NWOBHM folks, and its damn good.

The haunting passage "Lost Queen" ends the "Steel & Starlight" story, a great track written about a ghostly figure that haunts the shore. A good dose of Floridian styled classic metal can be heard in grand fashion with this tale.

This record again is a must have. Its CLASSIC metal at its very best. If you love bands like Savatage, Judas Priest, Dio, Maiden, Vicious Rumors, Chateaux, Lion, and Crimson Glory, then Shok Paris is the band for you. The group followed up the record with the disappointing "Concrete Killers" in 1989, before disbanding.

Shok Paris had a fan following, and seemed to do well for themselves. For whatever reason, the band just never really made it big and just simply disappeared over time. Vocalist Vic Hix can be found in the new Ohio band Aftershok, which released a good record in 2002.

Regardless of the band's drawing power or endurance, one thing is for sure. "Steel & Starlight" will always be considered a classic by underground metal fans, and is still being discovered in the metal caverns to this day.

Steel And Starlight, may you shine forever...

--EC 05.01.04
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: SHOK PARIS
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REVIEWER DATE
Steel and StarlightShok Paris
1987
Eric Compton5/1/2004


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