Everything I love about metal! Looking for something new to sink my teeth into and review, I grabbed a copy of Shokker‘s recent release (April 2017) entitled III. Now I do remember Rich “The Meister” Dillon raving about this band in some of our recent music conversations but to this point I had only ever heard their name. That changed yesterday afternoon when I slipped on the headphones and got my first taste of the Chicago (Blackhawks RULE!) based Shokker.
Now as a dedicated Decibel Geek writer, it is my responsibility to now write a detailed review of what my ears just experienced and of course I will do just that but to be honest that is a bunch of wasted time that will have you staring at a bunch of words, instead of treating your ears to the best metal album I have heard this year! Hell, some of the best metal I have heard! Seriously why the hell are you still here reading? Go buy this album, turn it up loud and you can leave me a thank you in the comments below.
For those that need a little more encouragement, below is the complete detailed review of III.
The album opens with a chugging machine gun guitar riff that builds with some tasty bass fills thrown in until the the song kicks into gear at about the 40 second mark. I was already sold, banging my head and that was before I heard the soaring vocals of Rachl “Raxx” Quinn take this song to another level. Jaw firmly on the floor. I hear Priest, I hear Warlock, I hear Maiden and I also hear some early RUSH influences and I am loving it all. Lead off track “III” is a metallic feast for the senses like nothing I have heard for years.
“Hammerhead” opens with a riff reminiscent of Priest‘s “Freewheel Burnin”. Another 3 minutes of fist pumping, headbanging glory. Two for two and Shokker are just getting started with me.
“Snake Eyes”, and the rapid riffs just keep coming. Casey Tremont knows his way around the fret board and the solo here is pure face-melting fun.
“Life & Despair”, reminds me a little of Queensryche‘s “Queen of the Ryche” but (and I might catch flak for this) even BETTER!
“Adrenaline”, the crown jewel of this already amazing album. Possibly one of the best metal songs I have heard this decade. The breakdown at the chorus is melodic metal perfection “I go down like a shard of glass, kick in the teeth….” How do you spell “EARGASM”?
There you go, if this was vinyl we would be finished with side one and you could take a breath. If this was vinyl, side one would be stamped with a “Perfect Album” sticker. All killer, no filler. Alas, this is not vinyl so buckle up we have five more tracks to dish out here.
“Blessed Be”, a haunting little guitar and vocal intro that might lead you to believe that you made it to the first ballad on the album. That is until the Maiden-esque run kicks the song into overdrive. Not my favourite on the record but I wouldn’t call it a filler track either.
“Turn Around And Run”, a no-nonsense balls out rocker with a strong lyrical message about breaking free of abusive relationships. A little “Woman Power” anthem from Rachl.
“Midnight Sun”, Yet another great riff propels the song which had my head banging. Another great hook, another great song! Damn this is fun.
“Hello”, the band finally slows it down and let’s Rachl‘s vocals shine front and centre. Powerful performance for sure and one I would love to hear live sometime.
“Justified”, break is over, headbanging resumes. The album closes with another barn burning heavy metal feast. If you aren’t exhausted by this point, you havent been paying attention.
Let me recap here, out of the gate Shokker‘s first full-length album III has catapulted to quite possibly the top of my “favourites of 2017” list. The production is exceptional, the recording both crisp and clear but maintains a rawness perfect for metal. The musicianship is outstanding, the rhythm section of bassist, Jorey Guillermo and drummer, Dan Dash keep it tight and tasty leaving room for the face-melting shredding of axeman Casey Tremont and the insane vocal abilities of Rachl Quinn. This album defines everything that I love about heavy metal!
I am done, now go buy your own copy and then come back and thank me! I will wait right here \m/!