Released on May 20, 2016 (Auburn)
Aftershok are three guys that came together in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, presenting Detonate, their third full length album. Way back in 2006, Sleaze Roxx reviewed Aftershok’s album Burning Chrome and stated: “Musically the band is top notch. They call themselves classic metal, but they fit somewhere in that gray area that classic Riot fell into. It’s not really thrash, not really traditional metal and not really hard rock, yet it incorporates elements of each. Regardless of how you want to categorize Aftershok, I have no problems what-so-ever with what they deliver musically.”
Like my colleague who wrote the above quote, Aftershok takes me out of my comfort zone a little. I love heavy, driving beats, but since I have started writing for Sleaze Roxx, I’m more accustomed to Snakebite, Love and a .38, or Five Star Hooker these days, just to name some off the top of my head. In other words, sleaze bands that live the ’80s sound. Aftershok elicit strains of Judas Priest’s Painkiller era, or something current that Armored Saint would release. And that’s a good thing.
So what does Detonate hold for the listener, you ask? Well, the album starts out with those most undesirable of tracks… the one minute filler. Pointless. But, since I can skip that, “Enter The Dark” is a solid hard rock song with vocals and drums that reflect Priest’s ’90s era. “Hang ‘Em High” is a little Iron Maiden, with a great guitar line that keeps re-emerging throughout the verses and chorus. Yes! “The World United” and “Forever In Metal” are heavy and ugly. Neither thrash nor speed, more like classic metal.
The bass sound on “When The Shadows Fall” is really good, and drives a stomp that keeps my feet going and my head bobbing. “Friend Or Foe” is heavier with a thrash element and a driving double bass that doesn’t stop. “The Hunger” begins with a gentle 12 string and soft vocals. That’s just a tease for the mid-tempo rocker to come. The loose vocal intro to “Ready to Rock” betrays a good hard rock song. In terms of “Rise”, the groove is solid and I’m with it ’til the end. And finally, when you expect an album to close out with a ballad, I’m presented with “Cities On Fire.” This is Armored Saint through and through.
I come back to Armored Saint because the guitar work is so good and sounds great. George Mihalovich on guitar offers fantastic riffs that drive the whole album, song by song. Canadian vocalist Gord Sheffroth really captures the right sound without going overboard on screams or growls. George Borden’s drumming is solid, with maybe a bit too much double bass for the style, but uses his kit well and reflects the classic metal sound that Aftershok is looking for.
01. Prelude To Fear
02. Enter The Dark
03. Hang ‘Em High
04. The World United
05. Forever In Metal
06. When The Shadows Fall
07. Friend Or Foe
08. In The Eye Of The Storm
09. The Hunger
10. Ready To Rock
11. Under The Gun
13. Cities On Fire
George Mihalovich – all guitars
George Borden – drums
Gord Sheffroth – vocals
Reviewed by Metal Mike for Sleaze Roxx, July 2016
Aftershok‘s “Hang ‘Em High” song:
From the upcoming album “Detonate” on Auburn Records. Available May 20, 2016 in CD and Digital formats: www.aftershok.com www.auburnrecords.com www.cdbaby.com Mastered by Maor Appelbaum at Maor Appelbaum Mastering (California, USA) www.maorappelbaum.com