Released in April 2017 (Shokker)
The New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal — another seemingly “new” term that is surfacing as ’80s hard rock and heavy metal continues its renaissance. Shokker may well be the prototype band to carry the flag of The New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal as their debut full-length album is simply fantastic straight up classic heavy metal with a powerhouse female singer.
As I started listening to Shokker‘s debut full-length album III, all I could think was potential, potential, potential. It’s also what I was thinking when I first heard Shokker‘s self-titled EP about one and a half years ago except that at that time, I did not think that Shokker had truly tapped into and harnessed their potential. There were some kinks to fix including reigning in guitar virtuoso Casey Tremont, who perhaps if left to his own devices would have delivered an over the top guitar shred fest like superbly gifted guitar maestro Vinnie Vincent did on Vinnie Vincent Invasion‘s self-titled debut album. The good news is that this time, Shokker have lived up to and harnessed their potential as Tremont (or perhaps the rest of the band) has pulled the brakes on his guitar shredding to give us tasty snippets at the appropriate times on III rather than killer shredding firing occasionally at the wrong times like on the band’s debut self-titled EP.
Shokker‘s new album starts off a little weird with some modern-ish guitar on the title track but quickly shifts into a classic heavy metal barrage highlighted by female lead vocalist Rachl “Raxx” Quinn‘s singing. What a voice! If you had to name your top five all-time female vocalists and you had heard Shokker‘s entire III album, you’d be hard pressed not to include Quinn among your top five, if not the top spot. The rhythm section is rock solid on Shokker‘s III with bassist Jorey Guillermo and newcomer / drummer Dan Dash setting the stage for Tremont and Quinn to shine. “Hammerhead” is built on a solid guitar riff and once again, Quinn‘s vocals simply take over as it feels that she’s telling you some medieval story (or whatever the song is about) while wailing away. “Snake Eyes” and “Life & Despair” are more of the same with the latter having a little bit more melody than the other more straight forward rockers.
Interestingly, Shokker have included all three tracks from their debut self-titled EP on III. I haven’t revisited the band’s debut EP to compare the original versions of those songs to the ones on III but it seems that the excess guitar shredding which plagued the EP’s version of “Adrenaline” has been eliminated or at least better incorporated into the song on III. Back when I had reviewed Shokker‘s self-titled EP almost two years ago, I had suggested that it would be interesting to hear Quinn sing a heavy metal type ballad given her great voice. Quinn really delivers on “Hello” which is the perfect showcase for her powerful voice. Unfortunately, the song itself isn’t that great and would have been better shortened and as the lead up to one of the faster type tracks on the album. Overall, every song on III is a solid one (except “Hello” which as previously mentioned is a nice showcase for Quinn‘s voice but that’s about it).
As good as Shokker‘s III album is, I think that Shokker can do even better and reach even loftier heights in the future because the potential is there with Quinn’s powerhouse singing and Tremont‘s superior guitar skills. Only time will tell but for now, I will just enjoy what I consider to be one very solid slab of traditional heavy metal music. Given the amount of stellar releases already in 2017 — and we’re not even half way into the year — I am hesitant to proclaim that Shokker‘s III will make it into the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2017 but it will definitely get due consideration in that regard. If you like straight up heavy metal with soaring female vocals, Shokker‘s debut full-length album should be part of your record collection. III does not seem readily available at the usual outlets so if you’re interested in purchasing it, send an e-mail to the band at firstname.lastname@example.org.
03. Snake Eyes
04. Life & Despair
06. Blessed Be
07. Turn Around And Run
08. Midnight Sun
Rachl “Raxx” Quinn – lead vocals
Casey Tremont – guitar, vocals
Jorey Guillermo – bass, vocals
Dan Dash – drums, vocals
Produced by Shokker
Engineered by Dave Martorana
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, June 2017
Shokker‘s “Midnight Sun” unofficial video:
SHOKKER -“Midnight Sun” Hard Rock / Metal from Chicago, IL.
Shokker‘s “Adrenaline” unofficial video: