Archive for Steel and Starlight

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Shok Paris- Steel and Starlight

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2022 by 80smetalman

The more I travel through the metal history of 1987, the more I feel the need to thank my sister Dawn for sending me samples of great bands I might have otherwise missed. Like with Warlock, four tracks from Shok Paris’s album, “Steel and Starlight” appeared on the same tape. The difference, however, is that while Doro had already achieved great things and continues to do so, when I listen to Shok Paris, my question is: Why didn’t this band go further? After all, there must be something about why I remember them so well since the cassette they are on is with the other ones in those ammo cans in my attic.

The famous ammo cans . I thought this would be a good excuse to put this picture in the post.

To be honest, I don’t think this compilation tape is in either of those cans but in another box I had tapes in but that’s not the point. The point is those four tracks on “Steel and Starlight” blew me away so much back then and finally listening to their full album, I can see why. While it wasn’t a term back in 1987, Shok Paris would be classed as melodic metal today. Were they pioneers? If they had been more successful internationally, then I would answer “yes.”

The opening two tracks were both from Dawn’s tape and both have cool intros before going into full metal. However, while I already knew those opening tracks were good, track three, “Tokyo Rose,” convinced me that this band is for real! Vic Hix’s lead vocals sometimes sound over the top but he manages to keep it within the boundaries and of course the shredding of Ken Erb is top notch. But what really sticks out for me in this song is the rhythm guitar work, fair dues to Eric Marderwald here.

Ken’s shredding comes in more with another non-tape track, “Rocked Outta Love.” Only here, Vic does put his big toe outside the boundary on this occasion, but it doesn’t detract from the song. After that, we go back to a song which was on the tape, “Castle Walls.” I don’t remember the long progressive intro being on the tape, I hope my sister didn’t cut it out because it is done very well. Ken playing a solo along with Eric on the acoustic guitar sets things up perfectly when the song goes full metal with some more great shredding. It’s also the first track where we get to appreciate the bass from Kel Berkshire.

Drummer Jan Roll checks in on “On Your Feet” with some cool drum rolls at the beginning. This is a definite straight forward metal song which is nicely done with some more drum rolls through the song. “Falling for You” is another straight ahead metal tune but it sounds like all five band members equally contribute on it. That brings me to the tracks which has stood out for me even after thirty-five years, “Exhibit A.” However, don’t ask me to explain why I like it so much. It could be the opening lyrics:

“Its four in the morning and I wait for my case

Today is the day, I got a date with the state

They’re screaming for blood, they’re sealing my fate

Don’t kiss me goodbye because it’s never too late.

Maybe it’s the fact that Vic doesn’t try so hard to be Joe Cool Metal singer and his vocals are brilliant as they are. Then again, that was the case on the previous track. Possibly, it’s because the track picks up a little more speed than the others without losing the melody or is it down to the lyrics being about a defendant on trial? In any case, I just love the song! Okay, the top notch solo from Ken helps as well.

“Lost Queen” has been added to my list of songs about prostitutes which I will write a post about much further down the line. It’s slows down a bit and it’s definitely a good melodic metal track. But if I were to call any tracks filler, though I won’t, the last two tracks aren’t quite as good as the rest. They’re still good tracks, I wouldn’t leave either one off the album. It’s just they’re not as good. Saying that, the penultimate track has been growing on me.

Track Listing:

  1. Go Down Fighting
  2. Steel and Starlight
  3. Tokyo Rose
  4. Rocked Outta Love
  5. Castle Walls
  6. On Your Feet
  7. Falling for You
  8. Exhibit A
  9. Lost Queen
  10. Hot on Your Heels
  11. Streets of Pleasure
Shok Paris

Vic Hix- vocals

Ken Erb- lead guitar

Eric Marderwald- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Kel Berkshire- bass, backing vocals

Jan Roll- drums

Shok Paris is an excellent reason why we should have had the internet in 1987. While I will forever be grateful to my sister for sending me those tapes, I think if they had more exposure, they would have gone further than they did.

Next post: The Great Kat- Worship Me or Die

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