Shock, Once Denied
It is only fitting that for my first CD review for Amplified Edge, I review what is easily one of my favorite records in the last five years. For those not familiar with Shock, the band formed back in 1985 and was based out of Canada’s nation capital of Ottawa. In its five years of existence back in the 80s, the power metal band opened for some big name bands at the time that came through the Ottawa region including Megadeth, Anthrax and Saxon. Shock even recorded a full length record called ‘Burnin’ A Hole Through The Heavens’ in 1987 but the album never was officially released given that no record label would pick it up. Eventually frustrated with not getting signed, the band folded in 1990.
Fast forward to 2011 and Shock co-founders — lead vocalist and lead guitarist Tony Ve and guitarist John Tennant — talked about resurrecting and recording some of the old Shock tunes. The band’s long-time bassist Kevin Monette and last drummer Pete MacCormack were not interested in this new endeavour. However, Kevin Monette’s younger brother Steve Monette who had previously replaced Tennant as one of the guitarists in the band for less than a year starting back in 1989 was game to take on the bass duties. Ve then recruited drummer Chad Wallis and the genesis for Shock’s ‘Once Denied’ was formed.
Although I grew up listening to Shock’s various demos in the mid to late 1980s, the one major drawback with those demos was that the recording quality was always quite poor. I must say that I was absolutely shocked how good that Shock’s “old” songs sounded when I finally heard ‘Once Denied’ twenty something years later. With Mike Bond (and the band) handling the production duties, the sound quality of the recordings is like night and day between ‘Once Denied’ and what can be found on Shock’s 80s demos. A good portion of the songs on ‘Once Denied’ were originally going to be on the never officially released ‘Burnin’ A Hole Through The Heavens’ record but sound very different with power and explosiveness being the major trademarks of the revamped tracks.
Shock’s ‘Once Denied’ is a pot pourri of 80s style power metal hooks and melodies that screams old school from start to finish, “Full Speed Ahead” will take you back to the early and glory days of thrash metal while “Slashing To Live” is the song that should have permanently put the band on the metal map thirty years earlier. Not surprisingly, the latter was the subject of Shock’s first video which receives an animated treatment and provides an intriguing contrast with the song’s metal delivery. Other highlights include “Driven To Kill” which is sometimes akin to a machine gun like delivery and the epic “Paths Of Glory”. There is simply not one weak track on ‘Once Denied’ and two years after its release, it still ranks as one of my favorite debut albums of all-time. If you don’t believe me, check out www.shockmetal.ca where you can listen to ‘Once Denied’ for free and judge for yourself.