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SHOK PARIS Steel And Starlight – The Auburn Sessions

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Friday, July 24, 2015 @ 6:48 PM


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SHOK PARIS
Steel And Starlight – The Auburn Sessions

2015 Auburn Records




In 1987, I was 16 years old. I had just gotten my driver’s license and had the freedom to do what I wanted. This meant going to the mall, and hanging out. At the time, I didn’t have much money. No real job just yet. I used what little money I had to buy music. You had to be pretty cool for me to spend my limited funds on your album. I read Circus, RIP and Hit Parader for tips on which bands were hot, but tape trading and word of mouth were still the best ways to find out about music. Of course, there was no internet yet either.

Around that time, a landmark heavy metal album was released. I first found the album searching through the racks at the Record Bar in my local mall. I was drawn to the cover art and the band name. Let’s face it– SHOK PARIS is a cool name. It creates visions of power and a sort of European style. The cover draws you in, with the beautiful girl cradling the Eiffel tower-shaped guitar. A quick glance at the song titles: “Go Down Fighting”, “Steel & Starlight”, “Rocked Outta Love”…how could I go wrong? Yes, this album is going home with me! I knew absolutely nothing about the band, but I gave them a shot. To be honest, I bought a lot of albums that way, based on the album cover, song titles, band photo, etc. Sometimes the results were less than overwhelming. Sometimes, I was right on the money. SHOK PARIS was one of the bands that I was right to trust my instincts on. I was instantly hooked on the brilliant guitar work and catchy songs. Vic Hix’s voice was strong and unique. I loved the album and listened to it constantly. The ‘stars’ seemed to line up for SHOK PARIS for this album. Or so I thought…

Steel And Starlight was originally released by I.R.S. Records in 1987. The label was more suited to working with alternative and pop acts like R.E.M., THE GO-GOS and THE STRANGLERS than American heavy metal bands. Thus, they may have felt the urge to make changes to SHOK PARIS’ songs. Imagine working hard on your major label debut, only to find out after the album was released that numerous changes had been made to your songs; intros were removed, new parts were added. As it turns out, in 1987, I.R.S. took creative control of the album after SHOK PARIS delivered it to them. Unfortunately, this happened to a lot of bands. I can only imagine the disappointment SHOK PARIS felt when I.R.S. remixed the songs, rearranged the track order and even cut tracks altogether. Auburn Records were label partners with I.R.S. for Steel And Starlight’s original release, but I.R.S. had final say in the release.

Finally, the world has been set right 28 years later by the band and Bill Peters of Auburn Records. Steel And Starlight – The Auburn Sessions features the original Auburn mix of the album. In fact, there is nothing here that was on the original I.R.S. release. The guitars are a little more ‘in your face’. Overall, the songs have been tweaked and have more punch. The originally intended track order is here as well. Instead of opening with “Go Down Fighting”, now “Exhibit A” is the first track. (“Go Down Fighting” was originally supposed to be the last song, as it is here). The piano intro to “Exhibit A” has been restored as well. The track “The Minutemen” has been properly returned to the track listing as well. The song recounts the Battle of Bunker Hill at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. In 1987, the song was cut because Miles Copeland (head of I.R.S. Records) found the lyrics objectionable to his British ears! “Fallin’ For You” was written as a replacement for “The Minutemen” on the original release. Here, it is assigned a bonus track status at the end of the album, along with original CD-only bonus track “Streets Of Pleasure”. Also included are four very good bonus tracks; it is surprising that these didn’t end up on the follow-up album Concrete Killers in 1989.

The original cover artwork has been restored in all its glory. The CD layout is extensive and features rare photos, lyrics for all the songs, and liner notes by Mark Gromen of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles.

Even fans that have the original release need to own this CD, you will hear the songs in an entirely new light, I assure you. If you don’t know this band, especially this album, you owe it to yourself to hear it. Steel And Starlight is a true gem of ‘80s metal, a classic in every sense of the word. This new release gives it the proper status it is most certainly overdue.

5.0 Out Of 5.0

Pick up your copy of Steel And Starlight - The Auburn Sessions in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.


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