It sure does seem as if I've been covering a ton of Canadian acts as of late. I'm not sure how that managed to happen exactly, but here we are with Ottawa 4-piece Shock. As I get updates sent to me from the fine folks over at Sleaze Roxx (just one of about a dozen sites I subscribe to) I'll point back to them for turning me onto Shock. Now, while Sleaze Roxx might have reviewed this album don't be mislead into thinking this is some sort of sleazy/hard rock outfit. Even if the album artwork might make you late eighties/early 90's hard rock or AOR this my friends is heavy power metal/thrash from a band that's been kicking up dirt since way back in 1985! Even though Shock has numerous demos to their name, all of which were released between 1985-1990, and even if they've shared the stage with the likes of Motörhead, Saxon, Anthrax, Megadeth, Sword and Metal Church in their time (pretty freaking awesome to say the least) this is the first time that Shock has released a proper album! Obviously someone somewhere just flat out screwed up big time by not inking this act back in the day because "Once Denied" is a dead serious rocker! From what I've been able to gather (again, thanks Sleaze Roxx for the info), Canada's Shock actually disbanded in 1990 before reforming some 21 years later in 2011. That makes a little more sense in regards to why/how it could have taken the band so long to issue a proper full-length release. Especially when melodic power metal/thrash like this has been back in vogue now for a long time it sure seems. Anyway, here it is 2013 and Shock's line-up features three original members in vocalist/guitarist Tony V, guitarist John Tennant and bassist Steve Monette (formerly a guitarist for Shock back in the day). Joining the three is well-traveled/veteran drummer Chad Walls ( http://www.metal-archives.com/artists/Chad_Walls/28251 ) and really, given as the bulk of this material was originally penned back in the eighties, the band Shock offer up one track after another of prime melodic power/thrash along the lines of Metallica & Megadeth. It's actually more Megadeth then Metallica (which is quite refreshing), but you can also pick up some NWOBHM in Shock's sound as well (ie: Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Grim Reaper and the like). What helps the band is two things. The first is that vocalist Tony V. has a voice that actually sounds perfectly suited to both this style of metal and, fittingly, eighties metal bands. His unique singing coupled with a rather compact metal sound makes for an album which sounds both retro and modern. The production is near perfect. It's never overstated or too "up front" making the album sound smooth and yet, perhaps, a little raw. In a way it's much like some of those classic thrash albums of old. Imagine "Once Denied" sounding like "Kill "Em All" and "Peace Sells...but Who's Buying". While those two albums clearly had eighties production jobs you can still pull them out, crank them loud, and rock out like crazy all because it fits the music! Imagine then that "Once Denied" was a classic album like that only it was just released in 2013. I'd wager a dollar or two that you could pull this one out for a friend to listen to and, if you didn't forewarn him that it was released in 2013, you might be able to persuade him or her that it was an unreleased gem from a time long past. You don't have to take my word for it though as you can hear "Once Denied" at the link below. I've said it before and I'll say it again-2013 is shaping up to be one of the best years in memory for killer traditional heavy metal and power/thrash metal albums!