Lethal Shöck are a speed/thrash metal band that sound exactly like you’d hope a band called Lethal Shöck would sound. One glance at the album art (an undead, Eddie-inspired figure shocking a skeleton with his guitar) should eliminate any preconceptions of subtlety. Although Evil Aggressor is Lethal Shöck’s debut album, the band members are all seasoned metal veterans. Their experience is plainly clear on the balanced production and excellent musicianship. The rhythm section is beefy but agile, constantly driving the pace forward with electric intensity.The riffs are supercharged slabs of metal crackling with energy, coming and going as fast as they appear. The drums zip and thunder, providing bursts of speed and blasts of punctual power as needed. Solos charge like capacitors throughout every song, unleashing in sudden bursts that must leave guitarist Steve Beaudette with a fried fretboard. As Heavy Blog’s foremost solo enthusiast, I can certify that these solos are totally rad. “Endless Midnight” has an extraordinarily well-composed and inherently melodic solo—almost a standalone piece to conclude the song. Another noteworthy solo is on “Up the Voltage”, which indulges in one of my favorite solo tropes by seeming to come to a satisfying conclusion—and then, just when the sweetness appears over, it reemerges with an unforeseen ferocity, a whole beast anew. That’s the good stuff.
The appropriately named Patrick Shock lays down some fantastic vocals. They make their lair in the super-gruff-but-somehow-not-growls territory—kind of like Lemmy if he were even more fond of smoking—that meshes perfectly with the over-the-top ridiculousness of speed/thrash. Shock has some range too—the Araya-like scream opening the title track is equal parts impressive and funny. The lyrics aren’t interesting in any sort of academic or ponderous sense, but this ain’t post-rock. There’s something primordially inspiring about lyrics like “Grab a fucking hammer and head into the hills”. That’s how you begin a speed/thrash metal song.
It’s not complicated. If you’ve got a primal urge to grab a (fucking) hammer and head into the hills, Lethal Shöck have just the album for the evil aggressor in you.