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Aftershok 

Burning Chrome (Auburn)

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For the uninitiated, classic metal can be best understood as a cross between Monster Garage and the Weather Channel. All albums are required to include at least one tune about thunder, lightning, and tires squealing on asphalt. Throw in a cow bell and a singer who wails like his nuts are in a vise, and you've got the blueprint for bands like Aftershok.

A quartet of old-school Cleveland headbangers, Aftershok sounds on its sophomore effort as if it were forged from the fires of U.S. Steel. Burly singer Vic Hix, who's the size of an offensive tackle, has a voice as big as his waistline. His soaring upper register is balanced by a rhythm section that trudges and rumbles like a heavy-metal hippopotamus. "Pedal to the metal/Hear my engine's scream," he bellows on "Livin' on the Redline." "Tearing down the highway/I'm a rock-and-roll machine!" The odometer has been turned over several times on said machine, but this veteran bunch still has some gas left in the tank.

More by Jason Bracelin

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