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Samson, one of the most promising NWOBHM bands that unfortunately were left behind along with Marseille, while Saxon, Def Leppard and Iron Maiden became the leaders of British metal (I can’t believe I included Leppard in the same line with the word “metal”!!! don’t shoot me, you know what I meant...). Probably we should admit that most of the fame Samson have now it’s because they were the previous band Bruce Dicknson sang for before joining Iron Maiden and achieve international popularity. “Shock Tactics” were their second Lp, featuring Paul Samson on guitar, Thunderstick and Chris Aylmer on bass.
In my opinion, Samson have always been more a traditional hard rock band (and never really hard) than a metal group, compared to the brutality of Venom, Raven or Angel Witch’s sound. And rock is what you will find in this album, that clearly demonstrate’s who are Samson’s biggets influences: Fleetwood Mac, Free, Montrose, Mountain,... or even a bit of Aerosmith?? (Listen to “Nice Girl”). “Earth Mother”, “Go To Hell” or “Grime Crime” are an amusing does of good bluesy rock, catchy and sometimes commercial, and to be honest the rest of the tracks are the same, like “Once Bitten” that features the coolest riff of the album, “Blood Lust” (don’t let the interesting tittle fool you) and the AOR Russ Ballard cover “Riding With The Angels” are nothing out of this world. About the last song, “Communion”, just say that still remains as one of Bruce’s finest performances ever. And of course the sound of those stuff and the production are wayyyy better and more solid than the primitive previous release “Head On”.
The band is professional and efficient in this record, although it’s clear that Paul Samson is not really technical or a virtuoso guitar god at all, and same with Thunderstick on drums. And about Bruce’s voice? I’ts simply brilliant in each song, even in a highest level than on his next record (with Iron Maiden, obviously...). So Dickinson’s talent was too great for a band like Samson? For sure, we must be honest with ourselves.
As conclusion, “Shock Tactics” is an amusing record, definitely not from the most remarkable or brilliant NWOBHM ones by that time, but their finest.