METAL CHURCH
Traditional heavy metal / US Power Metal • United States

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Metal Church was an American heavy metal band from Aberdeen, Washington, USA. They were formed as Shrapnel in 1980 at the San Fransisco Bay Area by band leader guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof. Initially playing an abrasive and fast rendition of the NWOBHM sound, they released a few demos which sounded not too dissimilar to what Metallica will later popularize as thrash metal (Lars Ulrich even played several rehearsals with Metal Church before he formed Metallica, but was never a real member of the band). However, nothing came out except for a few demos (which in hindsight were groundbreaking material at the time).

Kurdt dissolved the band and moved to Washington, where he found a lineup that would record the first few Metal Church albums. Along with the move from the Bay Area, the band's sound also changed to a more melodic, power metal sound, although retaining many thrash elements. Their
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XIXI
Rat Pak Records 2016
Audio CD$8.30
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Metal ChurchMetal Church
Elektra / Wea 1990
Audio CD$5.77
$4.01 (used)
The DarkThe Dark
Elektra / Wea / Asylum 1990
Audio CD$6.32
$6.55 (used)
Blessing in DisguiseBlessing in Disguise
Elektra / Asylum 1990
Audio CD$7.79
$6.06 (used)
Light in the DarkLight in the Dark
Import
Steamhammer / SPV 2006
Audio CD$6.37
$6.41 (used)
This Present WastelandThis Present Wasteland
Import
Steamhammer / SPV 2008
Audio CD$4.89
$4.90 (used)
Weight of the WorldWeight of the World
Import
Steamhammer / SPV 2004
Audio CD$6.41
$4.00 (used)
Generation NothingGeneration Nothing
Rat Pak Records 2013
Audio CD$8.79
$9.11 (used)
Human FactorHuman Factor
Import
Ais 2012
Audio CD$22.09
MasterpeaceMasterpeace
Nuclear Blast Americ 1999
Audio CD$299.39
$28.03 (used)
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METAL CHURCH Discography

METAL CHURCH albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.28 | 25 ratings
Metal Church
US Power Metal 1984
.. Album Cover 4.34 | 37 ratings
The Dark
US Power Metal 1986
.. Album Cover 4.29 | 22 ratings
Blessing in Disguise
US Power Metal 1989
.. Album Cover 4.10 | 15 ratings
The Human Factor
Traditional heavy metal 1991
.. Album Cover 3.46 | 14 ratings
Hanging in the Balance
Traditional heavy metal 1993
.. Album Cover 3.66 | 9 ratings
Masterpeace
Traditional heavy metal 1999
.. Album Cover 3.74 | 8 ratings
The Weight of the World
Traditional heavy metal 2004
.. Album Cover 3.62 | 12 ratings
A Light in the Dark
Traditional heavy metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.80 | 9 ratings
This Present Wasteland
Traditional heavy metal 2008
.. Album Cover 3.92 | 5 ratings
Generation Nothing
Traditional heavy metal 2013
.. Album Cover 4.20 | 9 ratings
XI
Traditional heavy metal 2016

METAL CHURCH EPs & splits

METAL CHURCH live albums

.. Album Cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Live
Traditional heavy metal 1998

METAL CHURCH demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

METAL CHURCH boxset & compilations

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METAL CHURCH Reviews

METAL CHURCH XI

Album · 2016 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
Following the exit of singer Ronny Munroe in 2014 after four albums, the long but on/off running heavy/power/thrash metallers Metal Church once again found themselves without a frontman. In a move that has shades of their earlier reunion with the late David Wayne, Metal Church have been able to bring back singer Mike Howe to the band. Howe had been out of Metal Church since 1994 and previously recorded three albums with the group, the last being Hanging in the Balance (1993), which up until this point seems to also be the last Howe was heard of in the metal scene at all. XI (2016) is the ninth Metal Church album. Aside from Howe it features the same line-up as previous album, Generation Nothing (2013).

It's clear right from the opener Reset that Mike Howe has lost nothing as a vocalist in the last twenty odd years. I have to confess that the most recent Metal Church album I've heard prior to XI was A Light in the Dark (2006) so I'm unable to compare how XI stands up to either This Present Wasteland (2008) or Generation Nothing, but it seems to me that Howe's return has breathed new life into this classic band. It's not a return to the USPM of their early days but rather a traditional heavy metal record with some thrash metal influences (such as the track Needle & Suture) which I'd say is typical of later Metal Church. Most importantly it's one hell of an album. The first three tracks, Reset, Killing Your Time and No Tomorrow are all particularly excellent. Not every song packs the same punch, but there aren't any fillers either, just a classic band continuing to give it their all and be successful at it.

The only real downside as I hear it is that XI doesn't have as much of a lasting impact as it initially had me believing. It's be a real monster of an album if all the tracks were on the level as the first three, but it's lacking that something that made Metal Church's early work so special. Even so XI is still a very satisfactory release from them and with the reunion with Howe now firmly established I expect there'll be more great things to come from Metal Church.

METAL CHURCH The Human Factor

Album · 1991 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Metal Church's The Human Factor is, by no means, a bad album - it's just an uninspiring one. For the first time in their career, Metal Church seemed to lose the initiative here, releasing an album which goes through the motions without evolving or advancing their sound interestingly and without producing any really standout tracks. Mike Howe's vocal performance, with its occasional slide towards Alice Cooper territory, is interesting enough, but everyone else seems to be snoozing. It's also the first Metal Church album which has lacked a really strong opener - stand the title track up against Fake Healer from the preceding album and the deficiency of this crop of material becomes all too clear.

METAL CHURCH Blessing in Disguise

Album · 1989 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Although to my ears he doesn't quite have quite a far-reaching vocal talent as David Wayne, Mike Howe does a very credible (if somewhat Bruce Dickinson-inspired) job on lead vocals on Metal Church's Blessing In Disguise. Of course, he has the benefit of Metal Church's high-quality thrash-traditional metal mashup. Opening number Fake Healer gets things going with Metal Church's contribution to the subgenre of "80s metal songs taking the piss out of faith healers in revenge for televangelists saying mean things about metal", and it's an excellent example of that genre, whilst other highlights include The Spell Can't Be Broken, which reminds me a little of early Megadeth.

That said, there's a reason why Howe's Bruce Dickinson-like voice is particularly apt for this album, since at this stage in their career Metal Church seemed to be increasingly following the lead of other, more successful acts and conforming to the typical 80s thrash sound, the magic of the Wayne-era releases already beginning to fade.

METAL CHURCH This Present Wasteland

Album · 2008 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Metal Church's latest album is a competent effort which is broadly entertaining when it's on form but doesn't quite catch fire in the same way the band's classic albums do. At points here and there the production seems to be a little off - Jeff Plate's drums, for instance, often sound kind of lifeless - and there's points where Ronny Munroe's generic Bruce Dickinson vocals seem a little hoarse and tired. Despite these flaws, traditional heavy metal fans who are particularly keen on Metal Church won't be entirely disappointed with the material on offer, though I don't think it's going to displace the debut or The Dark in anyone's affections any time soon.

METAL CHURCH The Dark

Album · 1986 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
I kind of think of Metal Church's debut album as being traditional heavy metal with a thrash influence, whereas this tiptoes over the line to become thrash with a traditional heavy metal influence - not too dissimilar in that respect to Anthrax, if Anthrax thrashed a little harder and had Rob Halford on vocals. Of course, it's not Rob Halford this time but David Wayne, who gives the performance of a career this time around, and the rest of the band provide a performance to match. Along with the debut, it's a truly eye-opening 80s metal release and one which has shot to a five-star spot in my eyes on first hearing and hasn't faded from there with repeated listens.

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