METAL CHURCH — Metal Church (review)

METAL CHURCH — Metal Church album cover Album · 1984 · US Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
UMUR
"Metal Church" is the eponymously titled debut full-length studio album by US power metal act Metal Church. The album was released through Ground Zero Records in July 1984. Ground Zero Records was the band´s own label and "Metal Church" is the only album ever released on the label. "Metal Church" saw a more widespread release, when Elektra Records picked it up for a 1985 reissue. Metal Church was formed in 1980 under the Shrapnel monicker but changed their name to Metal Church in 1982. The band released no less than four demos (the first was released under the Shrapnel monicker) before releasing their debut album. The band was originally located in San Francisco, California and was therefore a seminal act on the burgeoning speed/thrash metal scene in that area, but guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof moved to Washington State in 1981 and found new members for the lineup.

Stylistically the music on the album is US power/heavy metal. Some tracks are traditional heavy metal tunes while others are slightly more hard edged US power metal tracks, featuring some occasionally thrashy riffing. The musicianship is brilliant and the listener is treated to an organic and hard pounding rhythm section, hard edged heavy metal riffs and blazing guitar solos, and a strong vocal performance by lead vocalist David Wayne. While the instrumental performances are high class on all posts, it´s Wayne who elevates the music to excellence. He has as strong voice and a powerful delivery. Able to sing both raw and more melodic when that is required.

The album opens with four high quality tracks in succession. "Beyond the Black" and "Metal Church" are both hard and heavy US power metal tracks, "Merciless Onslaught" is a short and fast-paced instrumental, and "Gods of Wrath" is a power ballad type track (which is strongly influenced by Led Zeppelin). At this point in the listening process everything just reeks high class and my jaw has hit the floor a couple of times during those opening tracks. The remaining part of the album (four originals and a cover of "Highway Star" by Deep Purple) are high quality tracks too, but to my ears they don´t quite reach the brillance of the first four, so the album is frontloaded with the best tracks.

"Metal Church" features an organic, raw, and powerful sounding production, and it is one of those rare albums where almost everything just feels right. Everything fits together seamlessly, and considering that this is a debut album the quality of the musicianship, the sound production, and the songwriting are of a much higher quality than you could possibly expect from an act releasing their first album. This is a case of the demo years spend in rehearsal rooms paying off big time. The only minor issue here is the slight inconsistency in the songwriting department, but that is a minor issue, and as all tracks on the album are high quality material it doesn´t matter that much. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.
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Vim Fuego wrote:
50 days ago
Just such a good album!

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