METAL CHURCH — Metal Church — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

METAL CHURCH - Metal Church cover
4.26 | 49 ratings | 4 reviews
Buy this album from MMA partners

Album · 1984


1. Beyond the Black (6:20)
2. Metal Church (5:02)
3. Merciless Onslaught (2:56)
4. Gods of Wrath (6:41)
5. Hitman (4:35)
6. In the Blood (3:31)
7. (My Favorite) Nightmare (3:11)
8. Battalions (4:55)
9. Highway Star (4:36)

Total Time: 41:49


- Kurdt Vanderhoof / Guitar
- David Wayne / Vocals
- Craig Wells / Guitar
- Duke Erickson / Bass
- Kirk Arrington / Drums

About this release

Label: Ground Zero Records
Release Date: July 1984

First press includes a t shirt.

Tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7 by Wayne, Wells, & Vanderhoof
Track 3 by Vanderhoof
Track 5 by Wayne & Vanderhoof
Track 8 by Wells & Vanderhoof
Track 9 by Blackmore, Gillan, Lord, Glover, and Paice

Self-released in 1984. Re-issued on Elektra Records in 1985.

The original European vinyl version of this album (SPV/Steamhammer pressing) contains the bonus track "Big Guns" (03:19). This song is NOT available anywhere else. Metal Massacre V has "The Brave", not "Big Guns".

Recorded at Steve Lawson Productions, Seattle, USA.

Thanks to rushfan4, adg211288, Unitron, UMUR for the updates


More places to buy metal & METAL CHURCH music

  • CDUniverse - Specializing in the sale of domestic and imported music CDs and Imports


Specialists/collaborators reviews

"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.
The year is 1984, the place is Seattle, the producer is Terry Date and the label is Ground Zero (later reissued on Elektra at Metallica frontman James Hetfield’s insistence). Five young intrepid musicians make a unique spins on the various Heavy Metal styles of the time. Not quite the Thrashiest album, not quite the proto-prog developing with the likes of fellow Seattle band Queensryche at the time, not quite US-Power Metal either, this is one heavy metal album that defies categorisation. Compared to some of the band’s following albums, the sound is a bit primitive and direct, not their most musically accomplished or adventurous work, but all the key ingredients are in place; the speed, the power, the melody, the mood, the atmosphere. The record doesn’t outstay its welcome, but it leaves a very good impression. Sure, the production is a bit reverby and the lyrics aren’t as clever as later releases, but its full of charm and that counts for a lot. The iconic artwork completes the package perfectly. The late David Wayne isn’t my personal favourite Metal Church singer to date, but he’s got the attitude and suits the material. There are some great balls out speed metal moments, like “Hitman” and the Cold War-themed “Battalions.” There are some stompy, attitude-filled gems like “Beyond The Black” and the title-track. There’s also a brief instrumental in “Merciless Onslaught” and even a decent Deep Purple cover (“Highway Star”). Metal Church is a fine debut from a fine band. Highly recommended to anyone who likes 1980’s Heavy Metal of any variety.
siLLy puPPy
After three demos of fully developed heavy metal heaven and a different band name Shrapnel, METAL CHURCH was ready for prime time and originally released their eponymous debut album independently on the Ground Zero label when it first came out in 1984. The album sold 70,000 albums and caught the attention of Electra albums who would sign them (due to James Hetfield coaxing them to do so) and then re-release it the following year. The band had gone through a series of lineup changes during the demo years but found a somewhat stable lineup for a while at least. On this debut all the elements the band had been developing had come together in perfect form and METAL CHURCH was one of the heaviest releases of 1984 rivaling Metallica’s “Kill Em All.” Musically they fall somewhere between the NWOBHM and the more powerful thrash that was in its nascent form. The name METAL CHURCH actually came from a nickname that Vanderhoof gave to his apartment in San Francisco before they moved to Aberdeen, WA and then changed their name.

The album kicks off with the thunderous attack of “Beyond The Black” which shows a distinct strain of Judas Priest bleeding though in heavy metal guitar riffs alongside a galloping bass and energetic percussive workout. David Wayne proves he’s the right man for the job on vocal duties as he has the range of a Rob Halford and the dirty metal grit of a James Hetfield mixing and melding the two styles freely throughout the album’s run. Lead guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof took the reigns as the primary songwriter and cranked out one satisfying track after another with killer fuckin’ lead guitar that tears the roof off the house. After the shit quality of the demos, the debut album sounds excellent as every instrument shines through delivering their powerful sounds that conspire to create a very unique metal album for the early year of 1984.

Everything about this album is almost perfect with heavy hitting metal tracks churning out riff after riff with brilliant ways of changing it up inserting guitar solos and alternating between the NWOBHM and thrash metal worlds. The tracks alternate from on fire feistiness heard on “Merciless Onslaught” to the slower clean guitar introduction of the mythic “Gods Of Wrath” which quickly changes into a crusty crunchy metal powerhouse and it’s not hard to hear how METAL CHURCH would influence other US power metal acts such as Crimson Glory along with fellow Washingtonians Queensryche although MC incorporated more thrash elements than any of their successors. This debut is super heavy and extremely catchy for a metal album of this era. It’s instantly addictive and despite not having the best production job in the world adds a little dirty metal grit to the overall sound. Not a bad track on the album but it does have a couple weaker tracks towards the ends but livens up again as the final closing track which is a super energetic cover of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” picks up steam and sizzles its way to finish the album. A mandatory metal addition to any collection.
A blistering onslaught of thrash-leaning traditional heavy metal, Metal Church's debut album particularly benefits from David Wayne's vocal abilities, which show a versatility comparable to the likes of Rob Halford or King Diamond. With a sound reminiscent at points of a substantially less theatrical and more down-to-earth Mercyful Fate, the band offers up a brace of great original tracks and an incredible high-energy cover version of Deep Purple's Highway Star in a set which doesn't have a single dull track. The compositions might bleed together a little, but they certainly don't outstay their welcome or fail to live up to their potential.

Members reviews

No METAL CHURCH METAL CHURCH reviews posted by members yet.

Ratings only

  • Peacock Feather
  • Daniel Wallace
  • feagles76
  • Nightfly
  • acidtoyman
  • karolcia
  • LightningRider
  • GWLHM76
  • sploosh
  • SilentScream213
  • Psydye
  • MorniumGoatahl
  • luanpedi
  • Vim Fuego
  • Anster
  • Alex
  • aglasshouse
  • Fant0mas
  • sauromat
  • Pintos
  • cennsor
  • ultmetal
  • DippoMagoo
  • michelandrade
  • TheHeavyMetalCat
  • 666sharon666
  • adg211288
  • Bosh66
  • H-K
  • jahkhula
  • Unitron
  • Nazar_Sergijovych
  • Jan
  • jsorigar
  • Colt
  • Nergal131
  • cannon
  • bratus
  • aecht
  • vikt73
  • Double-D
  • spizzetti
  • slow man
  • Tupan

Write/edit review

You must be logged in to write or edit review


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Paranoid Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
Buy this album from our partners
Rising Heavy Metal
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Catacombs Sludge Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Beyond The Breaking Point Metalcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Perpetuated Festering Death Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Rebirth Metalcore
Buy this album from MMA partners
Точка невозврата Hardcore Punk
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Metal News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us