METAL CHURCH

Heavy Metal / US Power Metal / Rap 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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METAL CHURCH Discography

METAL CHURCH albums / top albums

METAL CHURCH Metal Church album cover 4.25 | 42 ratings
Metal Church
US Power Metal 1984
METAL CHURCH The Dark album cover 4.28 | 48 ratings
The Dark
US Power Metal 1986
METAL CHURCH Blessing in Disguise album cover 3.84 | 34 ratings
Blessing in Disguise
US Power Metal 1989
METAL CHURCH The Human Factor album cover 3.64 | 26 ratings
The Human Factor
Heavy Metal 1991
METAL CHURCH Hanging in the Balance album cover 3.98 | 23 ratings
Hanging in the Balance
Heavy Metal 1993
METAL CHURCH Masterpeace album cover 3.28 | 16 ratings
Masterpeace
Heavy Metal 1999
METAL CHURCH The Weight of the World album cover 3.61 | 14 ratings
The Weight of the World
Heavy Metal 2004
METAL CHURCH A Light in the Dark album cover 3.56 | 18 ratings
A Light in the Dark
Heavy Metal 2006
METAL CHURCH This Present Wasteland album cover 3.40 | 15 ratings
This Present Wasteland
Heavy Metal 2008
METAL CHURCH Generation Nothing album cover 3.73 | 11 ratings
Generation Nothing
Heavy Metal 2013
METAL CHURCH XI album cover 4.05 | 15 ratings
XI
Heavy Metal 2016
METAL CHURCH Damned If You Do album cover 4.18 | 10 ratings
Damned If You Do
Heavy Metal 2018

METAL CHURCH EPs & splits

METAL CHURCH Iron Man (With Sir Mix-a-Lot) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Iron Man (With Sir Mix-a-Lot)
Rap Metal 1989

METAL CHURCH live albums

METAL CHURCH Live album cover 4.17 | 3 ratings
Live
Heavy Metal 1998
METAL CHURCH Classic Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Classic Live
US Power Metal 2017

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

METAL CHURCH Red Skies album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Red Skies
US Power Metal 1981
METAL CHURCH Hitman album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Hitman
US Power Metal 1982
METAL CHURCH Four Hymns album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Four Hymns
US Power Metal 1982

METAL CHURCH re-issues & compilations

METAL CHURCH singles (0)

METAL CHURCH movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

METAL CHURCH Reviews

METAL CHURCH The Dark

Album · 1986 · US Power Metal
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UMUR
"The Dark" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US power/heavy metal act Metal Church. The album was released through Elektra/Asylum Records in October 1986. The 1984 eponymously titled debut album was initially released on the band´s own label Ground Zero Records before being picked up by Elektra Records for a re-release in 1985. So Metal Church were on their way towards the stars at that point (major label deal, positive responses from fans and critics, and a fairly well selling debut album under their belt). All was not well within the Metal Church camp though, and this would be their last album to feature the original lineup who recorded the debut album.

"The Dark" continues the US power/heavy metal sound of its predecessor, but the change to a major label has pushed the band in a slightly more polished direction. It´s still predominantly a hard edged heavy metal album, and tracks like "Ton of Bricks", "Start the Fire", and "Line of Death", should please most fans of US power/heavy metal. The musicianship is strong and the listener is treated to high level performances from all involved. Lead vocalist David Wayne has a strong voice and a commanding delivery, which is the icing on the cake of the already strong instrumental part of the music.

"The Dark" features a powerful and well sounding production and upon conclusion it´s a quality US power/heavy metal album and a worthy follow-up to the band´s now classic debut album. "The Dark" doesn´t quite reach the heights of the debut, and there are a couple of tracks on the album, which are slightly unremarkable, but overall it´s a both powerful and memorable release. a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

METAL CHURCH Metal Church

Album · 1984 · US Power Metal
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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.

METAL CHURCH Metal Church

Album · 1984 · US Power Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
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.

METAL CHURCH The Human Factor

Album · 1991 · Heavy Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
eattle’s Metal Church are an interesting band, hard to place. They can sound like a mixture between (fellow Seattle band) Queensryche and early Savatage at times, basically writing Thrash Metal at other times and writing big ‘80s Power Ballads at other times.

The previous album was a bit more serious and proggy. The one before that was their thrashiest of the early records and the one after this goes a bit stripped down. They cover a lot of ground, but I like all of their solid and diverse first five albums more or less equally.

Well, with one exception. Their fourth album, 1991’s The Human Factor is by far and away my favourite. This album is an absolute stand out. I don’t know what happened here, if it is the production, the song writing, or the performance, but this album just utterly smokes.

The album is consistent from beginning to end in a way that makes it hard to choose highlights. There is the ridiculously catchy hard rock single ‘Date With Poverty’ with memorable guitar hooks, there is the furious blood pumping Thrash attack of ‘The Final Word,’ ‘The Fight Song’ and ‘Flee From Reality.’ The opener ‘Human Factor’ has the same confidence of Symbol Of Salvation era Armored Saint.

Lyrically the album is really interesting too. ‘In Mourning’ is similar to Sacred Reich’s ‘Who’s To Blame?’ in the Metal-doesn’t-cause-suicide theme. ‘The Final Word’ seems to be a patriotic song about the good sides of America, ‘Date With Poverty’ is a socially aware track.

Musically, the album is utterly bombastic. The Marshall/Wells guitar team fill the album with a barrage of riffs and solos. The Erickson/Arrington rhythm section is on point. But the real star here are Mike Howe’s incredible vocals. The man has ‘some serious lungs on him’ as they say, an utter superstar vocal performance that elevates the record far above the competition. I mean as much as I have been big-ing up the album’s heavier moments, on ‘Agent Green’ (which seems to be an attempt to improve upon the popular ‘Watch The Children Play’ from the previous album) he sounds almost like Geddy Lee at times.

Overall; this album is great album in every way. It sounds great. The songs are great and the performances are particularly great. I would absolutely recommend this to any fan of Hard Rock, Metal.

METAL CHURCH Hanging in the Balance

Album · 1993 · Heavy Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
I’m sure in 1993 after Badmotorfinger, Ten and Nevermind, this may not have been the most popular album out of Seattle, but looking back at this objectively through 2020 goggles it is a damn fine follow-up to their excellent Human Factor album.

This isn’t the album that makes it into all the top-metal album lists, like their earlier work, but it is a fine addition to the discography and one not to be overlooked. It has a fantastic production, partially from Paul O’Neill who was involved in many of the best Savatage albums. Mike Howe’s powerful vocal work is simply superb (shame he would leave after this record). The lead guitar work is very entertaining, a bit bluesier than their earlier albums. The lyrics are quite interesting too, ranging from topics of racism, nuclear bombs, alcoholism, politics and change.

Stylistically; like all Metal Church albums, it sounds different from the last one, but caries something over. They really never make the same album twice. This album doesn’t have the early-Queensryche meets early-Savatage similarities of the self-titled debut, or indeed the Thrash tinges of The Dark; but what it does have is a huge upswing in the level of Rush influence. Little guitar lines here and there, vocal melodies, even a whole vibe of a song (‘Waiting For A Savior’). There’s lots and lots of Rush inspiration coming out at all angles. Its arguably the least heavy and most melodic of their pre-breakup albums. There’s a real good acoustic/electric dynamic going on a lot of the time.

That’s not to say its all Rush all the time. Tracks like ‘Conductor’ & ‘Down To The River’ are still metallic and energetic, while ‘Losers In The Game’ even goes as far as to borrow a few vocal patterns from Judas Priest’s ‘Breaking The Law.’ On the other side of the spectrum, ‘Hypnotized’ seems to be attempting a tip of the hat to Alice In Chains. Speaking of which, Jerry Cantrell provides some guest guitar work on the opening track!

If I was to make a critique of the album, I would propose that it is a tad overlong, and could do with being maybe two tracks shorter, or having a minute shaved off a few of the songs instead to tighten it up a bit, but that’s just nit-picking.

Ps. If there has ever been a case for ‘’don’t judge a book by its cover’’ then this is it. If you didn’t know about this band and saw this ridiculous album art, well, it wouldn’t inspire you just to buy it on spec, now would it? Luckily, whatever they loose in artwork taste, they make up for in musical taste.

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