Year : 2018 (Japan Limited Edition)
Style : Heavy Metal , Power Metal , Hard Rock
Country : USA
Audio : 320 kbps + all scans + Video
Size : 167 mb
Born out of the West Coast Metal scene of the 80's, Metal Church quickly became one of the standout talents of the genre. After signing a deal with Elektra records, they released two critically acclaimed albums. Their self-titled release "Metal Church" postured the band as one of the pioneers of the thrash/metal scene. The All Music Guide had this to say about the debut: "The band's incredibly tight musicianship is a highlight all on it's own. This album remains an overlooked classic of straight-ahead American-bred heavy metal." With the heavy metal scene starting to rise in the U.S., Metal Church set out on a very successful tour with label mates Metallica.Next came "The Dark," the fury of its opening track, "Ton of Bricks" was championed as one of the premier metal releases of the 80's. The Dark also led to one of a few lineup changes with the departure of vocalist David Wayne. However, more success was yet to come. With the addition of former Heretic vocalist Mike Howe, and Metallica guitar tech extraordinaire John Marshall, the riffing became heavier and the subject matter deeper. They tackled political and social issues of the day with the releases of "Blessing In Disguise" and "The Human Factor." At a time when heavy metal bands moved from the underground and became part of the hair band/pop fad, Metal Church stayed true to their roots.During the mid 90's, the members of Metal Church headed in their own directions. Kurdt Vanderhoof worked on his namesake project, Vanderhoof, while Kirk Arrington was playing on various sessions including a recording with Sir Mix-A-Lot. 1999 led to a well-received reunion of the original Metal Church lineup with the release of "Masterpeace". The band went back to their classic sound and played several festivals overseas.2004 saw them back with new vocalist, Ronny Munroe, whose style has been described as "Rob Halford meets Dio", as well as Jay Reynolds (Malice) on guitar and Steve Unger on bass. With a new record "The Weight of the World" and some new blood, heavy metal legends Metal Church picked up where their aptly titled last release "Masterpeace" left off.In 2006, twenty years after their cult album "The Dark", Metal Church presented their brand new release, "A Light In The Dark", forging a creative arch that skillfully links the band's past with the present. Ten new tracks, (plus a new version of the classic "Watch The Children Pray", a tribute to original frontman David Wayne), document the development of a band that, despite all innovation, has never denied it's typical trademarks. The current lineup consists of Kurdt Vanderhoof, Ronny Munroe, Jay Reynolds, Steve Unger and new addition Jeff Plate on drums. "Jeff is an incredibly dynamic and professional drummer," Vanderhoof points out. "He has propelled us to a musical level that surprised even ourselves." Plate has replaced Kirk Arrington, who left the group for health reasons, and proves a real stroke of luck on "A Light In The Dark".In 2008, guitarist Jay Reynolds was replaced by Rottweiler guitar player Rick Van Zandt. This Present Wasteland, Metal Church's ninth release, is a return to their roots and contains some of their strongest material to date.In October 2012, the band announced resumption of activity around a lineup featuring Vanderhoof, Munroe, Unger, Reynolds (soon replaced by Van Zandt), and Plate. Their first performances came the following January during the 70,000 Tons of Metal event, a heavy metal cruise. During one of these two shows, the band played their debut album, Metal Church, in its entirety.Shortly thereafter, Vanderhoof told Music Life Radio that Metal Church has been working on a new album. In order to promote their new album, the band will be playing festivals in the summer of 2013.
Metal Church will release their 12th full-length studio album, "Damned If You Do", via Nuclear Blast Records. The latest release is the follow-up to their highly successful 2016 album "XI", which saw the return of legendary frontman Mike Howe. "Damned If You Do" is a cross between the band's iconic "Blessing In Disguise" and "The Human Factor". This new offering features ten fully-charged, classic metal influenced songs that showcase the sound that has garnered the band a solid fan base for over 3 decades.Metal Church is one of the most revered and classic heavy metal acts of the 1980’s, when they put out arguably some of the best traditional metal albums to date, the homonym juggernaut in 1984 and the orgasmic follow-up ‘The Dark’ (1986), all under the undeniably marvelous vocals of David Wayne (R.I.P.). Closing service for a while, the preachers came back in 2012 to release the so-so ‘Generation Nothing’ (2013), but it is with Father Mike Howe back on the helm for the second time since he left in the middle of the 1990’s that they celebrate their mass number 12, ‘Damned If You Do’.The quasi-thrash instrumental, the harsher vocal lines and the ability to write sexy riffs were always part of the band’s style of play, which was somewhat toned down in their 21st century comeback. With ‘XI’ (2016), Kurdt Vanderhoof managed to rescue that aura and provide us with a good taste of the good old Metal Church and further solidifies this in the new album by adding more mature songwriting and slicker playing.Howe’s pipes are as ridiculous as ever and he proves it right from the start with the title track. A great beginning to the record, it flows smoothly with good energy – especially in the main riff and the chorus – and virtuous instrumental, adding a cool spice to what we are used to see with the California natives.Follow-ups “The Black Things” and “By the Numbers” continue with the solid rhythm, this time around with a somewhat evil aura that is uncommon for the band. The constant riffing by Vanderhoof and Rick van Zandt and Howe’s aggressive vocals are what make these special, even when Stet Howland’s drums feel muffled at times and the bass lines by Steve Unger are almost inexistent, courtesy of bad production work. The riff machine never stops, though, and both tracks are masterfully constructed to be blood-pumping, full of attitude anthems.Even the weaker songs here have a little bit of charm, these being the mid-tempo “Revolution Underway” and the Accept-esque “Monkey Finger”. While the first serves as the most “epic” track here by displaying a sense of urgency, almost melodic and melancholic, the second reminds us of the hard/heavy acts of the 1980’s by being more cadenced and with little flair or prolific passages. These are fine, don’t get me wrong, but they’re just not on par with the rest of the tunes in the album.The smooth flow and the thrashy vibe continue in the mid portion with energetic moments like “Guillotine” and “Rot Away”. Galloping riffs are the weapon of choice for the former, which then changes pace in the second verse slowly building again, while the latter is just some straight up, no frills heavy metal tune that strikes like a punch in the liver; two selected moments that are likely to make you grab that leather jacket you keep stored in the closet in case some kick ass music comes around and you want to pump it up to the max volume to blow your stupid neighbor’s ears off.“Into the Fold” is also a winner and, similarly to “The Black Things”, shows a darker side of Metal Church. It’s one of the most powerful and savage tracks in the album when it doesn’t suffer from muffled sound, a problem which plagues the entire effort. “The War Electric”, a good but ultimately forgettable track, closes the album. It would fare better if not for the song that it follows, which is one of the best Metal Church tracks, period.“Out of Balance” destroys, obliterates and completely puts to shame every other song released by Metal Church since, I don’t know, ‘Hanging in the Balance’ (1993). It has so much firepower, it’s so badass that even the shitty production is not enough to diminish its superiority. It’s a steamroller with ace guitar work and one of the best moments of Howe’s legacy since his return.The production and mixing could be better, as the sound often times is muffled and only Howe’s vocals stand out, leaving all instruments in the background, consequently hurting the final product. The overall sound is so good, though, that the bad production itself is put in the background, so this is nothing to be fret about.‘Damned If You Do’ has an old-school vibe that reminds us of the same Metal Church we heard in the early 90’s and even some glimpses of the 80’s. It stands somewhere between classic albums like ‘Hanging in the Balance’ and ‘Blessing in Disguise’ (1989) and their modern works like ‘XI’ and ‘A Light in the Dark’ (2006). With Vanderhoof and Howe at their finest and the other members equally doing a great job, it’s clear that this church will prosper with competent preaching for a long time; o come, all ye faithful, as it is Sunday morning in the metal world.
Kurdt Vanderhoof - Guitars (1982-1987, 1998-2009, 2012-present) - See also: Presto Ballet, ex-Vanderhoof, ex-Hall Aflame, ex-The Lewd
Mike Howe - Vocals (1988-1994, 2015-present) - See also: ex-Heretic, ex-Snair
Steve Unger - Bass (2004-2009, 2012-present) - See also: Where Angels Suffer, ex-Chris Caffery, ex-Temple of Brutality (live)
Rick van Zandt - Guitars (2008-2009, 2012-present) - See also: ex-Rottweiller
Stet Howland - drums
CD1: Damned If You Do
01. Damned If You Do
02. The Black Things
03. By The Numbers
04. Revolution Underway
06. Rot Away
07. Into The Fold
08. Monkey Finger
09. Out Of Balance
10. The War Electric
CD2: Classic Live
01. Beyond The Black (Live' 2016)
02. Date With Poverty (Live' 2016)
03. Gods Of A Second Chance (Live' 2016)
04. In Mourning (Live' 2016)
05. Watch The Children Pray (Live' 2016)
06. Start The Fire (Live' 2016)
07. No Friend Of Mine (Live' 2016)
08. Badlands (Live' 2016)
09. Human Factor (Live' 2016)
10. Fake Healer (Duet with Todd La Torre' Studio vers.)
11. Badlands (2015' Studio vers.)
+ Video "By The Numbers" (Official Video)
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