From the West Coast metal scene of the 80’s, Metal Church formed and self released their self-titled debut album in 1984. Gaining the attention of Elektra records with their metal style and screeching vocals, Metal Church soon became champions of the genre an influenced the Seattle metal scene and another emerging movement. Unlike many bands of the era that modified their sound and direction to popular culture (be it glam or later grunge) Metal Church have remained uncompromisingly Metal Church. While the lineup may have changed, founding guitarist/ composer Kurt Vanderhoof has remained a constant. Mike Howe was the vocalist from 1988 until 1995 and despite rumours of retirement, rejoined the band for their eleventh album XI and he remains at the top of his game for their twelfth release Damned If You Do. Joining them on drums for the first time is former W.A.S.P drummer Stet Howland.
We open with Damned If You Do fear not, the ‘Om/ hum’ is not indicative of what is to come. This is high octane, quality, classically heavy metal and serves as a great introduction for what is to come. The Black Things passes on the devils best regards for messing with things unknown. The bass riff is addictive and it has a strong alternative 80’s gothic vibe which was quite unexpected. By The Numbers brings us back to more familiar territory but the sinister edge remains while Revolution Underway is more aggressive, with a proggy edge (more Queensryche than Yes, fear not) and a delightful syncopated guitar solo which is in perfect harmony with the intricacies of the rhythm section which leaves you in a state of euphoria. Guillotine brings us the power thrash game and a huge grin, Rot Away continues in a similar theme and Into The Fold is somehow ‘one heavier’! The tempo slows a little for Monkey Finger which is quite probably the most obvious track on this offering, but it delivers regardless. Out Of Balance is quite marvellous and The War Electric closes this offering in style.
They may not breaking any new ground, but why should they. This is Metal Church after all.
- Damned If You Do
- The Black Things
- By The Numbers
- Revolution Underway
- Rot Away
- Into The Fold
- Monkey Finger
- Out Of Balance
- The War Electric
Damned If You Do is available now and can be purchased via Amazon
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