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Metal Church - XI Award winner

Metal Church
by Craig Rider at 14 June 2016, 2:45 PM

What's up Metal (Church) maniacs? I'm here once again to give you an insight on an American Heavy Metal quintet that needs no introduction: METAL CHURCH; coming to you with their 11th studio album: “XI”.

METAL CHURCH… I acquainted myself with this band simply through the hunger of pleasing my Metal knowledge. My irresistible charm to just indulge my being with some research for a top-notch, quality Heavy Metal band who are on par with the greats like -the obvious. You can rest assured that METAL CHURCH are THAT band; one that in my opinion should most definitely be more recognized. Why limit yourself to said bands when you can expand your horizons? You would be missing out a heck of a lot if you just do that. Whether you are here as a veteran fan or just a curious newcomer: welcome. You are about to read a fascinating article on why you should support METAL CHURCH - and my opinion should finalise your decision to purchase “XI”; which right off the bat; is a blistering, stunning display of endorsement for Metal as a genre. 2 discs and the return of Mike Howe should be enough to quit reading and get buying!

Although the original member David Wayne (R.I.P. 2005) left and re-joined multiple times, with Ronny Munroe alike… Mike Howe returns and he means business. His vocals remain consistent and define how Heavy Metal screaming should sound like; they are on-point and in rhythm with the instrumentals that just make this a crushing listen all-round. Kurdt Vanderhoof - the returning veteran and founding member of the original SHRAPNEL (not to be confused with the Thrash Metal band) - is simply a Metal thrashing machine. His riffs and determination to pump out some incredible and unheard of notes had me in a crippling headbang of epic proportions. He is partnered with Rick Van Zandt on his side, who also displays some originality that pummels a sound production like no other with the added powerhouse Jeff Plate on drums, who just smashes some untimely hits and makes me raise my horns with pride; and similar traits are found in bassist Steve Unger. You can imagine the scope of power the name METAL CHURCH unfolds.

Reset” opens with a most memorable sound production that had me reeling in a stomping rage of fury. Other catchy classics like “Killer Your Time”, “No Tomorrow”, “Signal Path” and so on all showcase a fantastic mountain of immeasurable techniques that just “Blow Your Mind” with every thumping blow and riff. Every song is as addicting as any of the “greats”; which, as I previously mentioned, are obvious.

Every time I listen to “XI” I can't help but enjoy myself with irresistible pleasure - along with a fist pumping salute of raised horns of enjoyment and having myself a thrashing time. The crushing anthem like “Shadow” and the absolutely pounding “Needle and Stature” showcase immense power; nothing more, nothing less. “Soul Eating Machine”, “It Waits”, and “Suffer Fools” all also end the album in pure Heavy Metal style; no compromises, no restraints.

The bonus disc I received also includes some finer material that old and new fans will appreciate; my favourite on the disc is probably the demo for “Shadow”, which alone justifies the price of the double album, and as a song, sounds A LOT more powerful than the final production - naturally. With an “Alt Mix” for “No Tomorrow” and a Radio Edit for “Signal Path”; a 2015 update for “Badlands” and 4 additional new songs: “The Coward”, “Blister Fist”, “God Hit”, and “The Enemy Mind” you can rest assured you'll get your monies worth of worshipping the METAL CHURCH masterpiece “XI”, because honestly, it really is on the ranks of pretty much perfect. As this is my first full listen to a METAL CHURCH album, I can't help but give this stunning performance that level of magnificence. I think I've said enough…now go get your mind blown, support Metal and buy “XI” because I said so.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Disc 1:
  1. Reset
  2. Killing Your Time
  3. No Tomorrow
  4. Signal Path
  5. Sky Falls In
  6. Needle And Suture
  7. Shadow
  8. Blow Your Mind
  9. Soul Eating Machine
  10. It Waits
  11. Suffer Fools
Disc 2:
  1. The Coward
  2. Blister Fist
  3. God Hit
  4. The Enemy Mind
  5. Signal Path (Radio Edit)
  6. Badlands
  7. Shadow (Demo)
  8. No Tomorrow (Alt. Mix)
Mike Howe - Vocals
Kurdt Vanderhoof - Guitar
Rick Van Zandt - Guitar
Jeff Plate - Drums
Steve Unger - Bass
Record Label: Rat Pak Records


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