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Metal Church - A Light In The Dark (CD)

Metal Church
A Light In The Dark
by Grigoris Chronis at 19 June 2006, 6:58 AM

“Metal Church stands for Heavy Metal music all the way. That simple. One of the unluckiest bands in the world, these Seattle heroes did manage to gain enough success in their late80s/early 90s career; could you ink a deal with a labels like Epic or Electra back then? All these, proudly delivering pure Metal dozes of adrenaline with neckbreaking releases. The Judas Priests of Speed (nearly Thrashy) US Metal are back for another hot summer of high-octane mania and I have the belief lots of “over 30 fans already look for this release with much more than just delight.
Your name is similar to the basics of Heavy Metal music, you feature one of the most creative songwriters around (Kurdt Vanderhoof), you deserve(d) a lot more than another (then Metal) band named Metallica whom you gave a helping hand at various times and stages (find more info on your own, if you want so). You release albums for 22 years now. Main singers handling duties all these years - David Wayne (Reverend, Wayne - R.I.P.) and Mike Howe (Heretic) - kicked major ass with their thunderous “sharp vocals.
Stunning releases like 1984's same-titled LP (Ground Zero, to be reissued later via Electra with a bonus track), 1986's “The Dark (Electra), “Blessing In Disguise (1989, Electra) and “The Human Factor (1991, Epic) offered molten Metal classic tunes such as “Metal Church, “Ton Of Bricks, “Start The Fire, “Fake Healer, “Date With Poverty and “Watch The Children Pray. You work hard enough to stick to the Metal ideals, even if your entire town's - not to mention country's - Metal roster tends to follow the golden path of “let's-play-what-makes-money-now. Last but not least, you keep the hard work till today via a grand European Metal label (Steamhammer/SPV, for nine years now) and patiently work on your ideas for a notable album, groundbreaking or not. There's still honesty in the world…
With only Vanderhoof surviving from the original lineup - I could easily oppose to a similar situation, but Metal Church is Kurdt Vanderhoof all these years now; hence, no panic - “A Light In The Dark marks what I thought I'd hear, in advance. Metal Church is the US 'proof' of Judas Priest being the pioneers of this music's “model. In a more 'wild' style - meaning - guitar driven tunes, no keyboards, sharp melodies, razorblade vocals, a roaring rhythm section and - last but not least - notable ideas. For those familiar with the quintet's previous two releases, “Masterpeace (1999, Steamhammer/SPV) and “The Weight Of The World (2004, Steamhammer/SPV), this new album is more or less of the same quality. Not altering the style - Metal Church are leaders, not followers - there's variety in this one.
The good news: straightforward cuts - “Light In The Dark, “Disappear (with a great non-Church-typical guitar harmony) - meet balladisque-tempo bursting-out tunes - “Temples Of The Sea - but also banging-tempo killers like “Pill For The Kill. Vocalist Ronny Munroe looks better than two years ago, while the Vanderhoof/Reynolds duo (Reynolds comes off my beloved Malice - talkin' 'bout the Priest 'children'…) breathes fire and gasoline.
The (not that) bad news: “A Light In The Dark will hardly be noticed by juvenile Metal fans. It's a fine Metal Church album, with no tune I could describe as a “hit, while no give and take can be made regarding the band's 'first-four-albums' golden era. Sorry…
For all the 80s Metal fans, “A Light In The Dark sees Vanderhoof and Co. with something (still) to say in 2006. If you tend to buy new albums from 'old' bands you can try this one; no fear. Millions of people buy every Maiden's 'new' mediocre album, anyway - you can support someone else. Still, you have to be an all-era devotee of this band; if so, enjoy!
P.S.: The last one speaks for himself…

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Light In The Dark
More Than Your Master
Disappear
Pill For The Kill
Mirror Of Lies
Light Machine
Blinded By Life
Beyond All Reason
Under The Gun
Caught Up
No Remains
Watch The Children Pray (for David Wayne)
Lineup:
Kurdt Vanderhoof - Guitars
Kirk Arrington - Drums
Ronny Munroe - Vocals
Jay Reynolds - Guitars
Steve Unger - Bass
Record Label: Steamhammer/SPV
     


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