Review Summary: Metal Church's best album. I would suggest it to any metal fan even if they aren't big thrashers.
Metal Church have always been an underrated American thrash band, this being their best album. MC have been through many lineups, Kurdt Vanderhoof being the only one still in the band to this day (even though there was a period of time where he split from the band). This was also the last album David Wayne performed on before rejoining the band in the late 90's. The lineup for this album:
David Wayne *R.I.P.- Vocals
Kurdt Vanderhoof-Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Craig Wells-Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Kirk Arrington-Drums and Percussion
The album starts off with a midpaced, upbeat thrasher that seemed to occur a lot in their 80's and 90's setlists. Ton of Bricks is one of those songs that is just great in every aspect, except for the solos which I'm not too impressed with. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate slow and simple solos, but usually when Kurdt and Craig do their leads, I'm not majorly impressed. Start the Fire is an exception; I love the solos in that song (blends real well with the vocal rhythms). I personally think that they are better riff writers, kind of like Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Kurdt and Craig show that they can write incredible riffs and licks in songs like Watch the Children Pray and Over My Dead Body, WTCP probably being their biggest song to date. Like I said, Kurdt and Craig are very accomplished players, but are much better rhythm players than lead.
David Wayne had a one of a kind voice that no could emulate. Mike Howe and Ronny Munroe did great jobs, but I think David Wayne fit MC the best. I actually think the vocals are probably one the best parts of the album. David can do just about everything from singing clean in Watch the Children Pray, to doing amazing high pitched screams throughout the album. Another thing I like about his vocals is that he makes it sound he’s actually talking to you in the song (The Dark, Psycho, etc). Unfortunately, David Wayne is no longer with us. David died May 9th, 2005 from the results of a car crash.
Ah, the one and only rhythm section. Duke and Kirk are a perfect team, like Ed Jackson and Scott Rockenfield from Queensryche. I love the simplicity; neither Duke nor Kirk are very technical. I’m a fan of Dave Lombardo, Paul Bostaph style of drumming and the Frank Bello, Steve Harris style of bass playing, but for Metal Church, simplicity fits them well. Songs like Method to Madness and The Line of Death show off their strong, tight playing.
Overall, The Dark is one of the best thrash albums to date. I’d recommend it to any metal fan, even if they aren’t big thrash fans. This album captures creepy and dark themes like in The Dark and Burial At Sea, as well as true thrashers like Ton of Bricks, Over My Dead Body, Western Alliance, Psycho, and Line of Death. It also has a great “ballad,” Watch the Children Pray, which became their first single and music video.
+PROS: Rhythm guitar playing
David Wayne’s vocals
Entire Rhythm section (Duke and Kirk)
Every song is absolutely incredible except for Western Alliance
-CONS: David Wayne’s high pitched screams may get annoying to some people
Some guitar solos aren’t real great
Even though it’s a solid song, Western Alliance seems to be the album’s definite filler