Metal Church
Metal Church


4.5
superb

Review

by Nash J. CONTRIBUTOR (41 Reviews)
July 28th, 2013 | 25 replies


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist


Metal Church are one of the more unappreciated thrash metal bands of the 1980s. It isn't difficult to see why they are all but forgotten now. The constant changing of vocalists, the mid 1990s breakup, and the random directorial changes the band embarked on during the 90s have plagued Metal Church's legacy as a pioneer of thrash metal. Despite all of this, their eponymous debut album is nothing short of a classic.

Metal Church is a unique offering among early thrash releases. First, there is the superb musicianship of the guitarists, Kurdt Vanderhoof and Craig Wells. The guitar solos are fantastic, ranging from insane shredding to atmospheric and melodic. Some very catchy riffs are delivered as well, particularly in the first half of the album. David Wayne is a marvelous vocalist, and his high pitched, power metal-esque vocal style suits the songs perfectly. The bass is almost always audible, but does little to change the overall sound of the band. The drumming, however, is a real treat. Kirk Arrington provides a solid backbone to each song and even delivers some impressive drum solos, such as the intro of Merciless Onslaught. Metal Church truly sound like a band when they play; as the drums, vocals, and guitar all add something unique to the band's overall sound.

The album kicks off with the defining Metal Church song: Beyond the Black. The song begins immediately with heavily distorted vocals over clean, melodic guitar playing. Once that ends, the song bursts into a guitar solo, followed its extremely catchy riff. Its disturbing lyrics deal with the aftermath of atomic warfare, which fit well with the song's mood. Beyond the Black has a dark, disturbing feel to it that only builds until the chaotic ending. Here, the drumming goes beyond being limited to just the background of the song. The intensity of the drumming suits the song perfectly, as it gives Beyond the Black a certain military feeling. Everything about the song works in its favor; it is as perfect as a thrash metal song can get.

The next song, Metal Church, is just as effective as its predecessor, albeit less dark and foreboding. The intro to the title track is one of the album's many highlights. It starts with ambience and military drumming, which builds and builds until the guitars come screeching in. Wayne bursts out with an evil laugh, and the riff kicks in. The riff is powerful and arguably the best of Metal Church's career. The guitars complement the vocals extraordinarily well, while the drums give the song a solid foundation. The guitar solos throughout the song, while perhaps not as intricate as Gods of Wrath or Beyond the Black, are still interesting to an extent and add to the song's atmosphere. The title track ends with Wayne proudly proclaiming the band's name: "The metal...CHUUUUUURCH!"

Merciless Onslaught is exactly what it says it is: a merciless onslaught of thrash. The song is pure insanity, with chaotic drumming, shredding guitar solo tradeoffs, and a riff that is simply all over the place. At 2:56, it is the album's shortest song. It is still a fun, energetic song though, and a fitting intro into the next track.

The following song is one of the Metal Church's most memorable. Gods of Wrath is similar in style to Metallica's One. The slow, melodic guitar intro sets the tone for the rest of the song. The clean vocals combined with minimalist guitar playing are extremely impressive at the beginning. As the song goes on, Wayne's vocals become high-pitched once more and the guitars begin shredding again. Unfortunately, the song suffers from its long length, as it reaches a certain point where it becomes rather repetitive. Luckily, the instrumental sections make it seem less lengthy than it really is.

Hitman (or HItman, according to Spotify) is another catchy, energetic track. It begins slowly, but doesn't take too long to explode into its riff. The lyrics concern a hitman advertising himself as if he is on a made-for-television commercial. With power-metal screams, lightning-fast guitar solos, and an insufferably catchy chorus, Hitman is one of the most energetic songs on the album.

At this point, Metal Churchunfortunately begins to descend into mediocrity. While In the Blood and (My Favorite) Nightmare are not poor songs by any means, they pale in comparison to the preceding tracks. In the Blood is rather unmemorable; with lackluster vocals, straightforward drumming, and uninspired guitar solos. (My Favorite) Nightmare, despite a very clever intro and a catchy bassline, is uninteresting. Wayne's vocals on the song sound slightly weak and bland for the first time on the album. Although in some ways these tracks bring the album's ever-building momentum to a screeching halt, the following track, Battalions, is luckily able to regain most of the momentum back.

Battalions is just as good as the first half of the album. The drums are in full-swing audio assault mode and the guitar solos are incredibly energetic. Even the bass has its glorious moments! However, the real highlight of the song are the vocals. Wayne sings his heart out with his voice going surprisingly deep. He still utilizes his power vocals, of course, but his lower register is what steals the song. The chorus is the best on the entire album: "The time is now, we must avenge. We form to fight, we kill tonight! We must rest to regain our strength. We form to fight, we kill tonight!" Battalions is another perfect Metal Church song, as well as being one of the most underrated due to its awkward position on the album (sandwiched between two the worst two tracks on the album).

The closer is a cover of the Deep Purple song, Highway Star. To say the least, it is the most lackluster song on the album. Although it is certainly not a bad cover, and it certainly doesn't lose the catchiness of the original, it does admittedly sound a bit rushed. Wayne's vocals simply don't suit the song well, as he tends to drag out certain words and, as a result, stumble over the next few. Honestly, it is a strange inclusion, as the album would have been far more effective had it ended with Battalions.

It's not a crime if you have never heard of Metal Church. However, if you enjoy heavy metal or especially 80s thrash, consider yourself a goddamn felon if you've never jammed their classic, self-titled debut. This album has everything going for it; it is a tremendous release from a band who is truly passionate about metal. The only thing holding Metal Church back from a perfect release are a few lackluster tracks, which still manage to have unforgettable riffs and display the classic Metal Church lineup at full-force. Say what you want about Metal Church's later career...but as far as I'm concerned, their debut LP is untouchable.

Recommended Tracks:

Beyond the Black
Gods of Wrath
Battalions
Metal Church



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
July 27th 2013


6979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I love this band. This is my first review of Metal Church, I plan to review their whole discography

at some point.

feargm
July 27th 2013


361 Comments


Nice review, pos'd.

facupm
July 27th 2013


9567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, but the summary doesnt make sensse at all

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
July 27th 2013


6979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

You're right facupm, thanks for catching that. I accidently put my original summary together with my

edited summary, so the summary cuts off.

manosg
Contributing Reviewer
July 28th 2013


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think I should bump my rating for this one.



Good review, pos.

Digging: Deaf Dealer - Journey into Fear

KILL
July 28th 2013


73747 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

gj

miketunneyiscool123
June 20th 2014


853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAM

KILL
June 20th 2014


73747 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude was just jammin badlands earlier too

miketunneyiscool123
June 20th 2014


853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What a masterpiece. Have you checked out HANGING IN THE BALANCE from them?

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
June 20th 2014


6979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Damn miketunnyiscool you must really like my reviews, no one's bumped this one in about a year.

miketunneyiscool123
June 21st 2014


853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well yeah bro. I may start writing reviews eventually, but until then, I read other people's reviews. If anything, it's beneficial studying the different perspectives of writing.

miketunneyiscool123
July 16th 2014


853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

m/ START THE FIRE m/



BRING DOWN THE HAMMMA!

facupm
July 16th 2014


9567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

BEYOOOOND THE BLAAAAAAAAAAACK

Hovse
July 24th 2014


1204 Comments


R.I.P Pissbore we used to bump this album together : (
what an album we have here!

miketunneyiscool123
August 5th 2014


853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

METAL CHURCH THREADS ARE TOO SMALL! SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THEEEEEE MEEEETAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL



CHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURCH!!!!!!!!!!

Vakarian12
August 19th 2014


3998 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

NEGOTIATIONS ARE OVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER

oltnabrick
August 24th 2014


33005 Comments


sck tbt dudr

Digging: Sicko Mobb - Mulah

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
August 24th 2014


6979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

best review I ever wrote agreed

facupm
August 24th 2014


9567 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Beyoond the blaaaaaaaaaaaack

SpiritCrusher2
October 11th 2014


3749 Comments


m/



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