Metal Church
A Light in the Dark


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mike Tunney USER (1 Reviews)
June 25th, 2015 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Combining their signature flare with stellar performances and killer tracks, Metal Church’s eighth studio album reminds us that there is a light...in the daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark!

Let’s be honest about one thing: Thrash metal has taken a serious beating throughout the years. Darkness descended upon the realm of thrash metal since the early 90’s, and only few (bold) attempts have succeeded to revitalize the genre and keep it relevant in today’s high-paced music scene, but with the popularity of other genres such as post-grunge, nu-metal, and hip hop, it’s seems unlikely for thrash metal to ever achieve the status it once possessed several decades ago. Do not turn your cheek, however, for many thrash veterans are still releasing excellent material to this day, and with bands like Testament, Exodus, and Overkill flooding the board, it seems unlikely the genre will descend into total obscurity anytime soon. Even the big four, though aging quickly, still fire away with decent records, but today’s review is about a little Californian band with a big attitude: Metal Church.

Back in 1980, construction of the Metal Church was underway upon the soils of San Francisco, California by a man named Kurdt Vanderhoof, driven by the idea that even heavy metal needed a place of worship. This was no ordinary church where bible scriptures were recited or where you genuflected to a crucifix (unless it was in the shape of a Gibson Explorer); this was a place where metal heads could join together in harmony to worship the metal gods each and every day. No matter who the pastor was whether it be the Rob Halford-inspired David Wayne or the gruff yet melodic Mike Howe, the Metal Church never failed to impress the metal community with their unique combination of British-inspired heavy metal and american thrash metal, and despite some renovations and facing the “Dark Ages” (A.K.A. the 90’s) with their heavy metal brethren of the time, their integrity and impact have stood the test of time, and people still go to the Metal Church for worship to this day.

Although 1999’s Masterpeace and 2004’s Weight Of The World are solid albums in their catalog, they failed to entice newcomers or recapture the raw intensity and majesty of their earlier masterpieces, but then the unexpected happened. In 2006, they released their eighth studio album A Light In The Dark, and telling from the opening title track, this was much different than its predecessors despite similar lyrical themes. Upping the ante with aggressive performances and appropriately unpolished production, Metal Church bring to the plate their most furious album since The Dark.

Right off the bat, the album grabbed my attention with a potent vocal performance by Ronny Munroe. Although retaining the clean singing present throughout Weight Of The World, he sounds more gruff and convincing this time around. The proud and commanding vocals propel the album to soaring heights and keep things interesting even in the calm instrumental sections, and whether he’s snarling in the title track, screeching in “Pill For The Kill,” or singing calmly in “Temples Of The Sea,” he always sounds confident in his abilities and delivers his finest performance to date with the band.

Although Ronny steals the show for the most part, the backing musicians cannot be ignored either. Founder Kurdt Vanderhoof and Jay Reynolds whip out impressive guitar riffs and solos throughout, especially on songs like “Disappear,” the infamous title track, and “Mirror Of Lies.” Steve Unger and Jeff Plate provide the underbelly with a solid rhythm section, belting out thick bass lines and impressive drumming. and on songs like “Beyond All Reason” and “Son Of The Son,” they’re pretty serious about it. As a whole, the musicians give Mr. Munroe a potent backbone and is easily their most group effort-oriented release since their David Wayne days.

Despite the album’s highlights, there are some flaws to take note of. As with any Metal Church vocalist, Ronny is an acquired taste to some. Not all will be allured by his high-pitched screams or over-the-top style, and the album itself is rather long, cloaking in at an hour in length. Although channeling the intensity and grace of earlier works, the album doesn’t break new ground for the band, but it’s hardly a flaw since it builds upon the successful formula of their first few albums. Despite these flaws, the album’s strengths and lack of filler easily outweigh the negatives.

It’s not everyday that a band suffered the change of tides for its respective genre and came out swinging in the end of it all, and Metal Church makes no exception with A Light In The Dark. Combining their signature flare with stellar performances and killer tracks, Metal Church’s eighth studio album reminds us that there is a light...in the daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark!

Recommended Tracks:

“Beyond All Reason”
“Disappear”
“Temples Of The Sea”
The title track


user ratings (50)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
miketunneyiscool123
June 25th 2015


2161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I finally sat down and wrote a review! I was inspired by other reviewers and applied skills I learned in college with writing. I hope it is good! I'm open to all feedback!

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2015


7681 Comments


Always awesome to see new reviews for these guys. Pos m/

Digging: Volcanic Queen - Photography Shield

miketunneyiscool123
June 25th 2015


2161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Haha thanks man. They're hella overlooked and underrated.

ChaoticVortex
June 25th 2015


34 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn, I can't believe nobody wrote a review for this Metal Church album. Great stuff man and the album is top notch as well.

miketunneyiscool123
June 25th 2015


2161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks bud! This album rules and needed a review.

piroga84
June 26th 2015


246 Comments


a very "metal" beginning to reviewing
hehe welcome
now i have to listen and get back with a rating
very goood first review


miketunneyiscool123
June 26th 2015


2161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Definitely a good album. Glad I finally sat down and wrote a review. To think I've been on this site for about a year now?

Tunaboy45
June 26th 2015


8076 Comments


solid review mate, pos

Digging: Cattle Decapitation - The Anthropocene Extinction

miketunneyiscool123
June 26th 2015


2161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks bud

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2015


2159 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Weight of the World is pretty hard to top. Never dug this one too much.



I found Masterpeace took a while to get into but has some cool stuff and Human Factor is the place to be. "Agent Green" m/

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
June 26th 2015


7681 Comments


Human Factor is pretty great yeah. Don't think I gave it enough credit in the review I wrote for it (even though it's still by far the longest review I ever wrote).

miketunneyiscool123
June 26th 2015


2161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I can't complain about any of their albums that much. Generation Nothing isn't the best but has some jams.

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
June 27th 2015


7681 Comments


Have you jammed their newest album yet? I think they released it like last week.

miketunneyiscool123
June 27th 2015


2161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

According to good ol' Wikipedia, there still making it. With Howe back, it should be pretty good.

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
June 27th 2015


7681 Comments


Ah ok. Yeah I bet it'll have some good stuff.

doctorjimmy
August 25th 2015


128 Comments


Nice effort, although I'd like to point a few things, if you want:
'...away with descent records''
I think you meant either decent or descending (which doesn't make any sense to me, though)
''As a whole, the musicians give Mr. Munroe a potent backbone and is easily their most group effort-oriented release since their David Wayne days''
and this album is the most.....days.
Also, despite using the language well, your first two paragraphs are 1)too long 2)somewhat irrelevant to the album's content. You could have, in my opinion, shorten them and make them one medium-length paragraph that gives a short summary of the band's career and origins. Your third paragraph also shares the same problem, too biographic, could've been instead the second or half of the second paragraph.
All of this results in the review not describing the album enough; you could elaborate a bit more on the songs, I know you can because the three paragraphs describing the songs are very well-written, but you gotta explain more, man ;)
Anyway, this is my ''criticism'' for this nice review, I suppose you can take it or leave it, bud. If you want me to explain myself a bit better on the points I made above, feel free to say so. Cheers ;)

Digging: Blur - The Great Escape

miketunneyiscool123
August 30th 2015


2161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks. I was always more into reviewing books than music records, but I wanted to try something different by reviewing this album. The input is helpful. 'll re-edit the errors too.



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