Review Summary: Although it failed to put Metal Church in the first league, Blessing in Disguise is one of the most impressive power/thrash records ever conceived in the 80's.
Originally formed in Seattle in the early 80's, Metal Church soon became a highly respectable metal act due to their first two classic releases. Their self-titled debut and especially The Dark
(the latter was dedicated to Cliff Burton who died nine days before its release), were both critically acclaimed and commercially successful releases within the ranks of the underground. Most unfortunately though, Metal Church's success begun to wear off soon afterwards, due to substantial internal conflicts, which resulted in constant line-up changes over the following years. The charismatic David Wayne was replaced by the former Heretic singer Mike Howe, while founding member Kurdt Vanderhoof, gave his place to John Marshall, who was previously working for Metallica as a guitar technician. However, Vanderhoof continued to contribute to the band, in terms of song writing, as seven out of the nine tracks in the band's long awaited new effort, Blessing in Disguise
, carry his musical wit as well.
With Blessing in Disguise
, Metal Church continue to follow the 80's metal formula of their previous releases, while they include some speed metal elements in their trademark songwriting. However, the overall impact of each genre is not stressed at the expense of its counterpart. This hybrid style is immediately recognizable upon the temporal evolution of the epic opening track "Fake Healer", a song with a powerful mid-tempo time signature based on an intense and original riff. The epic guitar lines and Mike Howe's top level performance help to make "Fake Healer" a memorable track, one of the best songs this band has ever released.
The well sensed balance between mid-tempo/melodic ("The Spell Can't Be Broken") and up-tempo/heavier ("It's a Secret") songs, build a solid musical identity throughout the album. The presence of smart arrangements, characterized by the swinging between soft melodic themes and heavier thrash structures, creates the perfect background for Mike Howe's remarkably versatile high range vocals to blossom. The beautiful power ballad "Anthem to the Estranged" and the catchy "Badlands" also manage to upgrade Blessing in Disguise into a new level, making this album a truly enjoyable listening experience.
Although it failed to put Metal Church in the first league, Blessing in Disguise
is one of the most impressive power/thrash records ever conceived in the 80's.
Fake Healer, Anthem to the Estranged and Badlands
Solid musical performance
Terry Date’s sound engineering
Lack of one more epic song on the second half of the album