Metal Church
Damned If You Do


4.0
excellent

Review

by PsychicChris USER (272 Reviews)
December 13th, 2018 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: *Insert By The Numbers joke here*

With vocalist Mike Howe’s return to Metal Church on 2016’s XI proving successful, it’s only logical that its follow-up Damned If You Do features similar elements. The band has always had a tried and true method of doing things, and their twelfth full-length album is no exception. Guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof sets up a darkly melodic playground for Howe’s snappy barks, and new drummer Stet Howland fits in well enough. The setup ensures smooth sailing for Damned If You Do, but one ends up wishing they’d rock the boat a bit more.

While the album features the same classic metal style as its predecessor, its songwriting is much more workmanlike in comparison. XI wasn’t the most revolutionary thing out there but its emphasis on adventurous vocal lines and song structures made it stand out in its late era comeback context. It could be argued that the more straightforward tracks are channeling the group’s thrashier past, but they’re ultimately too interchangeable to truly make an impact.

Fortunately, there are still some memorable tracks on here. I can’t help but wonder if the opening title track was a holdover from the last album’s sessions, as the vocal hums and urgent structure makes for a bold highlight. In addition, “By the Numbers” and “Out of Balance” were wise single choices due to their persistent hooks. On the flip side, “Revolution Underway” feels like a “Signal Path” repeat and the mid-tempo hard rock of “Monkey Finger” would’ve been more effective with a striking chorus to match.

Overall, Damned if You Do is a solid though unambitious addition to the Metal Church catalog. The band has never been out to make high art and the musicians aren’t necessarily phoning it in, but there’s a nondescript feeling that was common during the Ronny Munroe era. It’s a serviceable effort and there are enough great songs to ensure that fans will get what they want out of it. It just needs an extra spark to make it truly noteworthy.

Highlights:
“Damned if You Do”
“By the Numbers”
“Revolution Underway”
“Out of Balance”

Originally published at http://indymetalvault.com



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user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ebola
December 13th 2018


3477 Comments


Great review, although it reads like a 3.5 or even a 3.

Dewinged
December 13th 2018


14482 Comments


What Ebola said. I'll probably skim through this just because.

Digging: Chasms - The Mirage

Casavir
December 13th 2018


3093 Comments


Classic band but they haven't done much of anything noteworthy since Hanging in the Balance. I'll give it a shot though.

StrikeOfTheBeast
December 13th 2018


4733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Welp looks like someone beat me to reviewing Metal Church (check my old profile for reference). Review is a bit short, but it's to the point. Have a pos \m/

Digging: Cripple Bastards - Misantropo a Senso Unico

TheNotrap
December 14th 2018


9633 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The first songs are kinda meh

Digging: Opera Magna - Del amor y otros demonios

StrikeOfTheBeast
December 15th 2018


4733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@TheNotrap The album definitely gets better as it goes along imo. It ended really well too.

ChaoticVortex
December 28th 2018


736 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Metal Church really got their mojo back with Mike Howe's return. Very solid album that starts good and finished even stronger. The pacing and songwriting is much tighter compared to XI.

StrikeOfTheBeast
December 31st 2018


4733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

LIVING



LIVING BY THE NUMBERS!

TheNotrap
December 31st 2018


9633 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

huummm



Album is bad bro

StrikeOfTheBeast
December 31st 2018


4733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nah man it's good. Gets better the second half/

TheNotrap
December 31st 2018


9633 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Well if you dig it



Rock on Strike bro

StrikeOfTheBeast
December 31st 2018


4733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

\m/



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