Metal Church – XI (Nuclear Blast 2016)

Metal Churches last effort, Generation Nothing, was a clear mark that Kurdt and his boys was taking the path back to their thrashier roots, and I’m pleased to hear that they continued down that road. This time around the guitar the riffs are more aggressive and the guitar has more of a sharp, precise tone. The return of singer Mike Howe seems to have been a real inspiration, and I’m glad he’s back. Munroe might have been a good singer and front man, but he did front all of the band weakest outputs and was part of what I refer to as the “Helloween-years” of Metal Church (Weight of the World, A Light in the Dark, This Present Wasteland).

In a perfect world, this would have been the follow up to Hanging in the Balance. The sound and feel of the music is quite similar to that masterpiece of metal music. Particularly the second track, Killing Your Time, could’ve easily been a track of that record. A few of the songs have that special Metal Church sound and riff that’s easy to identify, No Tomorrow, Soul Eating Machine, Suffer Fools and Killing Your Time are all excellent in this way. They all have strong riffs, great lead work, catchy vocal melodies and, most importantly, they have edge and attitude, which is something Metal Church have been missing for the better part of 25 years.

My personal favorite of the album is Needle & Suture, fast paced, simple structure, pounding rhythm and brilliant guitarwork. It Waits is also a great tune; the atmosphere is just so creepy. The song creeps along in doomlike tempo, with Howe whispering nasty unpleasentries, before it explodes into a nice rock n roll riff after about 3 minutes, which includes a great solo. Unfortunately they fade it out, in stead of writing a proper ending to song, which is a thing I kind of hate.

In short, best Metal Church album since Hanging in the Balance. Everything Metal Church did well in the 80s and early 90s is present on this record. The sound is good, and the cover art continues the bands legacy of boring album art. Everything is as it should be, in other words.

Rating: 4/5

 

Recommended songs: Needle & Suture, No Tomorrow, It Waits, Suffer Fools, Soul Eating Machine, Killing Your Time

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