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

Metal Church – Generation Nothing (2013)

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In the spring of 2013, I heard some great news, Kurt Vanderhoof had reunited Metal Church and they were making a new album! I was stoked, dusted off the old gems and rediscovered how much I love their first five albums. But as summer came and went, and fall came lurking around the corner, no updates or news about Metal Church reached me, I kind of just forgot about it.

Several months after it’s released somebody asked what I thought about Generation Nothing, and I hadn’t heard it, so I rushed to my computer and changed that.

The opener, Bullet Proof, is powerful, fast and heavy. With a hint of 80’s Metal Church sound and style, the main riff is like right out of debut, with the proper thrash-chugg. Munroes voice and vocal delivery works great for this song.

Dead City has a great main riff, reminiscent of Down to the River from the Hanging in the Balance album. Again with great vocals and for some reason I’m really into the drums on this song, I’m pounding my airdrums to pieces when listening to this song.

The title track does nothing for me, and Jump the Gun is too long. The last minute and a half is redundant and unnecessary.  On the other hand the nine minute epic, Noises in the Wall, just flies by. This song seems to be quite inspired by justice-era Metallica, which is not a bad record to be inspired by. It’s inventive, with good melodies and riffs that carries you through the nine minutes, almost without noticing the vocals.

Suiciety has a powerful singalong chorus, but is otherwise quite bland. Hits Keep Coming has a similar problem, but boring lyrics makes this a song I’m going to skip in future.

Scream was another one of those tunes that couldn’t be made by any other band and has all the trademarks of Mr. Vanderhoofs songwriting, and sounds great. The weakest song on the album is the unimaginative closer, Media Horse.

The cover continues Metal Church’s proud tradition of boring cover art, and reminds me of Enuff Znuff for some reason.

In conclusion, Metal Church is back in their thrashier pants, and has left the flirting with European power metal behind, thankfully. The overall sound of the album is similar to Death Magnetic, especially the guitar sound. Overall I think this is a halfway record, they are on their way back, but not there yet.

Recommended downloads: Bullet Proof, Noises in the Wall, Dead City and Scream

Final Rating: 3,5/5