|Review: Metal Church - Masterpeace|
Label: Nuclear Blast
Year released: 1999
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: July 31, 2001
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 3.91/5 (78.26%) (23 Votes)
Here's an album that got a lot of undeserved bad press. I bought this almost two years ago and, well, like many people, I wasn't too impressed and after a few listens I just stored it with the other CDs. I recently digged it out along with my other Metal Church albums and time must have done some good since I now think Masterpeace is not bad at all. It might not be up to par with their early classics, but that's a problem many bands face when releasing new stuff.
The album kicks in with "Sleeps with Thunder", a mid to fast-paced song that reminds me a little of their early material, with a couple of great solos. "Falldown" is next and in the same vein, not as good but still a good listen. The chorus is a bit catchier although I'm not too crazy about the vocals. "Into Dust" follows. This song was the first I heard from this album since it was available on mp3.com months before release. This song is quite catchy but musically a bit more simplistic than the others. This is one of the songs where the vocals fit pretty good with the music. I'd say what's missing in this one are memorable solos. "Kiss For The Dead" is next, opening with acoustic guitars and whispered vocals, then followed by clean soft vocals. It gets heavier around the 1:20 mark to get back to a softer sound later (and so on..). This is essentially a mix of rocker and ballad. One of the best songs on the album.
"Lb. Of Cure" is quite a change in tempo as it is one of, if not the fastest song on the album - it never slows down. Very catchy as well, with a couple of good yet somewhat discreet solos. "Faster Than Life" is next. It is a little bit slower and heavier than "Lb. Of Cure" and is the type of song you can expect from Metal Church, with the mandatory memorable solos. Surprisingly, the title track is a 1:54 instrumental song. I sure wasn't expecting that - and it's nothing impressive either. The next track, "All Your Sorrows" is a fast-paced rocker, Metal Church style, although the vocals are a bit annoying at times, especially when they alternate from left and right speakers (put on your headphones for maximum annoyance.) "They Signed In Blood" is a heavy rocking ballad which is pretty good musically but the vocals in the chorus are kind of not fitting. It is quite long at over 7 minutes, but there's a lot of variation in the music during that period so it's in no way boring. The music around the 6 minute mark is quite powerful and heavy - good stuff! "Toys in the Attic" is another fast one, not bad, again pretty catchy, and with very cool solos. The album closes on "Sand Kings", a pretty heavy song with a good groove to it, a good song to headbang to.
Overall, musically this is a very good album. But somehow, the vocal work is not up to par with earlier releases and in some cases almost ruin the songs. Well maybe not ruin but they weaken some songs a little. I don't think this will become a classic like the first two (three?) albums, but there's enough good stuff in here to take it out from time to time and enjoy it. Get this, but give it time to grow on you.
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