|Classic Review: Metal Church - The Dark|
Year released: 1986
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: August 22, 2001
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 4.46/5 (89.12%) (57 Votes)
Second album for Metal Church, second classic, and often subject of debates among fans as to whether it is better than their first release. The two albums are quite similar in that "The Dark" is not a big departure from the sound in the self-titled release, and therefore I can't really make my mind as to which one of the two I prefer. The album opens with "Ton Of Bricks", a very fast song with a drum-intensive intro. The drums are actually quite present on this one and it's what sets it apart from the others. Next comes "Start The Fire", this one giving more space to the guitars, a bit slower than "Ton Of Bricks", pretty much a mid-paced song. The chorus and a little guitar riff are quite noticeable on this one.
"Method To Your Madness" is more melodic mood than the previous songs, both in the music and the vocals. It's a bit faster than "Start The Fire". This is one of my favorite Metal Church songs (from any album.) Great vocal work by David Wayne on this one. It is followed by the excellent "Watch The Children Pray", I'd say it's the equivalent to the powerful "Gods of Wrath" from the first album. It starts very slowly on a ballad-type beat then gets MUCH heavier when it gets to the chorus. Very powerful and emotional song and definitely among the top 5 best Metal Church songs. "Over My Dead Body" is next, this one is one of the fastest songs on the album. Very good for headbanging. ;) The title track "The Dark" follows. I don't like this one as much as the others mostly because of the way it is sung, although musically it's as good as the rest - mostly a matter of personal preference. The song is mid to fast-paced with some very good guitar riffs.
"Psycho" is next, another very fast one that doesn't slow down much. Just bang your head against the wall and enjoy. ;) Another excellent song. "Line of Death" follows, again featuring great vocal work. This one starts off very fast and eventually slows down to a crawl when the vocals take over for a very good effect. I say again, excellent song! "Burial At Sea" follows, this one is not too bad, pretty much mid-paced pretty much giving the listener a little break between "Line Of Death" and the closing song, "Western Alliance" where all hell breaks loose. Another very fast one, with some riffs reminding me a little bit of Judas Priest. The singing here is pretty much high pitched without going into the lower notes like on the other songs. Some damn good guitar solos as well. Does it get more metal than this?
It's no wonder that people still argue as to whether this is their best album, as their aren't really any actual weak points on it, even the "weakest" songs are actually killer. Another excellent album by the band which set the bar pretty high very early in their career, resulting in every subsequent album to be compared to their first two masterpieces. Buy this or forever be a poser.
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Interview with guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof on July 13, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Video: Watch the Children Pray
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