|Classic Review: Metal Church - Metal Church|
Year released: 1985
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: August 13, 2001
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 4.66/5 (93.1%) (58 Votes)
A classic if there is one, the first Metal Church album is still acclaimed as their best. Personally I'm torn between this one and its successor, "The Dark". Still, it's easy to see why this album has received so much praise. Not one weak song. Hell even the cover art is their best along with "The Dark". Powerful classic heavy metal with killer vocals by David Wayne, this is definitely one of the best metal albums of all times.
The album kicks off with "Beyond The Black", a mid-paced heavy song with lots of tempo changes, excellent guitar work and lots of variety in the vocals showing Wayne's incredible range. "Metal Church" is next, with crunching guitars opening with a very dark sounding intro, this song is a bit slower than the opener and it's really the fast riffs that give it a unique sound for some headbanging moments. Excellent song.
"Merciless Onslaught" follows - a fast instrumental song that pretty much sounds like a train is coming right at you. The next song, "Gods Of Wrath" is one of, if not my favorite on the album. Very powerful song that starts very slowly with "calm" vocals and acoustic guitars, only to turn into a powerful metal explosion (start headbanging NOW). The song alternates between very quiet moments like at the opening and heavier, fast moments, making the listener enjoy the capabilities of both the musicians and the vocalist. At 6:42 it is also the longest song on the album. If that song doesn't get stuck in your head, hmmm... well, time to clean those ears! ;)
"Hitman" follows on quite a different note, this one being a fast-paced, in-your-face type of song, not much slowdown on this one. Good luck trying not to headbang on this one. :) "In the Blood" follows, a more mid-paced song with very catchy vocals and melodic lines. Wayne hits the high notes quite a bit on this one, and does an admirable job. "(My Favorite) Nightmare" is next, this one is a little bit thrashier than the others and also quite simpler - it gives the feeling they're just having fun on this one.
"Battalions" is another fast-paced one and has that "heavy metal anthem" feel to it. This is some more total headbanging material as the beat is quite constant and fast, and sung pretty fast too. Watch your neck! The album closes nicely on "Highway Star", yet another fast one and very catchy as well. Some of the riffs on this one have a clear Judas Priest influence. Definitely the best choice as a closer since it does give you the feeling that the album is coming to an end. Somehow they knew how to create that effect back in the 80's, compared to most of today's stuff. Update: It was recently pointed out to me that this is a Deep Purple cover - oups! (Never been into them much.) Anyway, that's what the Metal Church version sounds like! ;)
This is one of those rare albums where every song seems to be where it belongs to, where everything is into place. It's no wonder that their later albums were criticized quite a bit considering the quality of this debut. A timeless album that sounds as good today as it did back when it came out. Do I really need to add "highly recommended"?
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