|Review: Metal Church - Damned If You Do|
|Damned If You Do|
Label: Rat Pak Records
Year released: 2018
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: December 6, 2018
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
for:Damned If You Do
Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (10 Votes)
The quasi-thrash instrumental, the harsher vocal lines and the ability to write sexy riffs were always part of Metal Church's style of play, which was somewhat toned down in their 21st century comeback. With XI (2016), Kurdt Vanderhoof managed to rescue that aura and provide us with a good taste of the good old Metal Church and further solidifies this on the new album by adding more mature songwriting and slicker playing.
Howe's pipes are as ridiculous as ever and he proves it right from the start with the title track. A great beginning to the record, it flows smoothly with good energy—especially in the main riff and the chorus—and virtuous instrumental, adding a cool spice to what we are used to see with the California natives.
Even the weaker songs here have a little bit of charm, these being the mid-tempo "Revolution Underway" and the Accept-esque "Monkey Finger". While the first serves as the most "epic" track here by displaying a sense of urgency, almost melodic and melancholic, the second reminds us of the Hard/Heavy acts of the 1980s by being more cadenced and with little flair or prolific passages. These are fine, don't get me wrong, but they're just not on par with the rest of the tunes in the album.
It is "Out of Balance" that steals the show, though. It completely destroys, obliterates and puts to shame every other song released by Metal Church since, I don't know, Hanging in the Balance (1993). It has so much firepower, it's so badass that even the shitty production is not enough to diminish its superiority. It's a steamroller with ace guitar work and one of the best moments of Howe's legacy since his return.
The production and mixing could be better, as the sound is often muffled and only Howe's vocals stand out, leaving all instruments in the background, consequently hurting the final product. The overall sound is so good, though, that the bad production itself is put in the background, so this is nothing to fret about.
Damned If You Do has an old-school vibe that reminds us of the same Metal Church we heard in the early '90s and even some glimpses of the '80s. It stands somewhere between classic albums like Hanging in the Balance and Blessing in Disguise (1989) and their modern works like XI and A Light in the Dark (2006). With Vanderhoof and Howe at their finest and the other members equally doing a great job, it's clear that this church will prosper with competent preaching for a long time to come, all ye faithful, as it is Sunday morning in the Metal world.
|Other related information on the site|
|Review: A Light in the Dark (reviewed by Michel Renaud)|
Review: Blessing in Disguise (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Hanging in the Balance (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Masterpeace (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Metal Church (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Dark (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Weight of the World (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: This Present Wasteland (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: XI (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Interview with guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof on July 13, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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