Check out Damned If You Do and experience the greatness known as Metal Church!
I’ve been a fan of Metal Church since 1986. I discovered them one dreary afternoon in December when I caught the video for the song “Watch the Children Pray”. A pre-cursor to the thrash movement, their meshing of classic metal with speedy punk influences had me instantly hooked.
A couple of months later Metal Church opened for Anthrax (Among the Living Tour – June 19th 1987) and then again with King Diamond (Abigail Tour – July 24th 1987). I attended both shows. This was among my first exposures to live music and I thought David Wayne was simply astounding.
When Wayne left the band, I was flabbergasted. Metal Church had major label support, their popularity was on an uphill swing, why now?
I’ll admit, I initially didn’t like Mike Howe. His unique delivery was a-typical to the classic Metal Church sound. I owned and listened to Blessing in Disguise but in my mind, this wasn’t the band that penned “Watch the Children Pray”.
Then I caught Howe fronting the band on the Blessing in Disguise Tour (April 14th 1989) and everything changed…
Mike Howe really impressed me. He brought a different vibe to the band, a positive charge that made the group seem even more energetic. I became a Howe fanatic, catching the band live whenever I could. One of the best shows I attended was with W.A.S.P. (Headless Children Tour – August 4th 1989).
I never would have guessed that less than four years later the musical landscape would change so drastically and Howe would be out of the band.
Metal Church continued by reputation alone. Sure, there was a glimmer of hope in 1999 when Masterpeace was released but the re-union with David Wayne was short-lived and Metal Church ran the risk of being forgotten…
Then in 2016 the unimaginable happened. Mike Howe decided to get back into the music business and Metal Church released its best album in years, XI. The band had a renewed strength, the musicality and song writing once again meshed. I saw them on this tour (April 4th 2016) and even interviewed Mike Howe. I secretly hoped this wasn’t a ‘swan song’ union. A ‘one and done’ effort that would allow the band to go out on top.
I’m glad that I was wrong. Metal Church has returned with Damned If You Do, released December 7th 2018 via Rat Pak Records.
This effort is even better than the last. The vitality of this band has always been in their solid song writing skills. Whether you consider this style of metal outdated or otherwise, a good song is never limited by a specific approach or structure. This is quality metal executed with vigor. Highlight tracks for me are: “Damned if You Do”, “By the Numbers”, “Revolution Underway” and “Out of Balance”.
Mike Howe returned at the right time and the energy he wields cannot be denied. Check out Damned If You Do and experience the greatness known as Metal Church! \m/
Metal Church are:
- Kurdt Vanderhoof – Guitars
- Stet Howland – Drums
- Mike Howe – Vocals
- Rick Van Zandt – Guitars
- Steve Unger – Bass