Metal Church

This Present Wasteland

Written by: EW on 13/11/2008 00:19:38

The gloriously-named Metal Church have been banging away for nearly 30 (!) metal years, plying the world with metal of a resolutely Metaaaal status, for metalheads, who never gave up on err, metal. They come with the release of album no.9, "This Present Wasteland", and I bet most perusing this site have never even heard of them. I hope that my frankly excessive use of a certain word in the first sentence gives away the game here - Metal Church aren't going to sing a wimpy song about their girlfriends or write a song utilising a DJ anytime soon. Bands like Metal Church basically exist for people like me, a place to go to pray and worship for more metal, long after the majority have jumped the sometimes sinking ship some of us resolutely call 'home'.

The basic premise of Metal Church's style hasn't changed much since the mid-late 80s, as they still sit astride the fences of power, thrash and heavy metal with an identity that neither sounds modern nor as retrospectively out-of-date as many of the new, old-school thrash bands. Bearing similarities to 80s (and beyond) metal talents W.A.S.P., Heathen and Sanctuary (who's demise led to the creation of Nevermore), MC will appeal to anyone who likes metal with balls, solos, clean (and oft high-pitched) vocals and well-written 'rocking' (urgh, I detest that word) tunes. The production throughout "This Present Wasteland" is wonderfully solid; by which I mean everyone has their space in the mix and nothing can be said to be too high or low, allowing the enjoyable riffs of "Monster" and "Deeds Of A Dead Soul" to be played out to the max. One thing that is not to be doubted is vocalist Ronny Munroe's confidence in his own voice; in "Breathe Again" he bounces from side to side soaring at every conceivable opportunity akin to Matt Barlow (Iced Earth), becoming a key focal point for the listener (and no doubt, audience) to marvel at.

The "Master Of Puppets"-weened "In The Company Of Sorrow" offers another indication to the influences at work in the existence of Metal Church being the thrashiest of the 10 offerings on "This Present Wasteland", while potential album highlight "Crawling To Extinction" hones the kind of groove Pantera possessed at their peak but with the added bonus of some excellent vocal melodies. I think you'll get the picture by now - the time for bands like Metal Church was really about 20 years ago but with a steadying increase in metal noted the last couple of years, Metal Church could be in a position to reap the rewards of years of hard work with a stupefyingly solid record in "This Present Wasteland". Unlike Hammerfall and the kinds who have never offered anything new to the well-worn formula of classic heavy metal, Metal Church do it comfortably on this record with the result being an enjoyable 57 minutes of shameless Metal lifestyle on record.


Download: Crawling To Extinction, In The Company Of Sorrow, Monster
For The Fans Of: W.A.S.P., Iced Earth, Dio
Listen: Myspace
Buy: iTunes

Release date: 22.09.08
SPV Records
Provided by Target ApS

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