June 29, 2006


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Metal Church, A Light in the Dark
SPV USA Records, 2006

Back in the days of tape traders, the PMRC, and Slayer getting their first shock­ed taste of major label interest, Metal Church appeared practically out of nowhere, backed by Elektra to the tune of probably not a lot. Then as now, the band’s generic semi-thrash riffing was more NWOBHM than anything else — too heavy to entice Maiden fans, too fluffy and slow for death metallers, and not in the same league as closest match Helloween.

The death of singer David Wayne in 2005 left a hole filled by Ronny Munroe, whose voice — a sober-faced clone of Nuclear Assault’s John Connelly’s — is a step down from Wayne’s Halford-isms. It takes a good 10 minutes before anything remotely hummable shows up on this album, but “Mirror of Lies” is up there with the more noteworthy hot rodders from their last couple of releases, faint praise notwithstanding. Once past its Fleetwood Mac-like sissy intro, “Disappear” elicits some Bach-worshipping double-lead work from Kurdt Vanderhoof that vastly improves upon any nu-metal bluster out there while remaining weak in comparison to modern genre-busters like In Flames or Asgard. C

— Eric Saeger

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