Sunday, October 30, 2016

Metal Church - "Metal Church" (LP Review)

LP review, special Halloween edition...

On a recent business trip to Los Angeles, while working on slides in the hotel I found myself humming the opening lyrics to Metal Church's "Beyond the Black":


Negotiations are over
Troops are marching to their doom
All that I see is a nightmare
The smoke is blotting out the moon
Why?  I couldn't tell you -- I can't recall the last time I thought about this song, LP, or band.  I have a high school era tape copy somewhere (probably dubbed from Scott), but I never had this on vinyl or CD.  In the hotel room, I found a copy of the LP on Youtube and played it while I worked.

It was almost as good as I remembered it, complete with every heavy metal cliche but an umlaut.  But truth be told, I was only a moderate Metal Church fan even in high school.  And Their self-titled LP (released in 1984, and then again in 1985 on a major label) is a notable point in the evolution of the Bay Area thrash metal sound, but "Metal Church" doesn't have the staying power of "Kill 'Em All" or even "Show No Mercy" (both 1983). My recent replay of this LP pretty much matched how I remembered it from 30+ years ago: the first three songs are great, the middle three are good, and the last three are just OK.  The closing cover of "Highway Star" is especially awkward and out of place.

Standout songs: "Beyond the Black", "Metal Church", "Merciless Onslaught"

Skip 'em songs: "Highway Star"

Final score: 6/10.  Good, but mostly from nostalgia.

Bonus link: full LP.