American metal band Metal Chuch, who formed in California in 1980, are the closest the US got to NWoBHM, in terms of both metal style and energy (proving influential to the Bay Area thrash scene).
The band have had their ups and downs, plenty of on-and-offs, and even more line-ups that Scotland Yard; the revolving door of personal has seem some leave and return (including the soul remaining founder member guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof, who became a non playing co-writer for a few years).
The complicated (and broken) history means that this, as the title suggests, is their eleventh album, but like much of the Metal Church catalogue it’s well worth the wait. Alongside guitarist Vanderhoof, the band now comprise guitarist Rick Van Zandt, bassist Steve Unger, drummer Jeff Plate, and returning vocalist Mike Howe. All bar Howe played on 2013’s ‘Generation Nothing’.
On to ‘XI’, which was recorded in 2015 at Kurdt’s Washington studio. Opening track ‘Reset’ is immediately a sledgehammer of twin guitars, hard and fast but equally tight and (fairly) polished. The vocals make for some classic solid metal. The riffs are monstrous, some of the guitar work alludes to Maiden and Priest at their heaviest and blistering. ‘Killing Your Time’ is even more blistering, the higher vocals give that Accept feeling. ‘Signal Path’ and ‘Sky Falls In’ both run to a little over seven minutes apiece, both utilising slower moments and acoustic moments, the latter a chunkier heavier number.
Quite simply a blistering album, the classic Metal Church sound with a fresh modern feel. Changes of riffs and pace make for a good listen. A complete aural sonic assault. 8.2/10
‘Killing Your Time’