Metal Church - This Present Wasteland (SPV/Riot)

One of Heavy Metal’s most underrated bands reminds us just how good they are.

Metal Church is one of those bands that always seem to sabotage themselves whenever things are looking good with line-up changes, breakups, mediocre releases or just bad timing. Their second album, 1986’s The Dark, was a classic heavy metal release; then they changed vocalists but still managed to put out a killer album in Blessing In Disguise (1989) before more line-up changes ruined their momentum - and the 90s were not kind to them at all. Various comebacks ensued, but its fair to say it wasn’t until 2004’s The Weight Of The World that the band really got back to their best. 

With a stable line-up (at least for Metal Church! – only one drummer gone and a new guitarist for this album Rick Van Zandt - the band has managed to keep the momentum going. With This Present Wasteland they have delivered the goods once again. Led by mainstay guitarist and the only original member left, Kurdt Vanderhoof, and vocalist Ronny Munroe, the band delivers ten slabs of hard, heavy metal that show them at their best. 

From the opener The Company Of Sorrow right through to Congregation the band rarely lets up.  Munroe has been compared to Rob Halford in the past, but for me it was another unsung vocalist who immediately came to mind – that of ex-Rainbow and Alcatrazz singer Graham Bonnet, particularly on tracks like Deed Of A Dead Soul and Monster.  And Meet Your Maker wouldn’t have sounded out of place on The Dark – it’s that good.

With a solid rhythm section, Steve Unger (Bass) and Jeff Plate (Drums) to hold it down and push the pedal to the floor, this is a good old-fashioned, fast-paced mo-fo heavy metal album.  Nothing fancy, no electronics or sampling just guitars to the fore, a screamer that can actually hold a note and a pace that is relentless.  Great to see them back at their best.

Metal Church's This Present Wasteland is out now on SPV/Riot.