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Metal Church: A Classic Revisited

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Don’t you love it when you hear a band for the first time and the music just blows you away?  That was my first experience with the American semi-thrash band Metal Church.

 I can narrow the experience further.  The album was their fifth, 1993’s Hanging in the Balance, and the song that tipped the scales for me was “Losers in the Game.”  It’s a great, great metal song.  However, although it’s the best on the album, it has competition: there isn’t a weak track on Hanging in the Balance, and “Gods of Second Chance” and “Conductor” are also great songs.

More About Metal Church

This band has been putting out records for thirty years, although, as is so often the case with long-lived bands, its personnel has fluctuated – a LOT.  However, guitarist and songwriter Kurt Vanderhoof has been with the group since the beginning, and the various incarnations have been blessed with talented musicians and excellent singers. 

And “Semi-Thrash”?

Well, Metal Church, the debut album, came out in 1985 – yes, just two years after Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All.  And there are similarities, though I don’t believe that Metal Church was influenced by Metallica in any significant way; that was just the sound of metal at the time.  In any case, despite the turn-on-a-dime tightness of the band, by the time of Hanging in the Balance the music was pretty much straight classic metal.

Still Kicking

If you’re at all inclined towards metal and don’t know this band, check out “Losers in the Game” and see if you don’t agree.  This is one of the great, if lesser-known, American metal bands.  (And they’re still kicking: see our “Now” section for my review of the brand-new album, Generation Nowhere.)


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