Horst : 'The Weight Of The World'. Seldom a title for an album was more justified than for the new Metal Church that is on the brink of release. I mean, this band wrote metal history with their firstborn 'Metal Church' back in 1984, an album that until this day remains one of the best debut albums ever. And since that day Kurt Vanderhoof and his friends are still haunted by that legacy. No matter what they do, if it is within the confinements of Metal Church, or with a side project like Vanderhoof, it will always be compared with that one killer blow. A true handicap indeed, just read what Kurt Vanderhoof once told me during an interview: That first album…the planets must have aligned correctly at the time, it was like cosmically correct. You know, it's so hard to recreate those moments. It happens, but boy, it's a tough one. You can't really plan it. or predict it, you can kinda try and just hope for the best, and that's just what you can do. Back then we were 22 years old or whatever, full of energy kids, and try to recreate that again is like really, really tough.
Those of you who - just as I - followed the band through the years probably will now that the band, despite all good intentions, did not succeed in recreating that magic again. That does not automatically mean that they made poor albums, on the contrary! Records like 'The Dark', 'The Human Factor' and 'Blessing In Disguise' still rule big time and are releases the band still can be proud of. Alas the band also reached pretty low grounds, especially with the 1999 release 'Masterpeace' (seldom a CD title was chosen more poorly). The highly anticipated and much debated reunion of the classic line-up (including singer David Wayne) drowned into a pool of financial and personal problems, and the result was the weakest album to date that was hardly worth to carry the name Metal Church.
In fact I given up all hope concerning Metal Church, especially because Kurt did some pretty neat stuff with his project Vanderhoof (cool music in the same vain as the great rock bands from the 70's). Imagine my surprise when the news reached me that five years after the last Metal Church fuck-up a new album was in the pipeline. An album that not only would feature the old timers Kurt Vanderhoof (guitar) and Kirk Arrington (drums), but also Jay Reynolds (who gained fame with Malice in the 80's) and Ronny Munroe, once upon a time frontman with Rottweiler. Also on Steve Unger joins the fun through playing the bass.
So, on paper a decent line-up, but what can they do when it really counts? Well, I am afraid I am (again) a bit disappointed. To be honest, the songmaterial sounds too soft (no speed or thrash metal whatsoever), and it just misses the bite that was there on the first four albums, if you catch my drift. Okay, these professionals surely know how to play a tune or two, and from time toe time it does kicks ass ('Wings Of Tomorrow', 'Leaf Them Behind', 'Weight Of The World'), but I still miss the sting, the ferocity and a healthy doses of brutality. Whereas other 'old man' proved the last few years that you don't necessarily have to calm down when turning close to 40 (see Exodus, Hirax, Death Angel, Destruction, Kreator, to name but a few) Metal Church (again) kinda gives up right after the start. It is just too sweet, to neat, too clean and too soft. If this review was about a band that just had taken its first few steps into the world of metal I probably would not be so harsh, but with a band who stands so deep in the shadows of its own past, with much heavier and better albums in their back catalogue, I cannot grant them more than 70 points. With pain in my heart.