4 out of 5 Stars!
Despite the seemingly revolving door of powerful lead singers who disappear unexpectedly only to suddenly reappear years later, Metal Church is probably one of the most consistent Heavy Metal bands of all time, never straying too far from its original thick, dark, and driving sound, and typically delivering the head-banging goods on every single release.
Therefore, regardless of vocalist, this California-based group has remained one of my favorite Heavy Metal powerhouses since its debut album appeared back in 1984, and the band’s eleventh studio release—titled simply XI—is pure thundering and screeching mayhem as I expected, with the band yet again (and no shock) firing on all cylinders.
Incidentally, referring back to that “revolving door” comment I made earlier, it’s vocalist Mike Howe who is once again wielding the microphone. For those unfamiliar with Howe’s work with Metal Church, he’s the band’s second singer, the one who appeared on a trio of albums—1989’s Blessing in Disguise, 1991’s The Human Factor, and 1993’s Hanging in the Balance—before apparently falling off the radar in all these intervening years.
Regardless, he’s now back and fronting one of the finest Heavy Metal acts to have ever existed. May this band continue forever, regardless of whichever singer is in the fold at any given moment in time.