CD review METAL CHURCH ‘From the Vault’

A few years ago mighty Metal Church announced the return of Mike Howe as frontman of the Power Metal outfit and since then the quintet found more and more back to old strength. Two excellent studio releases have triggered very positive reactions and now it is ‘From the Vault’ that combines old and new. Three new songs have been recorded for this release but Kurdt Vanderhoof and band mates also open the archive with some material that hasn’t seen the light of day yet.

The start into ‘From the Vault’ couldn’t be much better than what ‘Dead on the Vine’ offers. The uptempo headbanger is a great opener, reminding of the ‘Hanging in the Balance’ time. Vocals, riff power and a merciless groove is what the song brings to plate the right stuff to hit the ball out of the ballpark.

‘For No Reason’ is kept in a more moderate pace, with a heavy section leading to an acoustic chorus. Along the way the song builds up to a heavy pounding Metal track, followed by ‘Conductor’. The latter is a racing song with a few exciting twists, a song we know already from the ‘Hanging in the Balance’-album. This version is newly recorded and gets even more powerful out of the speakers. Last but not least there is with ‘Above the Madness’ another new song on ‘From the Vault’. Equipped with a dark vibe it’s again the hard-hitting drum beat and the grooving bass, pushing the song to the limit with some extra layers adding to the positive expression.

The passion of band members for ’70s Rock manifests itself in three cover versions. Nazareth’s ‘Please Don’t Jesus Me’, Sugarleaf’s ‘Green Eyed Lady’ and the Ram Jam classic ‘Black Betty’ are well-done interpretations of timeless Rock songs. Classic Rock meets Metal Church. A few songs from the ‘Damned if You Do’ session, live tracks and a couple of new mixed tunes complete the tracklist of ‘From the Vault’.

The longplayer is a kind of in between release but it is certainly more than just stuff for collectors. Fans of well-crafted Heavy Metal should certainly put the album on the ‘have to listen to’-list.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Dead on the Vine
  2. For No Reason
  3. Conductor
  4. Above the Madness
  5. Mind Thief
  6. Tell Lie Vision
  7. False Flag
  8. Insta Mental
  9. 432 Hz
  10. Please Don’t Judas Me (Nazareth cover)
  11. Green Eyed Lady (Sugarleaf cover)
  12. Black Betty 9Ram Jam cover)
  13. Agent Green (Live in Japan)
  14. Anthem to the Estranged (Live in Japan)
  15. Killing Your Time (Wizard Mix (Bonus Track)
  16. Needle & Suture (Metal Mix) (Bonus Track)

Label: Rat Pak Records

Genre: Power Metal

Release Date EU: April 10th, 2020

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