Hair Metal Mansion

Hair Metal Mansion correspondent 'The Music God' CJ Plain checks in with the following:

(Rat Pak Records)

There are a select few bands that rank so high on my list, I know I have to have their music regardless of who the current members may be. The band Metal Church is one of those artists. When it was announced that singer Mike Howe had rejoined the band after the departure of Ronnie Munroe, I almost shed a tear of happiness. Mike was always my favorite of the vocalists that has been employed by the band. I still consider their record, "The Human Factor", to be the standard by which I judge a lot of thrash music.

So, how does this new record stack up against the classic material? Damn Fine, if you ask me! The record opens with the massive "Reset", which just whips your ass from the opening moment. It's a thunderous, screw you we're BACK! style song. They continue the assault with track 2 being driven by the massive drumming of Jeff Plate.

Lead single, "No Tomorrow" is track 3. Another huge moment that will have you banging your head. By this point, it's become apparent just how huge the mix of this record is. It's an absolute wall of sound that abuse your speakers in the best way possible.

Track 4, " Signal Path", has what I consider the best mix on the whole album. It opens with the Hi-tats and cymbals playing in your left speaker, while the bass drum and bass crush the right one. It's stereo from hell! The longest song on the record, it's a bruiser with Mike's voice never sounding better.

Track 5, "Sky Falls In", is a mid tempo monster with a crushing guitar solo and the rhythm section driving the song along. Tracks 6 and 7 are decent songs but might need to grow on me a bit. By track 8, they're back to beating our brains out with more classic thrash tunage.
Track 9, "Soul Eating Machine", might be the catchiest on the record while still maintaining the assault. The record finishes with three tunes that expertly showcase why Mike Howe is the brilliant vocalist that he is. He perfectly sings these songs with a catchy melody while still making them sound as menacing as a chainsaw.

"XI" was at the top of my list for records that I wanted to hear this year and for good reason. This is one beast of a record. It absolutely stacks up against anything this band has done in the past and surpasses it in many ways. While there are a few moments throughout that might need time to grow on me, there is plenty here that make up for that. This is one hell of a return to form and should instantly please all the old fans while giving new fans plenty of reasons to listen as well.

This is a must have record for any serious metal fan and I anticipate seeing it in many BEST OF lists come the year's end.

Courtesy of Hair Metal Mansion,

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