Metal Church “XI”: Flames of the Phoenix


The much anticipated CD by Metal Church, aptly named “XI” is due for release on March 25th.  With the return of singer Mike Howe, whose last release with the band was 1993’s “Hanging in the Balance”, those that have followed the band for as many years or more have been anxiously waiting to hear the result of this star-crossed reunion.  Metal Nexus recently procured a pre-release copy for review and…  But wait…

After 10 years with Metal Church; through their return to the music industry and their subsequent 2013 release of “Generation Nothing”, vocalist Ronny Munroe amicably left the band to “pursue other interests” in 2014.  The band quickly released public statements that they would persevere and would keep their fan-base updated on their pursuits.  The rest of their stellar line-up remains unchanged since “Generation Nothing” with Kurt Vanderhoof and Rick Van Zandt on guitars, Steve Unger on bass and Jeff Plate on drums.  When the announcement that Monroe’s replacement was Mike Howe, Metal Church fans’ hearts collectively stopped!  Could this be true after so many years???


Enough of the preliminaries and drama.  This is what you really want to know:  “XIis everything you have been waiting for and more!  It has that unmistakable “Metal Church sound”: that hesitant drum/bass pulse layered by very musical riffs and mature compositions; accompanied by passionate, powerful, intelligent and thought provoking lyrics, once again coming from the exceptional vocal chords of Mike Howe.  For rabid fans that have followed Metal Church for any extended period of time (you know who you are!), “XI*feels* like Metal Church (you know EXACTLY what this means!).  It is completely organic and natural.  All of the tension is rooted in the musical intent, not in the symbiosis of vocalist to band or vise versa.  In essence, “XI”’s lineage can be traced directly to the band of 1993 and before.  However, with the growth of members’ musical and lyrical talents, modern engineering and mixing, Metal Church has been given a polish and shine that was not possible back then and made this legendary band a relevant force in modern music.  It will sound “correct” to older purists while still having plenty of appeal for the younger crowd.  Legendary status aside, Metal Church’sXI” is a must-have and sure to land on our music scene with a thunderous roar!

MetalChurchTourMetal Church is already on the road and will remain there for a large part of 2016; starting in the US, then going overseas after April.  As of writing, guitarist Rick Van Zandt has been temporarily replaced on the tour by Firewolfe guitarist Paul Kleff and Savatage/Tran-Siberian Orchestra guitarist Chris Caffery due to a detached retina.  If they are anywhere near, hit their show!  Experience dictates that live is better than recorded.  If that holds true, seeing them live will be earth shattering, because “XI” is undeniably one of the best releases this year!

– Odyssey

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About Odyssey

I have had a life-long love of music, but from the first time I heard Kiss and Black Sabbath with my landlord's son in Nicholasville, KY in the mid 70's, I have been hooked on Hard Rock and Metal. While my tastes in music have done nothing but expand since then, Metal remains closest to my heart. In addition, I have played bass, still play guitar and have literally 1000's of CDs/MP3s, so my knowledge is long steeped and honest. I don't buy the whole splintered, sub-genres thing and choose to like bands and music based solely on individual merits. Obviously, this is always colored by my mood, what I need at any given point and time and what is generally pleasing to my ear. I also don't like to rip any music or band, instead having an open mind and ear for it all because I have a passion for it all. It is completely subjective and in a constant state of flux. Consider me a music "nerd" not a music "snob". As an extension of this love, I hope to share this passion with everyone here and learn from your passion as well! - Odyssey -

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