Monday, May 16, 2016

Review: Metal Church, "XI"

Could 2016 be the year of the classic thrash band?

The year started with Megadeth’s Dystopia, and while I personally have mixed feelings on it, most fans are hailing it as their best in years. That was followed by Anthrax’s For All Kings, which is on its way to becoming my favorite album from the band ever. In the remaining months, we’re expecting releases from Testament, Death Angel and Flotsam and Jetsam, and Metallica continue to promise their next outing will also arrive in 2016.

The latest in the string is Metal Church’s 11th album. XI marks the return of singer Mike Howe, who first appeared on 1989’s Blessing in Disguise – a personal favorite. He recorded two more albums with the band, The Human Factor (1991) and Hanging in the Balance (1993), before they broke up and he retired from singing.

After the departure of Ronny Munroe in 2014, Metal Church founder Kurdt Vanderhoof was already talking to Howe about a side project and opened the door to his return. Howe was impressed by the riffs that Vanderhoof was coming up with, and agreed to the reunion.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Metal Meltdowns: Danzig, "blackacidevil"

Most any band that’s been around for a while has at least one of those albums where fans listen and wonder, “what the heck were they thinking?” In this series, I’ll explore some of those moments where my favorite metal and hard rock bands went off the rails. Some of the records I may hate, some I may like, but all represent a fundamental shift in the band’s sound, at least for a moment. I’ll start with a record that’s one of the more dramatic changes of direction in my memory, Danzig’s blackacidevil

After coming out of punk band the Misfits and the experimental horror outfit Samhain, Glenn Danzig established his own name and unique sound under the tutelage of Rick Rubin. For the better part of four albums, he delivered a dark, powerful, doomy brand of metal underpinned by blues rock. Even though he experimented a little bit on his fourth record under the Danzig moniker, nothing prepared fans for what was to come with his fifth outing in 1996.