I can still remember the first time I heard Metal Church. It was late some weekend night and I was listening to one of those radio stations that would play a whole album after the peak hours were over. (This is unheard of these days.) I believe it was their second album, 'The Dark,' released in 1986. I was completely captured by their heavy, yet melodic metal. This was the time when thrash and speed metal was on the rise. However, Metal Church was different, not following the same patterns of the day. Today, Metal Church still delivers heavy melodic metal with enthusiasm and clarity. 'This Present Wasteland' is another fine work by this band.
When I first gave 'This Present Wasteland' a spin, I questioned the production quality. The mix seemed muffled and the drums sounded particularly tinny. What's going on here? I thought. Wait a minute! I didn't have the volume adjusted correctly; it needed to be louder! All questions of quality passed from discussion. On 'Wasteland' you will find terrific melodic metal delivered with power. The vocals are strong and gruff enough to let you know that you aren't listening to AOR. The guitar work is creative and blistering. In other words, you know metal when you hear it. Key metal songs include 'The Perfect Crime' which captures melody with metal; 'Meet Your Maker' which verges on old school thrash, yet still blends a good mix of acoustic and electric guitar; 'A War Never Won' bringing powerful metal flaming on all cylinders including riffs, vocals and guitars. However, with this said, at times Metal Church seems to venture into melodic hard rock as well while still touching the edges of metal. Both 'Monster' and 'Breathe Again' (fantastic!) easily blur the lines between melodic hard rock and metal. Yet, I found some average stuff in 'Crawling To Extinction' and 'Congregation,' the closing number. Both were good but did not inspire me.
I can honestly say that Metal Church had hardly a dull moment on 'This Present Wasteland.' Their strength is in their talent and consistency. This is pure classic heavy metal. And that's a good thing. Very recommended!
- Craig Hartranft
On 'This Present Wasteland,' Metal Church brings what they do best: solid heavy metal with fiery fret work and an abundance of melody. With no respect for current trends, Metal Church proves once again that good heavy metal is vibrant and thrilling.