Not even a world pandemic can stop Metal Church from healing the masses. Their latest offering From the Vault will heal any fan feeling the blues while practicing proper Social Distancing. It includes 16 songs that have been previously unreleased from the Mike Howe era of Metal Church. Which incidentally is my favorite era of the band’s history.
From the Vault starts off with a new track called “Dead on the Vine.” The track starts with the heavy pounding drums of Stet Howland and continues with the dead-on vocals of Mike Howe. “Dead on the Vine” is the perfect way to start things moving. If this song doesn’t get your heart pumping you may need to see a doctor. “For No Reason” is up next and has all the signatures of a classic Metal Church song. The chorus has a “Badlands” like sound making it one of my favorites on the album. “Conductor” is a remake of a classic Metal Church song from 1993’s Hanging in the Balance. “Above the Madness” is the last of the new recordings and is probably the wicked sounding vocally for Howe. The track also carries one of the best guitar solos provided by Rick Van Zandt and Kurdt Vanderhoof.
The next five songs are the B-Side Tracks from The “Damned If You Do” Sessions. They have the sounds that album produced which were heavy melodic guitar and catchy chorus lines. “Mind Thief” fill those shoes perfectly as does “Tell Lie Vision.” “False Flag” is easily my favorite from the B-side tracks. It has a great beat and Steve Unger’s signature bass sound comes out perfectly in the song. “Insta Mental” is a great instrumental track with some bluesy elements mixed into it. “432hz” is another instrumental piece but acoustic.
Now we come to the truly fun part of the album. Metal Church picked three songs to cover. The first is a cover of Nazareth’s “Please Don’t Judas Me.” This choice of a song fits Howe’s vocals perfectly. The slow tempo allows Howe to use his range to cover all aspects of the song. “Green-Eyed Lady” by Sugarloaf provides a funky sound not often heard in the Metal Church catalog. The last of the cover songs is the classic “Black Betty” by Ram Jam. The song is fun and I can only imagine was a blast for the band to record.
If that wasn’t enough of an offering from Metal Church, From the Vault also has two live recordings in Japan of “Agent Green and one of my Metal Church favorite songs “Anthem To The Estranged.”
Wait, you want more? You got it. How about they throw in a (Wizard Mix) of “Killing Your Time,” and an amazing (Metal Mix) of “Needle & Suture.”
From the Vault has a little bit of everything making it a perfect pandemic pick. In April 2020 remember you may need to maintain proper social distancing standards but that doesn’t mean you can’t play this loud and proud for the whole world to hear. From the Vault will be released on April 10, 2020, via Rat Pak Records.