Of course, expectations were looming high for Metal Church' reunion album with the original line up of David Wayne on vocals, John Marshall and Kurdt Vanderhoof on guitar, Duke Erickson on bass and Kirk Arrington on drums. These guys (with or without one of them) have made metal history by releasing albums such as "Metal Church", "The Dark" and the incredibly heavy "Blessing in Disguise".

The first notes of "Masterpeace" - "Sleeps with Thunder" - are hopeful. Chunky metal with David Wayne sounding just like the archetype metal vocalist of old. There is something lacking...however...and at first I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

"Into Dust" is another cool track (even though is has some synth), and "All Your Sorrows", and particularly "The Signed in Blood" which comes darned close to the mid eighties glory of old Metal Church.

And then it dawned on me.

Metal Church start off chunky and fast - like "Hitman" or "Merciless Onslaught" - and then they don't relent to shift back a gear and write some serious, slower, heavy-as-f*@k tracks like "Gods of Wrath", "Fake Healer" and "Beyond the Black". All of "Masterpeace" (except for the superflous, 2-minute acoustic ditty title track) is pretty much up-tempo, whereas the main strength of Metal Church used to be slower, doom-laden, classic tracks.

Which doesn't mean to say it's a bad album, it's just not as good as, say, their first three albums.



Written August 1999


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