JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

February 22, 2017
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Andy Laudano
Photos by Andy Laudano

Metal Church

Metal Of The Gods

Metal Church Is Back And Better Than Ever!

One of the best metal bands in the world, Metal Church finally made their triumphant return to Dallas and a packed house at Trees in Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas. This was the band's first show in Dallas since the return of former lead vocalist Mike Howe.

In 1989, Metal Church released what many consider their best album, Blessing In Disguise. It was also Howe's first album with the band. They'd make two more albums together before breaking up in 1995. Over the years since, founder/guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof has put the band back together in various incarnations and in 2015, nearly 20 years later, Howe returned to the band.

The show opened with "Fake Healer," the first track from the Blessing In Disguise album, and suddenly it was 1989 all over again! Howe's vocals sound every bit as good now as they did then. The rest of the band, which included longtime bassist Steve Unger, Savatage/Trans-Siberian Orchestra drummer Jeff Plate and newest member guitarist Rick Van Zandt sounded amazing as well. You could tell by the big smile on Vanderhoof's face how proud he was and what a great time this band has playing together.

It was great to see Van Zandt back with the band. While touring in support of their latest album, XI, he had to have emergency eye surgery to repair a detached retina, and was temporarily replaced by former Firewolfe guitarist Paul Kleff, and Savatage/TSO guitarist Chris Caffery. You know you're a bad ass when it takes two guitarists to replace you! On a night where most eyes were focused on the returning Howe, Van Zandt grabbed his share of the spotlight showing he could shred and solo with the best of them.

As expected the set was heavy on material from the Howe era, but they still managed to squeeze in three songs from original singer, the late David Wayne's time with the band including their signature song, "Watch The Children Pray." Other highlights included "In Mourning," "Gods of Second Chance," "No Tomorrow," "Killing Your Time" and their biggest hit to date, "Badlands." Following the show the entire band came out to meet with their fans.