It’s 2016 and Metal Church may be heavier and better than ever. Upon the return of Mike Howe the band has released XI– the first record to feature the vocalist in over 20 years. Let me tell you, those 20 years don’t mean anything when it comes to the quality of Howe’s voice. Howe’s voice has remained a powerful force, a perfect mixture of a slight gutteral vocal style matched with clarity to create a truly unique sound.
They chose a great song to open the album with, “Reset”, which is a perfect example of Metal Church’s sound as of 2016- heavy and clean. Guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof is a true virtuoso when it comes to his instrument; be it a mind blowing riff or a delicate and technical acoustic piece it’s all done impeccably. He is truly at the top of his game on this record. Rick Van Zandt matches Vanderhoof’s playing perfectly, creating an unstoppable duo.
The album contains a mixture of high tempo and mid-tempo songs, all of which will appeal to any Metal Church fan. If you weren’t a huge Metal Church fan prior to this release and your Metal Church repertoire consisted mostly of “We Watch The Children Pray”- this album is sure to draw you in and will create a fan out of you. XI as a studio record is a force to be reckoned with, and will produce an incendiary live performance.