METAL CHURCH, after delivering 2018’s Damned If You Do, return with a new offering From the Vault (out now, Rat Pak Records). A special edition compilation album that features 14 previously unreleased tracks from the Mike Howe era,this one has rows and rows of razor sharp teeth like a Great White shark. I actually find it criminal that some of these songs did not make it on to albums because they are so, so fucking good. The first four are new studio tracks, including a re-recorded version of classic tune “Conductor” from 1993’s Hanging In the Balance. “Dead On the Vine” is a true METAL CHURCH opener and sets the tone, then “For No Reason” keeps the train rolling with a tasty riff followed by a subdued chorus.
Next up is the aforementioned “Conductor” which I think blows the orginal away, followed by “Above the Madness.” Once again these new tunes rip hard. From the Damned If You Do sessions we are treated to a few B-Sides, starting with “Mind Thief,” one of my personal favorites. The whole groove of it really revs me up. And “Tell Lie Vision” is a perfect song for the times we live in, lyrically and musically, that’s for sure. “False Flag” is another badass tune, then we have ourselves a pair of instrumentals. “Insta Mental” is a fun number but i think it would not have meshed well with the other tracks on that album. The band shifts gears with “432 Hz,” a clean, acoustic song that is simply gorgeous.
The next three are cover tunes that I was not at all expecting: “Please Don’t Judas Me” from NAZARETH, “Green Eyed Lady” by SUGARLOAF, and RAM JAM’S “Black Betty.” They are all rather well done, and friggin’ “Betty” was stuck in my head for hours. Closing the disc is a pair of live tracks from Japan, “Agent Green” and “Anthem to the Estranged,” putting a neat little bow on top of the present. And that’s what this album feels like, a surprise present from METAL CHURCH. As I stated earlier, most of these songs would fit just fine on a record, but the fact we get them all together like this is pretty damn cool. From the Vault is available everywhere now, so do yourself a favor and pick yours up today.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Dead On the Vine”, “Conductor”, “For No Reason”, “Above the Madness”. “Mind Thief”, “False Flag”