METAL CHURCH – From the Vault

METAL CHURCH - From the Vault
  • 7.5/10
    METAL CHURCH - From the Vault - 7.5/10


Ratpak Records
Release date: April 10, 2020

User Review
10/10 (1 vote)

METAL CHURCH was one of the bands that came out in the early 80s that was a force to be reckoned with, and on their latest release From the Vault we get a glimpse of why. The band has had many players and faces in their long history, but one constant in their music has been Kurdt Vanderhoof, and with long time vocalist Mike Howe’s return they have gone a long way to bringing the band back to the forefront of the Heavy Metal scene. From the Vault offers us a collection of songs from different recording sessions, covers and live performances which includes 3 brand new recordings, a remake of a classic song from 1993’s Hanging in the Balance, some unused material from the last album and some remixes from the album XI.

Metal Church band photo

The New Material

The album opens with the new material, and it’s the best of the record. “Dead on the Vine” kicks it all off with excellent driving metal, great vocals and a really strong mix that get’s you banging your head right away. Next up comes “For No reason” which is another strong tune that should satisfy the METAL CHURCH fans, and more. From the ’93 album Hanging in the Balance the band has re-recorded the song “Conductor” and I for one feel that this new version feels like an aged and refined version, possibly improving on the original with the well seasoned voice of Mike Howe sounding as good or better than ever. “Above the Madness” also delivers, and shows you that the band can still write great songs.


The next 5 songs are B tracks left on the cutting room floor from the last album Damned If You Do, and are not nearly as strong as the new material. Fans will enjoy hearing these as it’s always fun when you get a chance to see what was not used when a record is made. 2 of the 5 songs are instrumentals that can feel a little bit incomplete when compared to the other tracks, but are still a worthy addition to the album.

Cover Tunes

It’s always interesting to hear covers from Metal bands that are not Metal songs. The one thing to ask when you hear a cover song is what does this version do that the original didn’t? That said, it’s very tough to take 3 classic rock songs and transform them into 80s Metal, while preserving the magic of the original. Though the band must have had a blast recording these great songs, I’m not sure that they are a fit with the rest of the album.

In the Bonus Round

The album rounds out with 2 great live tracks, and 2 remixes from the XI album. If you get the digital download, you will also get 2 more bonus tracks from the same session. More treasures for the METAL CHURCH fans to add to their collection.

Final Notes

To new listeners the album may seem an odd and somewhat uneven collection of songs, but long-time fans will find something on every track to keep them coming back for more. Either way, “From the Vault” is a worthy addition to your Metal collection.


  • Bryce Van Patten

    Bryce is an audio engineer and a graphic designer here at Metal Express Radio. From the day he purchased his first album (Machine Head by Deep Purple), he has had a passion for heavy music, which has influenced his whole life. Bryce is from the great Pacific Northwest in USA, and has played in metal bands like Babylon, Holy Terror, The Wild Dogs, Warhead and Egypt through the 80s. He had his first interview for the Portland, Oregon publication The Rock Rag with guitarist Paul Gilbert in his Racer X days. Then he was honored to get to have drinks, and talk for an hour with the legendary Dan McCafferty of Nazareth for his second interview. In 2013, he spent an amazing hour talking to Andi Deris of Helloween, which was the high point of his heavy metal journalism.   In the year 2001, he formed Man in Black Music Publishing. They released recordings by several local bands, and in the spirit of the old Metal Massacre compilations, he created a 2-album series called The Defenders of Metal. The albums featured classic styled Metal bands from all around the world, with bands from Australia to England, and from Argentina to Russia. Currently, he is the producer/creator/vocalist of the Metal band The Black Tuesdays.

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