Release Date: Mar 25, 2016
Record label: Rat Pak Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Speed/Thrash Metal
The best Church service in some 25 years. Mike Howe is back on vocals, and it’s no coincidence that his return after over 20 years has inspired the veteran metallers to record their finest album since 1991’s The Human Factor, which of course featured Howe.. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads.
This is one that truly has us at hello—or at least at “Reset,” the opening track of Metal Church’s first album with singer Mike Howe since 1993’s 'Hanging in the Balance.' His tones are as sinister and quasi-demonic as they were two decades ago, while guitarist and group leader Kurdt Vanderhoof is playing at the top of his own game, twinning with Rick Van Zandt for thrashy riffs and searing solos that stand up well to anything in the Metal Church catalog. The quintet leans a bit more towards mainstream metal on these 11 tracks—roaring through precision dynamics on “Killing Your Time,” theatrical touches on “It Waits” and mixing acoustics into “No Tomorrow.” GARY GRAFF .
The 11th studio long-player from the veteran hard rockers, the aptly, though rather lazily, named XI marks the return of vocalist Mike Howe to the Metal Church fold -- Ronny Munroe left the group in 2014 to "pursue other interests. " Hearing Howe's sinister and instantly recognizable banshee wail reunited with showrunner/guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof's taut, melodic riffing is a thrill, especially for longtime fans. Standout cuts like "Needle and Suture," "Reset," and the monolithic "No Tomorrow," the latter of which might be the best thing the band's recorded in over a decade, provide a 21st century link to Howe-fronted Metal Church faves like Human Factor, Blessing in Disguise, and Hanging in the Balance.