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METAL CHURCH Generation Nothing

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Sunday, October 27, 2013 @ 1:43 PM

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Generation Nothing

Rat Pak Records - 2013

Some bands reunite because of a need for money. Some bands reunite and the resulting new music is a shadow of its former greatness. And then some bands reunite and go so far as to record some of the best material to date.

METAL CHURCH broke up in 2009 (sadly just about 2 weeks before I was going to see them live) amidst a myriad of issues surrounding the band. Singer Ronny Munroe was the one member of the band that I followed to other projects, including his two solo albums.

When news broke that the band was not only reuniting for a concert performance but followed that up with news of a new album, I was just a bit ECSTATIC!

The October 22nd, 2013 scheduled release of Generation Nothing was something I eagerly anticipated. I pre-ordered the album from Rat Pak Records along with a band T-shirt. And sure enough the label had the CD in my hands on the day of release. (Along with the shirt, some stickers and a band photo.)

The pre-hype of the album was masterfully done. Two full length tracks from the disc were posted on the Net and they only served to further whet the appetite for the album.

Of course with all the anticipation building up, at least on my part but I'm sure many other fans of the band as well, the album could've been seen as a disappointment if the rest of the music didn't live up to the standards set by the two early release numbers.

No such worries there. The majority of the songs were written by guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof. Munroe co-wrote the lyrics for two songs and wrote the lyrics solo for two others. And for the most part, the album was an early Xmas gift of fast paced and aggressive molten metal.

The first thing you notice if you have followed Munroe and/or METAL CHURCH for a while now is that his vocals come off extremely aggressive on the CD. He can alternate quite adeptly at the vicious spitting vocal delivery and then turn around and offer up an operatic-like wail from the icy cold depths.

The band (including guitarist Rick Van Zandt, bassist Steve Unger and drummer Jeff Plate) waste no time in getting down to business when they explode out of the speakers with the attacking rhythms of "Bulletproof".

I previously mentioned the rather vicious tinge to Munroe's vocals and they get their first big showcase on the hard charging "Dead City". The two songs that were posted early online stand out as two of the album's best. The title track serves as a complete opposite to that old beer ad slogan. Instead of tasting great and being less filling, the song is a full course meal that fills up the listener's ears with an abundance of powerful sounds. And the chorus is outstanding. The other track is "Scream", which is fast and aggressive with a hook laden chorus that wouldn't have sounded out of place on commercial radio back in metal music's heyday, yet sacrifices nothing in the way of raw power. I've been playing this song repeatedly since it was first posted online.

The song "Suiciety" opens with a touch of melodic sublety before launching into a full on rocker. On "Hits Keep Comin'", the band alternates between a power driven metallic background and then takes the edge off a bit with some slower musical interludes.

While METAL CHURCH is no stranger to writing and performing epic length tracks, they might very well have topped their previous offerings in that regard with "Noises in the Wall". The 8 1/2 minute song is a musical illustration of one person's descent in madness based on imaginary (or are they real?) noises that they hear.

The song opens slow but the claustrophic intensity rises with every note until the tempo just blows things out in full. The vocals are fantastic and as the song ends, the band has a brilliantly inventive touch to close things out in an amazingly creepy and effective manner.

It is one of the best songs in the entire Metal Church catalog.

The album does peter out just a bit towards the end and I do wish the song lyrics had been included with the CD, but those are only minor nicks in the armor of the band.

METAL CHURCH has always released amazing studio albums (The abominable Masterpeace being the lone exception) but never quite has been able to get the recognition that they have so long deserved. I can only hope that Generation Nothing can change the critical reception for the band because it is not only one of the best metal albums of the 2013 calendar year, it is one of the best METAL CHURCH albums ever.


4.5 Out Of 5

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