Metal Church - "Generation Nothing" (CD)
"Generation Nothing" track listing:
1. Bullet Proof
2. Dead City
3. Generation Nothing
4. Noises in the Wall
5. Jump the Gun
8. Hits Keep Coming
9. Close to the Bone
10. The Media Horse
Reviewed by CROMCarl on October 23, 2013
It was October 6th in the year of our metal 1986. After staking a claim less than two years previous with the eponymous classic, Metal Church released “The Dark” – and the band was on its way as one of the fastest rising metal acts alongside Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax. Even though vocalist David Wayne would leave two years after “The Dark” and eventually return to the band thirteen years later on “Masterpeace,” for all intents and purposes “The Dark” was the last of the Wayne era with that “instant classic” label. The band did have many classics (some known, some severely underrated) with vocalist Mike Howe, but that original magic has been elusive. There are many fans who prefer the Wayne era over the Howe era…and vice versa. However, since Wayne’s second departure and his untimely death in 2005, Metal Church has been a turnstile for musicians, with only Kurdt Vanderhoof as the only constant (even when he wasn’t a full time playing member, he was always the main writer).
The Ronny Munroe era began in 2004 and although the albums were solid metal releases, the only real similarity they held with the band’s past and original identity was the name “Metal Church.” The band broke up in 2009 only to return in 2013 with a mission to capture that original essence. “Generation Nothing” is a huge step backward… but in a way that will make fans who have been lying in wait for a glimpse of the past proud. Overall, this album is the band’s most relevant release since “Hanging in the Balance” in 1993. For Munroe, this represents his finest achievement with the group by a huge margin, one that finally should solidify his legacy as something much more than just “the band’s longest running vocalist.” In fact, as much as Vanderhoof has brought many of the elements of old back into the fold, Munroe’s performance is just as impressive. With “Generation Nothing,” Ronny went for it and the end result is a style that captures the essence of David Wayne with a little Flemming Ronsdorf (Ex-Artillery) thrown in for good measure.
First off, let me dispel some of the myths. It is nearly impossible for bands to return to a sound identical to what fans will depict as “the glory years.” With “Generation Nothing,” this is a return to form and a return to relevancy. Now, without insulting the last three releases, no one can deny that the band went in a different direction from earlier times – something to be expected from many bands. Times change, band members change, writing styles change. With Metal Church, the problem has never been good writing, but timing, notice, and relevance. So while this new album is not “Metal Church, Pt. II,” the planets have aligned to bring an album that in 2013 should get the band back on the radar as a major player – just when the scene truly needs it.
So, with all of that said, what one could expect from “Generation Nothing” is an album with relentless pace and speedy rhythms complete with phenomenally memorable riffs that make up instantly classic tunes with absolutely no ballads or let down. Right from the start, “Bullet Proof” shoots out of the chamber and the album picks up the pace until “The Media Horse” ends it leaving the listener saying….”Wow….well, ok – they are back!” The only change in pace on the whole album comes with “Noises in the Wall,” which is one of the more complex hymns written by Kurdt. The song “Generation Nothing” is the most wicked of the bunch, followed closely by “Scream,” “Dead City,” and “Close the Bone.” The album has zero filler and consistently keeps you on edge. Oddly, I was anticipating a drop off at some point, but the album ended with none leaving this as one of the most satisfying Metal Church releases I can long remember. Rick Van Zandt shines in his sophomore release as lead guitarist, with stellar riffs, while Steve Unger and Jeff Plate make one of the most formidable rhythm teams in the business.
As a huge fan of the band through the near entirety of its existence, there is a special place in my heart for seeing Metal Church succeed to a level that is so richly deserved after so many years and so many manifestations. The band represents a large part of my past and it’s a pleasure to hear an album that rockets it back to relevancy. This is one case where stepping away for a bit and returning with a renewed sense of vigor has propelled Kurdt Vanderhoof back into the upper echelon where he and Metal Church belong - as leaders of old school power thrash for a new generation that deserves them. A void for “Generation Nothing” has finally been filled.
Highs: A return to form and relevance for one of metal's best with zero filler and a high octane pace
Lows: For those expecting "Metal Church, Pt. II" - those expectations might be too lofty.
Bottom line: A return to form that finally delivers a relevant album for "Generation Nothing."
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