Metal Church stirs up so many memories and emotions within me, but not for the same reasons that most Metal Church fans remember them. While the band’s namesake song, Metal Church, is one of my favorite thrash metal songs of all time, and the entire first side of their first album (am I showing my age there with the cassette reference?), is crushing. Their follow-up release, “The Dark,” had some great songs such as the title track and Watch the Children Prey. With all of those great things aside, for me, Metal Church has always been about the Mike Howe era – not the David Wayne era. Mike Howe had an exceptional voice when used correctly. Songs like Badlands, Anthem to the Estranged, Gods of Second Chance, Waiting For a Savior, etc. are classics in my book.
Metal Church will mostly be remember by their tumultuous line-up changes. Everyone remembers David Wayne, but he was only around for their first two albums and then reappeared for a live album and “Masterpeace,” which brought nothing to the table for me. Since Wayne’s second departure, and then his untimely death in 2005, Metal Church has been a turnstile for musicians, with Kurdt Vanderhoof as the only constant. Even when he was not a performing member, he was always the main writer.
In 2004, the Ronny Munroe era began and I love Monroe, but Metal Church would basically put out average releases that were barely getting exposure and fans were dwindling quickly. The band’s originality went straight out the window. In 2009, the band Metal Church broke up. It always felt temporary, so it was no surprise when they got back together this year. Before they did too much in their reunion, word came out of a new album being worked on and here we are with “Generation Nothing.”
Unfortunately, “Generation Nothing” is more of the same, and I may even say that it is less of what we were getting in their last few efforts. It is the same as the last few albums. You listen to it and say that it is not bad and that you need to listen to it more, but you never feel like listening to it. Metal Church seems to not even be hanging on to their past. The songs have been uninspired and, for the most part, boring. Their is nothing new being done by the band. It is riff, verse, chorus, repeat. It is all cookie cutter songs at this point.
“Generation Nothing” has a few glimpses of hope. I listen to songs like the title track, Generation Nothing, and enjoy it, but cannot even hum back to main riff to you in five minutes. Songs like Noises in the Well have promise, but end up keeping a weird pace and cookie cutter riffs and melodies.
I would like nothing more than to sit here and tell you that one of the Metal Churches of old are back, but the fact of the matter is that the band is well past their prime and showing it more and more with each release. Even watching them live, they look uninspired and you begin to wonder why they came back if they look like they do not feel like being there. I know that they want nothing more than to play metal to the masses, but while I am sure the fire is there, it never seems to burn bright.
Generation Nothing Track Listing:
01. Bullet Proof
02. Dead City
03. Generation Nothing
04. Noises In The Wall
05. Jump The Gun
08. Hits Keep Comin’
09. Close To The Bone
10. The Media Horse
Metal Church Line-up:
Ronny Munroe – vocals
Kurdt Vanderhoof – guitar
Rick Van Zandt – guitar
Steve Unger – bass
Jeff Plate – drums