Review | Metal Church – Congregation Of Annihilation


Metal Church suffered a major blow on July 26, 2021 when their vocalist Mike Howe decided to step out of life by committing suicide. It was known that Howe suffered from depression but choosing to end it all came as a big shock to everyone who knew him. After grieving for their friend founding member and guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof, bass player Steve Unger, guitarist Rick Van Zandt and drummer Stet Howland decided to carry on with the group.


First thing was to find a singer. Former vocalist Ronny Monroe was being considered for a return but he decided to move to Vicious Rumors. In February of this year the new singer Marc Lopes was announced. Lopes has been active with Ross The Boss on his last two albums including ‘Born On Fire’ while he is also the front man of the Boston based band Let Us Prey whose first album will appear on July 24.


The members of the band see this as a new chapter in the long history of Metal Church, a restart so to speak. And on their latest opus ‘Congregation Of Annihilation’ it is safe to say that main song writer Kurdt Vanderhoof has gone back to the early days when they released a self-titled debut album and its successor ‘The Dark’ in 1985 and 1986. That means that ‘Congregation Of Annihilation’ is filled with bone crushing hard and heavy metal full with punchy riffs, razor sharp solos (sometimes twin) and a rhythm section that not for one moment lets up. The band sounds angry and extremely energetic.


The main reason for going back to basics might be because of Marc Lopes who has a raw, high-pitched voice, full of aggression and yes, he reminds me every now and then of original Metal Church singer David Wayne (rip). That is certainly not a bad thing as Metal Church even in 2023 sounds very cool indeed.

With killer tracks like ,,Another Judgement Day’’, ,,All That We Destroy’’, ,,Making Monsters’’ (listen to that punchy bass of Unger here), ,,Me The Nothing’’, the furious title song or ,,Say A Prayer With 7 Bullets’’ these veterans of heavy metal report back to the metal front with a big bang indeed. With Lopes the band has found a good replacement as he brings energy and fury to the table. He does not seem to be the type of singer that is a full hundred percent suited for a super ballad such as ,,Let The Children Play’’ (from ‘The Dark’) .

I think that the fan of the old and the more recent Metal Church (during their Monroe and Howe days) will be satisfied and maybe even tickled pink. Vanderhoof and friends are alive and kicking, let there be no doubt about that. Eh Kurdt, how about that new Presto Ballet album. Is that in the works yet?

Release date: 26 May 2023



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