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On stage: Metal Church



- Metal Church, Wicked Maraya & Megora - Apr. 1994 - Cologne (D) -
- W.O.A. - Aug. 1999 - Wacken (D) -
- Metal Church & Thunderhead - Oct. 1999 - Bochum (D) -
- RockHard Festival - May 2004 - Gelsenkirchen (D) -
- Metal Church & Chris Caffery - Jun. 2005 - Bochum (D) -
- Metal Church & Victory - May 2006 - Hannover (D) -


www.metalchurchmusic.com









Metal Church, Victory & Gorilla Monsoon
June 7th 2006 - Hannover (D), Musikzentrum




Spontaneously we decided to go to Hannover to see Seattle power metal legend Metal Church and Hannover's hard rockers Victory. Opening act Gorilla Monsoon we missed, coz we first needed food and so just been back in time for the Hannover quintet. Well, we missed the first song. As it's Victory's hometown a lot of people came out at a Wednesday night to see guitarist Tommy Newton and his pales. Their current album Fuel To The Flame is a kind of best-of-album, but they re-recorded the old tunes with their new singer Jioti Parcharidis (Human Fortress). And so the set was a best-of, too. I saw Victory the first time 20 years ago when they promoted Don't Get Mad Get Even live. That were the days of Charlie Huhn - a great entertainer and singer. After Huhn left to join Humble Pie, Fargopedda and Tommy Newton found a new singer in Fernando Garcia. The band broke up and when they reunited they returned with Charlie Huhn, but on the long run it didn't worked. They needed a new singer and found him in Hannover in person of Jioti. During their set the band presented old classics like On The Loose, Don't Tell No Lies and Temple Of Gold. Some songs sound harder these days, one reason for this impression is the voice. Jioti is more a power metal singer then based in hard rock, so he's too aggressive sometimes and screams too much in my opinion. Perhaps it's just that I have the old songs in mind and stick too much to the originals... Anyway, I heard a few people saying that they don't like the vocal performance. The band sounded very tight and it was just like in the old days - if you ignore the vocals. Sorry, but I think he's not the best replacement. Perhaps the impression will change completely when he's singing new songs which are written for him... Let's wait and see!
After the short break Metal Church entered the stage and kicked off the set with Badlands! What a start! Last year they toured to promote Weight Of The World and now the Seattle boys are back with A Light In The Dark. Even if the album release won't be before mid-June the band of guitarist and mastermind Kurdt Vanderhoof decided to play a few new tunes - like the title track and Mirror Of Lies. The rest of the set was a travel through Metal Church's history incl. songs like Date With Poverty, Ton Of Bricks, Dark, Gods Of Wrath and Watch The Children Pray. Some songs they played last year, others just made it into the set list. As they re-recorded Watch The Children Pray for the new album, it was a must play. But still the songs sounded a bit different, coz they have a new drummer. Kirk Arington had to take leave caused by health problems and so Vanderhoof asked Savatage drummer Jeff Plate to join them. Vanderhoof toured in 1997 with his solo band supporting Savatage and so he knew Plate for a few years. And last year Jeff Plate was on tour with Chris Caffery supporting Metal Church - so he was an obvious choice. As I saw Metal Church with David Wayne and Mike Howe I can compare them, too, with Ronny Munroe. But opposite to Victory the Americans found in Ronny Munroe a man who can sing the old classics! He made the songs sound like they were written for him and at the same time keeps close to the original. A great show which ended with Highway Star by Deep Purple - a song they covered already on their debut album. Well, here Mr. Munroe couldn't keep up with Ian Gillan at his high time, but still better than many others. And the song surely sounded heavier then the original. Too soon the show was over and I'm glad that I'll have the chance to see them again at Masters Of Rock in Czech Republic where they replace Annihilator.
A night of hard rock and power metal ended. Even if I was a little disappointed about Victory, Metal Church were worth the drive!



Claudia Ehrhardt

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Chris Caffery & Metal Church
June 6th 2005 - Bochum (D), Matrix




I know that some Savatage fans will complain why don't they tour as Savatage, if within 3 months former Savatage singer Zak Stevens toured with his band, then Jon Oliva's Pain. And now Chris Caffery is touring with his solo stuff - having Jeff Plate in the band. Anyway, some might expect that Chris Caffery is playing - like Jon Oliva - a lot Savatage songs, but he proofed them wrong. Opening with the title track of his first album Faces - using the album intro Alas as live intro, too. The very first time for Chris Caffery to play solo here in Europe. Second guitarist Ira Black (Vicious Rumors, ex-Heathen) arrived "in the nick of time" as Chris said, while the band arrived 2 days before. As they haven't played live much, it was obvious that they need time to grow together on stage. A surprise for the 250 / 300 metal fans Caffery presented the Savatage classic Sirens early in the set. But he concentrated on his work... On Faces and the new W.A.R.P.E.D. by playing Edge Of Darkness, Fade Into The X, The Mold - the first single. Only Fool, Fool didn't fit into the set in my opinion, but well... Best reactions got Pisses Me Off which definitely was the highlight of the set. Abandoned was the last song from his solo albums just to be followed by Power Of The Night. Chris Caffery and his band did a good job, even if there been small things to criticize... As singing lead vocals is new for Caffery it was no surprise that once or twice the vocal lines weren't perfect. But it was fun and so don't be too critical! Give them a little time more time and they will present themselves very tight. Definitely way better then Jon Oliva's Pain in Antwerp!!!!
After a break it was time for Metal Church. I saw the Seattle rockers last year at the RockHard festival and there they did a great job. Kicking off with Ton Of Bricks the band presented mainly old tunes and 3 tracks from their latest album Weight Of The World - Leave Them Behind, Madman's Overture and Cradle To Grave. But the old tunes rocked the house like Watch The Children Pray, The Dark, Date With Poverty and Metal Church. New singer Ronny Munroe showed again that he can easily sing the old David Wayne tracks as well as the Mike Howe tunes. But why they didn't play anything from Blessing In Disguise and Hanging In The Balance? Both albums have a lot of great songs which would have fit perfectly into their set list. Perhaps it's just the short set of 75 minutes or did Kurdt Vanderhof decided to play only tracks from his active Metal Church days? Hopefully that's not the reason for ignoring these albums. Okay, only Kurdt and drummer Kirk Arington are original band members, but I think that fans would have love to hear some tracks from these 2 albums. Anyway, great songs and with Highway Star a little surpruse at the end of the set.
Resume: Chris Caffery's songs sound great live, but he needs more experience with his band and as a lead singer. But I know Chris good enough to know that it won't take just a few more shows to improve. Soon he'll sound like always being a singer and the band will be tight as if they play for years.
Nothing to complain about when talking about Metal Church, only as mentioned before that they haven't played any songs from Blessing In Disguise and Hanging In The Balance. Both too good to be ignored!
And hopefully both will return soon and play a longer set!



Claudia Ehrhardt

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Metal Church & Thunderhead
October, 24th 1999 - Bochum (D), Zeche




Late Sunday afternoon I arrived at the Zeche Bochum. Just one nightliner... Inside the venue I heard that it's just Thunderhead and Metal Church... Nobody could told me why Marshall Law are not on this tour..... But I had the chance to listen to the sound check. When Metal Church had finished their soundcheck and Thunderhead hadn't arrived in time, the crew took the chance and jammed! It was great! Kurt Vanderhoof on drums while the guitar techs Joe and Jeff played guitar and light tech Taz on bass. Cool! It sounds pretty good, better than some local supports, but a little strange to watch, coz the singer wasn't on stage. On vocals sound engineer Gary Muchmore! It was very unusual, but a lot of fun and the guys enjoyed it. Great!
Thunderhead are back with a new album and new members. Only singer Ted Bullet is left over from the original line-up. He is joined by Jimi Bell (ex-GZR) on guitars and BJ Zampa who is a long-time friend of Bullet. The album Ugly Side was recorded at the drummers house. The band entered the stage and started with the album opener Liar. Bullet's crew presented themselves very fresh and powerful. They are back! Songs like Rock Bottom or Footsteps Of Fear showed the ability of the new members and they rocked!!! For 60 minutes the thunder rolled and presented most of the new material which is as good as the old stuff. Or even better? In my opinion they are stronger than the former Thunderhead. But Behind The Eightball fit per­fectly into the new tracks. Only Ted's song intro­ductions were un­neces­sary, especially when Ted had to fill the gap between 2 songs while guitar tech Joe had to tune his guitar. Ted explaint that his spare guitar got smashed and so they hadn't any chance to go straight through the set. Good show guys!
After a break Seattle's power metal legend entered the stage. David Wayne and the rest of the band couldn't convince the audience at Wacken, will they succeed today? Opening with All Your Sorrows the quintet started rocking. The great light show and the excellent sound supported the great performance. Sure, I missed a few classical Metal Church songs, but with Ton O' Bricks, Faster Than Life, Watch The Children Play and Start The Fire they played a fireworks of tracks. Unfortunately Kirk Arington couldn't play and so his mate is still replacing him. On bass.... Not the Duke... Which isn't news to the ones who were at Wacken. But who cares, the guys did an excellent job and as long as John Marshall and Kurt Vanderhoof are on the six strings... About David Wayne, his voice was much better than at the festivals. A few younger fans missed Mike Howe, coz they got into the Seattle metal heads with Hanging In The Balance. I had to confess that at a few parts I missed him, too. However, they played a tight set and at the end of the set they surprised the fans with a bass solo and Beyond The Black, Metal Church and as encore Deep Purple's Highway Star. And after 90 minutes it was over........ Time is flying if you have fun and the fans had fun. Return soon and please play some more classical Metal Church tracks. The parish of Metal Church is waiting for more!!!



Claudia Ehrhardt

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Metal Church, Wicked Maraya & Megora
April, 20th 1994 - Cologne (D), Live Music Hall




The show begins a little later tonight, because the German music TV channel VIVA produce a feature about Metal Church! The fans had the beginning of a long event at quarter past 8 p.m. when Megora starts their set. Unfortunately have now information about the band Megora and it seems that none know them. The audience appreciated the talent of the members. The band played a mixture of the old Bay Area kinda music with influences of Queensrÿche. The complex arrangements remind me of Dream Theater, but the guys ain't a progressive metal band. The shouter looks like a small copy of the new Anthrax frontman and has a harsh voice which is easy to catch. But he is just the top of a good band, the drummer plays complex beats and fills when the bassist also shows his talent with slap hand playing, but always supporting the song. On this tight rhythm section the guitarist easily lays his melodic riffs. A band which hopefully get the chance to make it. The fans appreciated their efforts and will keep them in mind well.
Next on the running order were Wicked Maraya. The New Yorkers are playing more progressive metal with speed metal elements. Shouter Lou Falcon acts very stagy, his clear voice transport the meaning of the songs from their debut Cycles to the listeners. You hear that the band is together for a long time. The guys are on the track for about 8 years. The guitarists are playing twin guitar lines like they never did something else. The Wicked Maraya played all songs from their debut and really heat up the followers.
Late evening around a quarter past 10 p.m. the intro of Metal Church resound. From the first note of the classical theme the fans shouted "Metal Church, Metal Church!" First drummer Kirk Arington, a fan of the basketball team Seattle Supersonics, showed up. When the other members enter the audience cheer even louder. Metal Church start their engines with full power and a 145 minutes long set begins. Mike Howe had the audience in the power of his hands from the very first moment. Howe runs from side to side and build up a strong relation to the front rows. With the first tune the hall turned crazy. John Marshall and Craig Wells, the guitarists beside four-stringer Duke act like their lives been on stake. The immense power from the rhythm section tighten up with the strong guitars and the outstanding voice of Mike Howe make the time fly. Songs like Losers In The Game, Gods Of Second Chance or Down The River beside old tunes made this something special, the fans sing along, even the newest tracks. The band didn't hesitate to go back to their first days and play songs from the debut and The Dark, which both been recorded with the former singer. Blessing In Disguise up to tunes from The Human Factor and Hanging In The Balance are the home of Mike Howe. At the end the band and the fans were really done. And to the spectators it must be a miracle that this band didn't make their way like Metallica did. Metal Church started with them and others of these days been over their climax or broke up. I believe that everyone in the hall wish the band the success they deserve. Good luck and don't wait to long until the next opus and tour!



Claudia Ehrhardt

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