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Music / Metal Church

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In the blood since 1980.

Metal church, unholy, who'll be the sacrifice
Metal church, the only, don't you know the time is right
Metal church will find you, can't run very far
Metal church inside you, knows just who you are
— "Metal Church"

Metal Church are a power metal band from Seattle, United States. While they started off as a band bordering on Thrash Metal in The '80s, they eventually eased into American Power Metal after a short while. Their lyrics also changed over that period, from scares and nightmares, to social issues.


  • Metal Church (1984)
  • The Dark (1986)
  • Blessing In Disguise (1989)
  • Human Factor (1991)
  • Hanging In The Balance (1993)
  • Masterpeace (1999)
  • The Weight Of The World (2004)
  • A Light In The Dark (2006)
  • This Present Wasteland (2008)
  • Generation Nothing (2013)
  • XI (2016)
  • Damned If You Do (2018)
  • Congregation of Annihilation (2023)

The band and their music includes examples of:

  • Audience Participation Song: They have a few, notably "Metal Church", "Start the Fire", "Fake Healer", "Badlands" and "The Human Factor".
  • Badass Boast : In "Metal Church", the quote at the top of this page.
  • Badasses Wear Bandanas: Bassist Duke Erickson, in the band's early years.
  • Burial at Sea: One of the song titles from The Dark (1986). They also did a song on the sinking of the Titanic ("Rest In Pieces (April 15, 1912") from Blessing In Disguise).
  • Blood Knight: The hitman from the song of the same name in their first album.
  • Chronological Album Title: XI is their eleventh album.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive/Politician: Songs are written about them in albums starting from Blessing In Disguise (1989).
  • Cover Version: "Highway Star" by Deep Purple, on their debut album.
  • Doctor Jerk: "Fake Healer" from Blessing In Disguise (1989). This doctor will work only for big money, and has no qualms about letting poor patients die if they can't pay him.
    You're dying on a stretcher
    We'll try to save your life
    If you can't afford my service
    I will let you die!
  • Driven to Suicide: The central character or narrator in "Gods of Second Chance" from Hanging In The Balance (1993). Except that he's having second thoughts about it and wants to be heard. Likely a case of Interrupted Suicide without someone else interrupting.
  • '80s Hair: Some band members took this even into the nineties, especially vocalist Mike Howe. Averted with Kurdt Vanderhoof, even in The '80s.
  • Epic Rocking: At over seven minutes a song-
    • "Anthem to the Estranged" and "Badlands" from Blessing in Disguise (1989).
    • "In Harms Way" from The Human Factor(1991).
    • "Little Boy" and "End of the Age" from Hanging in the Balance (1993).
    • "Madman's Overture" from The Weight Of The World (2004)
    • "Temples at Sea" from A Light in the Dark (2006).
    • "Deeds of a Dead Soul" from This Present Wasteland (2008).
  • Evil Laugh: "Metal Church" has this at the beginning.
  • Fading into the Next Song: "Beyond The Black" → "Metal Church", from Metal Church (1984).
  • Fan Disservice: The utterly ugly cover for Hanging In The Balance. Do NOT look it up.
  • Gratuitous Panning: The opening to "Rest In Pieces (April 15, 1912)" from Blessing In Disguise, which fades in for a long time.
  • Heavy Meta: "Metal Church" in the first album, in a dark way. The band averts this trope otherwise.
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: Their albums often feature a Gibson Explorer guitar with a cruciform neck.
    • Covers Always Lie: They don't use that brand of guitar often. Their preferred brand is the Gibson Les Paul, in recordings, live performances and video shoots.
  • I Am the Band: Kurdt Vanderhoof is Metal Church. He's either featured in all the lineups as a player, or as a songwriter.
  • Metal Scream: All vocalists have made extensive use of a Type 4. David Wayne was the most famous, but Mike Howe and Ronny Munroe have been just as capable.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The conductor from the song of the same name from Hanging In The Balance (1993).
  • Power Ballad: "Gods of Wrath", "Watch the Children Pray", "Badlands", "Anthem to the Estranged", and at least one per album. Most of them cross over with Epic Rocking, given their length.
  • Power Metal: Their chosen style, although their first two albums have traces of Thrash Metal in them.
  • Rated M for Manly: With a brain, as their socially-conscious lyrics often suggest.
  • Revolving Door Band: None of the band members have stayed in all the lineups.
    • The Mentor: Not even Kurdt Vanderhoof, a founding member. For a few years, he was in the band merely as a songwriter, not as a player.
    • The Big Guy: John Marshall, the guitarist from the Blessing In Disguise lineup, who played in four albums, stands 6'7" tall.
  • Self-Titled Album: Metal Church (1984), with a title song "Metal Church".
  • Sinister Minister: "This Spell Can't Be Broken" from Blessing In Disguise (1989) features one, who has a Cult following.
  • Vocal Evolution: Ronny Munroe started with a rougher, grittier tone before gradually expanding his higher range to the point where he sounded like a somewhat rawer David Wayne by Generation Nothing. Averted with Mike Howe, whose style and voice has not changed in the slightest between Hanging in the Balance and XI.