Metal Church: Audio, Glasgow

25th June 2017

ian sutherland
Words and Pictures: Ian Sutherland

metal church

There was some discussion among my Metal Church loving friends as to whether the veteran American Metallers had played in Glasgow before. My own research can only find an Edinburgh date at the now defunct The Venue club in 1991 so far as visits to Scotland go.

This lack of appearances in Scotland explains why there is a sense of anticipation in the air from a healthy crowd in the city's cosy Audio club as the band launch into the pounding riffage of 'Fake Healer' at the start of their set.

Just as the crowd were roaring along with singer Mike Howe he gets the band to stop mid-song due to some technical issue, leaving a bit of an anticlimactic feel in the air. Once the hitch is sorted out though he simply says we'll start it from the top and the audience play along perfectly as if the snafu had never happened.

metal church

This actually sets the tone for the evening perfectly as this is an audience keen to enjoy the rare opportunity to hear these riffing, groovy Metal anthems in a live setting. It doesn't seem to matter that tonight's line up only has two members from the heydays of the eighties in guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof and frontman Howe. This is a celebration of the band, their history and the modern incarnation who released last year's excellent 'XII' album. In fact even former W.A.S.P. drummer Stet Howland, who only joined the band this year, is regaled with shouts of "legend" from the crowd.

So the audience were up for it and the band certainly responded in kind to that. Howe was an energetic frontman, with almost dance like moves sometimes to the dirty, meaty rhythms which underpin many of their tunes. He adds a still decent voice and a dry wit plus an authentic appreciation of what he's getting back from the assembled throng which just sits perfectly with the atmosphere being created.

metal church

Bassist Steve Unger brings the bottom end thunder while Ricky van Zandt adds some fine lead guitar to the proceedings. It has always been Vanderhoof's riff writing which has been the soul of this band though and that is proved tonight with some really cracking, memorable chord sequences among some quality songs. Whether it's the powerful force of new songs 'Killing Your Time' and 'Needle And Sutur' or the grandstanding rifferama of old school Metal in oldies 'Watch The Children Pray' and 'Badlands', they are greeted like old friends tonight.

Listening to Metal Church live here they were both a very good and a very likeable band, a group of musicians with style, substance and authenticity. Sound wise I really like what they do, but sitting somewhere between Thrash Metal and classic old school Metal is maybe why they never made it to the really big time back in the day. For every one who has persevered with them though, tonight is a terrific celebration of both their legacy and their future.

beer beer

beer beer beerbeerbeerbeer beer beerbeerbeer

Check out more of Ian Sutherland right here.

metal talk