I’m taking a page from Metal Mark at the Heavy Metal Time Machine and I’m going to do a theme week.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Graham Bonnet (ex-Rainbow, ex-MSG, Alcatrazz) lately, he’s one of my favorite singers. He’s also unknown to many Hard Rock/Metal fans out there. Not only has he worked with some of the best guitarists out there (Blackmore, Schenker, Malmsteen, Vai) he also has done some excellent solo material.
So for Graham Bonnet Week, I’m going to drum up an Album Review each day, highlighting Graham’s work with some of these legendary axe masters. I might also come up with a couple of other things relating to Graham.
Metal Church – A Light In The Dark (2006, SPV/Steamhammer)
- A Light In The Dark
- Beyond All Reason
- Mirror Of Lies
- The Believer
- Temples Of The Sea
- Pill For The Kill
- Son Of The Sun
- More Than Your Master
- Blinded By Life
- Watch The Children Pray 2006 (for David Wayne)
Ronny Munroe – Vocals
Kurdt Vanderhoof – Guitar & Keyboards
Jay Reynolds – Guitar
Steve Unger – Bass
Jeff Plate – Drums
Metal Church official website
Like many Metalheads, I started listening to Metal Church with the release of their classic self-titled debut way back in 1984. I also got into the follow-up record, The Dark (1986)…..another classic! Metal Church had made a serious name for themselves in a short period of time. Over the years, I haven’t really given the band much thought. I reach for the first two albums but subsequent releases like Hanging In The Balance or Masterpeace just left me looking for something from Metal’s past.
In 2004, with new vocalist Ronny Munroe at the helm, Kurdt and company released The Weight Of The World. I heard some bits and pieces but I never got around to buying it, the lineup changes and change of direction had turned me off.
Enter 2006. Another Metal Church record…..A Light In The Dark. I picked it up the day of release and let it sit in the pile. I pulled it out on vacation last week and gave it some spins. At first listen, I didn’t like it. The music was good but Munroe’s vocals bothered me it sounded like he was trying too hard, straining and forcing. After at least a dozen more listens, I’ve decided that Ronny Munroe has that grit, that roughness that makes the songs seem harder. Reminds me of original Metal Church vocalist David Wayne (R.I.P.) crossed with Tim Owens (ex-Judas Priest, current Iced Earth/Beyond Fear).
This album is a grower. There is some killer guitar here and the songwriting is OK. All in all…..a good album, not a classic. Fave tracks here: A Light In The Dark, Beyond All Reason, and Watch The Children Pray 2006. The good news is that the band has new life and has an eye for the future. Metal Church has also given me a reason to pick up The Weight Of The World and revisit everything after The Dark.