Metal Church - Generation Nothing
Rat Pak Records
Heavy Metal
10 songs (53' 10")
Release year: 2013
Metal Church
Reviewed by Andy
Major event

Metal Church was one of my favorite 80s heavy metal bands; their first two albums were true classics in my opinion, and there was a point during my college days when the music blasting out of my car at could almost always be attributed to them. True, that was their high point, but I have fond memories of even their latest albums, so it was definitely a downer to hear they'd decided to call it least, until founding guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof reported that not only were they getting back together, but they were working on a brand new full-length. Now released, Generation Nothing proves to be a good example of the latter-day Metal Church work, which is to say that though sadly, it's unlikely to be a classic like Metal Church or The Dark, it still sounds very good.

For one hoping for the grittier, harsher sound of those early albums, the album is mixed a little too smoothly for one's comfort, but the classic palm-mute-laden riffs on opener Bullet Proof, its hostile, bad-tempered lyrics, and -- best of all -- some actual screams from singer Ronnie Munroe quickly make it more palatable. Vanderhoof's riffing suffers slightly from the smooth mix, but he was one of the top rhythm guitarists of the 80s and easily demolishes such a pitiful obstacle. Munroe is not as gritty or fierce as David Wayne, he never was, but his voice is eerily similar occasionally (a good thing), and at all times is pleasant to hear, blending very well with the band's signature sound. Another thing that one appreciates a lot on here is his energetic delivery, which is especially welcome on Dead City, a fast but short song that might otherwise be somewhat lacking, and in the title track, which is pretty content-free in terms of both riffs and lyrical content, but gets a boost from his ground-out vocals that operate somewhere between a Mustaine-style sneer and a Halfordian scream.

Noises in the Wall, starting out softly but quickly becoming much heavier, turns out out to be one of the best tracks on the album, reminiscent of their earlier work; even when the track slows down for a slower and quieter interlude and meanders through different melodies as if it were several songs stuck together, it's good to hear in every part, and I found myself liking Munroe's vocals yet more. He can make even clean vocals sound strong and heroic enough to make them at home on a heavy metal track, but when the song requires a harsher turn, he can also scream like a cat whose tail just got stepped on. This goes for a delightful eight minutes before getting followed by the mid-tempo and somewhat uninteresting Jump the Gun, followed by the still mid-tempo-but-more-interesting Suiciety, which is harder, heavier, and simply more energetic.

Another band I reviewed this week used the opportunity of being this far into the album to dump a bunch of filler tracks in, but though Metal Church certainly has their own formula, one can't accuse them of putting any filler in this album; some of these songs are better, some worse, but all stand on their own merits. Scream is faster, more complex, with paranoid lyrics and a nice solo, while Hits Keep Comin' (I love that title for some reason) is slower, with a more deliberate beat and riff on the verses, and, for some reason, a lot of clean-guitar breaks. Close to the Bone is completely different; drummer Jeff Plate gives it a regular, swinging beat, matched perfectly by Vanderhoof's beautifully precise palm-muting. The final track, The Media Horse (you pronounce the "s" like a "z"), is a little less palatable for me. It's a decent song, played with gusto by all concerned, but the lyrics, which consist of (from what I can tell) a criticism of the influence of dumbed-down TV on people, are dumb and rather cliched (nobody's said TV made people dumber before, right?); there were so many better ones on the album that it seems like this wasn't the powerful ending an album like this deserved.

Overall, however, Generation Nothing makes for an fine album. The songwriting's varied and interesting, the band seems fresher and more energetic after their hiatus, and it's nice to see that despite the slightly smoother mix, Metal Church's service isn't yet at the point where the congregation should leave the pews.

Killing Songs :
Bullet Proof, Noises in the Wall, Scream, Close to the Bone
Andy quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Metal Church that we have reviewed:
Metal Church - Metal Church reviewed by Cory and quoted Classic
Metal Church - Hanging In the Balance reviewed by Thomas and quoted 83 / 100
Metal Church - This Present Wasteland reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
Metal Church - A Light In The Dark reviewed by Mike and quoted 90 / 100
Metal Church - The Dark reviewed by Mike and quoted 95 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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