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Review: Metal Church - A Light in the Dark
Metal Church
www.metalchurchofficial.com
A Light in the Dark

Label: SPV
Year released: 2006
Duration: 60:26
Tracks: 11
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: March 28, 2008
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
for:
A Light in the Dark

Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (16 Votes)
Review


I wasn't all that impressed with The Weight of the World, which featured new vocalist Ronny Munroe, so I was a bit skeptical about A Light in the Dark.  Well, this is much, much better.  I recall reading in interviews a couple of years ago that the band was aiming for a "return to form" - i.e. a sound closer to their early material, and while A Light in the Dark is not as good as their first three albums (which are all among my all-time favourite albums), it certainly is closer to the old school than their other output in the past 10+ years.  This is the second album with Munroe, and he sounds more at home on it, and overall his voice fits the harder, slightly rawer music pretty well.  Some of the vocal melodies make me cringe, however, especially the chorus on "Beyond All Reason" which is simply beyond redemption.  If it weren't for that, it would be an excellent song, as it is musically great with lots of catchy hooks interspersed with more dark-sounding elements quite reminiscent of early Metal Church.  On the rest of the album, Munroe is almost without reproach and does a great, when not excellent job.  Despite having only Vanderhoof as an original member, this album sounds and feels like it was made from the same mold as the first couple of albums with a good balance of power ballads, mid-paced and faster, heavier and rocking, Church-catchy songs, all with a healthy dose of heavy and abrasive yet melodic guitar work making it feel like it's the 80s all over again (and you sure as hell won't hear me complain about this. :))

The last song is a new version of "Watch the Children Pray", a tribute to the late David Wayne.  This is one of my favourite songs by the band, so I wasn't too fond of the idea of a re-recording in the first place.  This new version is not all that different in that there are no drastic changes save for some vocal melodies, but not only are the vocals a bit dull and powerless on this one, but this version just doesn't have the same power as the original. In the end, we get a stinker-free album with 11 good-to-excellent songs proving that Metal Church are still alive and kicking.  Let's hope that there won't be a long hiatus before the next album.


Track Listing:
  1. A Light in the Dark
  2. Beyond All Reason
  3. Mirror of Lies
  4. Disappear
  5. The Believer
  6. Temple of the Sea
  7. Pill for the Kill
  8. Son of the Son
  9. More Than Your Master
  10. Blinded by Life
  11. Watch the Children Pray 2006
Other related information on the site
Review: Blessing in Disguise (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Hanging in the Balance (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Masterpeace (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Metal Church (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Dark (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Weight of the World (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: This Present Wasteland (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: XI (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Interview with guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof on July 13, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Video: Badlands
Video: Watch the Children Pray
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