West coast metal veterans Metal Church will release their 12th full length studio album, Damned If You Do, via Rat Pak Records on December 7th. The album will also be available in Europe via Nuclear Blast and Japan via King Records.
Vocalist Mike Howe spoke with MyGlobalMind about the new album. An excerpt from the interview follows:
Robert Cavuoto: In 2016 I spoke to (guitarist) Kurdt (Vanderhoof) about your return to the band and was he excited to be back to the more melodic side of the music from your era. Tell about that ability to merge metal with melody and its importance to Metal Church’s sound.
Mike Howe: “It’s not something we think about. I come in with a guttural and instinctual feeling towards the music. The way we write is Kurdt comes up with the song structures; about 20 songs for each CD. Then we go to his home studio where he plays me songs and asks which ones move me. From there I start belting out whatever melodies that come to mind. We always try to keep it natural and organic. That’s how it works for us, if you are true to your emotions I think it translates to the fans.”
Robert Cavuoto: “Rot Away” is a perfect example of that combination; can you tell me about the origins of that song?
Mike Howe: “It’s a heavy metal angst driven song turned to eleven. The purpose of metal is to get it out, scream it out, and then feel better about your life. When I go into the studio, the lyrical ideas begin to come to mind, and that inspiration for that song just comes out. ‘Rot Away’ was one of those phrases that came out. If I didn’t scream out enough words that make sense, then we backfill it with lyrics [laughing].”
Read the full interview at MyGlobalMind.com.
Damned If You Do is the follow-up to Metal Church’s 2016 album, XI, which saw the return of legendary frontman Mike Howe. Damned If You Do is a cross between the band’s iconic Blessing In Disguise and The Human Factor.
This new offering features ten fully-charged, classic-metal influenced songs that showcase the sound that has garnered the band a solid fanbase for over three decades.
Kurdt Vanderhoof comments, “I feel this album is a very powerful statement to what Metal Church has always been about. A tough and aggressive old school metal album while maintaining a level of musicality and melodic sensibilities”.
Damned If You Do also features new drummer Stet Howland (ex-W.A.S.P./Lita Ford). Stet first arrived after the departure of long-time drummer Jeff Plate, but soon after joining the band was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Miraculously his treatments for the aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma worked and he was able to begin recording the new album.
Speaking of the new album Stet Howland comments, “From the minute we started tracking this new CD, I had the feeling that it was going to be something special. I knew that I was going to do my best to deliver a top drum performance, not only because of the high standard set by past Metal Church drummers, but also because this is my first CD release after being sick. I’m beyond happy with all aspects of this CD, great songs, great performances, great production, just an overall great CD! I love it!”
Damned If You Do is something truly unique and special. The songs are powerful, precise, and Metal Church’s musical vision is unified. From the haunting opener “Damned If You Do” to the final hard-edged track “The War Electric,” this new album is sure to resonate with fans from the band’s early years while garnering new ones. Songs like “By The Numbers,” “Guillotine” and “The Black Things” are sure to become instant favourites.