Metal Church! I’ve had this cassette for many years. A few years back I finally updated to CD. This one never gets old! Let’s break it down…
Metal Church’s debut album was released by the independent Ground Zero Records (GZ002) on LP and cassette in 1984. The cassette included a bonus track, Big Guns. In the gallery section below I’ve included a photo of the merchandise/fan club LP insert for the Ground Zero release which included an official Metal Church neck brace! I want one! The Ground Zero picks presented in the gallery section were taken from a cool site called mygalleryofrockandmetal.blogspot.com.
In Europe, SPV/Steamhammer (a German label) released the LP with the same bonus track in ’84 (catalog SH 0023 / SPV 08-1842). I’m not sure if Steamhammer released a cassette version.
In 1984, the Canadian label, Banzai, (on license from Steamhammer) released the LP (no bonus track) and cassette (with bonus track) as BRC-1933 and BRC4-1933, respectively.
Evidently, sales of the original releases were brisk because Elektra signed the band to a contract. In 1985 Elektra released remastered versions of Metal Church on LP (60471-1) and cassette (60471-4). A CD version (60471-2) appeared some time later (I’m not sure of the exact year). The CD is still in print and is easy to find.
Gallery (click to enlarge):
- Ground Zero Records was started by Jeff Gilbert, a local record store employee in the Seattle area. The store was called “Pennylane Records”. The only other album on Ground Zero Records (that I know of) was a compilation called Northwest Metalfest (GZ001). This compilation included a Metal Church track called Death Wish which does not appear on Metal Church.
- The Ground Zero LP release had the message “Hi Biff!” carved on the vinyl (see above for a pic). This is said to be a reference to a dog named Biff. (Thanks to Keith for providing the photo evidence.)
- The original album master was done by Ron Luder. Jack Skinner remastered the album for Elektra.
- Another non-LP track by Metal Church appeared in 1984. A track called The Brave was included on Metal Blade’s Metal Massacre V compilation.
- Metal Church was produced by the band with Terry Date. This is one of the earliest production credits in Terry Date’s long career. He would go on to work on dozens of memorable rock and metal albums with bands such as Overkill, Pantera, and Soundgarden.
- The Metal Church bonus track, Big Guns, is available for free download from the official Metal Church website (metalchurchmusic.com). There are a few other downloadable nuggets on the site including three of the four tracks from their Four Hymns demo tape (a recording that pre-dates Metal Church).
- Metal Church vocalist David Wayne passed away in May 2005, a few months after an automobile accident.
My Worthless Opinion: Back when I had a car with a cassette deck, this tape got its fair share of action. I always played side one a lot more than side two. Beyond The Black and Gods of Wrath are particular faves. Side two is a bit weaker with the exception of the awesome Hitman and Battalions. I always wished that David Wayne would have used his ‘clean’ voice a bit more. He only used it in Gods of Wrath and Battalions. It should also be mentioned that the drumming (by Kirk Arrington), and the sound of the drums (the production) are excellent on this album. You can really feel the drums pounding in your chest when you play this one loud! My score: A