From the Vault is the latest release from veteran US metal powerhouse Metal Church, and it's a compilation of sorts featuring a handful of new songs, leftover tracks from their last album, some live cuts, and a few covers. Fans of their most recent release Damned If You Do will feel right at home here, as the overall sound and feel of this one is very similar, starting off with the new tunes "Dead On the Vine", "For No Reason", "Conductor (Redux)", and "Above the Madness". "Dead On the Vine" gallops with driving rhythms and a never ending onslaught of heavy metal riffery, Mike Howe's voice on point as always, while both "For No Reason"" and "Conductor (Redux)" snarl & bash with powerful intensity, Howes vocals savage as ever (do I detect a little Blitz from Overkill?), and "Above the Madness" has some seriously tasty twin guitar harmonies and killer riffs. Honestly, if the band just released these four songs by themselves as an EP, I'd be perfectly happy...this is top notch Metal Church.
Next up are a selection of B-sides from the Damned If You Do sessions, starting off with "Mind Thief", which has some cool twin guitar harmonies but otherwise isn't overly special. This is followed by the metallic and quite groovy "Tell Lie Vision", and the even heavier "False Flag", which hits some recent Accept styled heights, complete with massive guitar crunch and a wailing Howe on the vocals. "Insta-Metal" is, you guessed it, an 'instrumental' featuring plenty of six string heroics from Kurdt Vanderhoof & Rick Van Zandt, while "432 Hz" is another instrumental, this time all with acoustic guitars. The band end of the album features some interesting covers, starting off with Nazareth's "Please Don't Judas Me", with Howe doing a great Dan McCafferty impression, a heavy metal take on Sugarloaf's "Green Eyed Lady", and a rousing version of Ram Jam's perennial favorite "Black Betty", which has been done to death but Metal Church kicks things up a notch and do a fine job with it. To finish things off you get live versions of their tracks "Agent Green" and "Anthem to the Estranged", both excellent.
Packed with plenty of new tracks, leftovers, live, and cover tunes, From the Vault is an excellent release from Metal Church as we await their next studio album of all new material.
1. Dead on the Vine
2. For No Reason
4. Above the Madness
5. Mind Thief
6. Tell Lie Vision
7. False Flag
8. Insta Mental
9. 432 Hz
10. Please Donâ€™t Judas Me (NAZARETH Cover)
11. Green Eyed Lady (SUGARLOAF Cover)
12. Black Betty (RAM JAM cover)
13. Agent Green (Live)
14. Anthem to the Estranged (Live)