Watch The Children Pray


Last nights ill fated Gorguts show went ahead after a string of mishaps between Belgium and Manchester. We arrived at Sound Control around 7:15, just as the first band should have been going on, perfect timing. This ended up being almost an hour before the bands had even reached the venue. Due to the storm ravaging the UK yesterday the four band touring party had been held up on the ferry for six hours, the crossing itself is generally an hour. That delay was further compounded by excessive bank holiday traffic and the inevitable motorway accidents. The show went off well with all bands playing ultimately shortened sets and going over curfew. Regrettably tonight’s show in Glasgow had to be cancelled thanks to a local moron smashing a window on the touring bus.

On the way back I gave XI, the latest release from Metal Church a spin in the car. I don’t know why, but they are a band that has seemingly passed me by – apart from the classic sophomore album The Dark.  Since their inception in 1980 they have released 11 studio albums, but I have never waited with anticipation for any release by them.

In that time though they’ve had two dozen members through their ranks and called it quits twice. Their history is a very muddled mess. Jumping forward to 2016 their latest album was recorded with Mike Howe on vocals for the first time in 23 years.

The band have had many ties with Metallica over the years. Drummer Lars Ulrich had an audition with a formative Metal Church line up. Ulrich and James Hetfield helped the band to get signed to their label at the time Elektra. John Marshall was their guitarist for a decade, he has also been Kirk Hammett’s guitar tech and replaced Hetfield twice when he was injured through a skateboarding accident and when he received burns on stage in Montreal. Jason Newstead’s first Metallica gig was supporting Metal Church in Reseda in 1986.

Famously they played London’s Marquee Club in 1990 and had a band called Vertigo opening for them. Apparently there were a few excited murmurings in the crowd when people noticed a small Danish flag protruding from the drum kit. The nine song Metallica set was a warm up show for an eight date European arena run.

I’ve only seen the band once, ten years ago at the Bloodstock Festival – their first appearance here since 1991. They are on a European tour in May which includes a solitary London date on a Tuesday evening, so for me that looks highly unlikely. Fortunately though they are playing the Dynamo Metal Festival in July, which I have a ticket for.


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