Badlands

  

The penultimate band for a little bit of a Dynamo Metal Festival insight comes from heavy metal band Metal Church. They found a home within the 80’s thrash scene, but they always seemed to be more of a straight ahead metal band rather than having the speed and aggression of the trash bands at the time. Their inclusion within the thrash fraternity obviously stems from their links with Metallica during the mid to late 80’s. 

As mentioned back in May I was hoping to see them in London – yet another one off UK date in the Big Smoke. It always bewilders me how Londoners gets all the touring shows. Obviously it’s the largest city in Britain with a commuter catchment area of almost 14 million people. But the Underworld where they took to the stage only has a capacity of 500 or so and line many metal gigs I don’t think it sold out, or if it did it wasn’t until later on the day. When a band like this hits the nation they deserve better than 500 in a subterranean venue. It was their first indoor appearance for 25 years and only their second here since 1991. 

I know people now are getting wary about the increased additions to a ticket price that sometimes work out more expensive than risking paying on the door. Or as stated earlier a deluge of multiple gigs on consecutive evenings. Over the Easter weekend of 2015 I was in London for the Thanatos show at the Black Heart. Right across the road Moonspell were in the Underworld and there was another show by a band who’s name escapes me at a further venue within a two miles. 

In the first three years of high school we used to have the outsides of our exercise books covered to “protect” them. I’m not sure if it was just our school or a national thing, but off cuts of wall paper were always put to one side for use as book coverings. This was also the same time I was getting into music so for some classes I’d eventually use band posters from magazines. For these three years I also had a compulsory religious education class once a week. I can remember wrapping my RE book in a Metal Church poster that was included in issue 6 of Mega Metal Kerrang! I though it was a bit rebellious at the time, but scouring the internet for the image some 29 years later it looks a rather lame. 
  

Badlands is taken from their third album Blessing In Disguise which was the first album to feature frontman Mike Howe. He ended up being in the band until their 1994 split and rejoined for the most recent opus XI. 

 

Live Arena 2016.18

Could I be clocking up the miles next week? 

Dear diary…

Monday – Manchester, Sound Control

On what is slated to be a hot day in the UK I’ll be spending five hours or so inside the sweltering Sound Control for an evening of black metal, death metal and thrash. 

  
Tuesday – London, Underworld

I so want to be here on Tuesday night, not necessarily for headliners Metal Church who I get to see in July anyway, but for opening bands Distilator from Holland and Belgians Bliksem who I only caught a few minutes of when they supported Flotsam & Jetsam last year. 

  
Friday – Sheffield, Corporation

Friday sees my first show in Sheffield since I saw Anthrax in the same venue back in 2006. The city is only 50 miles or so away, but it’s all twisting and turning roads over the Pennines. Headlining tonight are reactivated Yorkshire thrashers Amnesia who I never saw first time around. Time to dig out their sole album Unknown Identity from 1991. 

  
Saturday – Hull, O’Reilys

For £6 I couldn’t not buy a ticket to see Re-Animator in a home town show. The band are headlining Hail The Riff all dayer with bands from a more doom and sludge background. Possibly my first gig in Hull too. 

  
Sunday – Northampton, Roadmenders

A bit undecided on day two of this weekend festival. The last three bands on the second stage are Freebase, Warwound and Knuckledust – all bands I consider to be friends, so it’ll be good catching up with some familiar faces. A near two hour drive home though not so welcoming. 

  

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.