If there is a prototype fort he expression “US Power Metal”, then it is definitely METAL CHURCH. After the once in a lifetime album “Metal Church” it was clear that they would not be able to duplicate that. But still the second album “The Dark” left a more than good impression. The primordial force of the debut had been replaced by a more controlled sound eruption. In the mean time vocal god David Wayne had to leave, as the band thought that his charismatic voice would hinder a commercial breakthrough.
But as METAL CHURCH could not find a suited follow-up the repentant sinners brought the high priest of Metal back into the church ship. A wise decision, because once more the vocals gave the album the finishing touch. With the opening duo “Ton Of Bricks“ and “Start The Fire“ they unleash a true hell storm assaulting your ears to give the listener the first breather only with the intense semi ballad “Watch The Children Pray“.
The rest of the songs does not put through its melodies and catchiness with the sledgehammer, but are a lot more subtle. Set out in smaller doses, hymns such as the damn coolly rocking title track, the straight “Over My Dead Body”, the equally arse kicking “Psycho” or the mid tempo grenade “Burial As Sea” and “Western Alliance” that stands in one line with the greatest JUDAS PRIEST speedsters, just work better in the long run. (Online June 13, 2004)