Formed in San Francisco in 1980, Metal Church consisted of vocalist David Wayne, guitarists Kurdt Vanderhoof and Craig Wells, bassist Duke Erickson, and drummer Kirk Arrington.
Their 1985 self-titled debut album, recorded when the thrash/speed metal genre was still evolving, made a huge splash on the scene, as did its follow-up, The Dark. However, the band really hit its stride when Wayne left and was replaced by Mike Howe on 1989's Blessing in Disguise; Vanderhoof left after the album due to his dislike of touring and was replaced by Metallica guitar tech John Marshall. Vanderhoof remained the group's designated composer on 1991's The Human Factor, possibly the band's most socially conscious album yet. However, the advent of alternative rock and problems with their record label contributed to a loss of direction on 1993's Hanging in the Balance, and Metal Church ended up disbanding. In 1999, the group's original lineup -- Wayne, Vanderhoof, Wells, Erickson, and Arrington -- reunited and released the album Masterpeace. The ensuing years saw the group undergoing numerous lineup changes and assorted members tending to other projects. In 2004, the band issued their seventh full-length LP, the critically acclaimed Weight of the World, which marked the debut of new vocalist Ronny Munroe. Tragically, former vocalist David Wayne died the following year from complications resulting from a car accident. 2006's A Light in the Dark included a re-recording of 1986's "Watch the Children Pray" as a tribute to their fallen comrade. Shortly after the release of 2009's This Present Wasteland, the band announced that they would be going their separate ways once again. A reunion show in 2012 eventually led them back to the studio. The resulting Generation Nothing, their tenth studio long-player, arrived the following year, and the aptly named XI appeared in early 2016, marking the return of vocalist Mike Howe. A concert album culled from the XI tour featuring Howe appeared the following year under the title Classic Live. Continuing their prolific run, they issued their 12th set, Damned If You Do, in late 2018. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi