There are a couple of people who constantly shout “Get on with it!” and “Play some songs” throughout this gig. It’s odd, because US classic metallers Metal Church do precisely this, and the vast majority here are totally immersed in the experience. Opening with the combustible Fake Healer, the band inevitably build the set around the two Mike Howe eras, with the vocalist showing his class and depth, emphasising the groove and melody that has always been the Church hallmark. There are four songs from current album XI, with No Tomorrow and Reset a match for established numbers like In Mourning and Date With Poverty. There are nods to the band’s early days through Start The Fire and the yearning Watch The Children Pray, the latter retaining its special allure for the crowd. The main set ends with the riff rage of Beyond The Black, as the band show off an ability to generate pace. Metal Church have never had the success or stature accorded many of their contemporaries, but on this form, few can deny they are among the best metal bands around. A timeless performance.
Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.