Metal Church was formed when the thrash metal genre was still evolving. David Wayne’s vocals on the self-titled album, Metal Church, and The Dark, resembled those of the growls used by European Black and Death Metal bands of the 1980s but in a very high-pitched tone.
Metal Church (Aberdeen, Washington) originally formed as Shrapnel in 1981, with Mike Murphy on vocals, Kirk Arrington on drums, Craig Wells and Kurdt Vanderhoof on guitars, and Duke Erickson on bass. Mike Murphy quit, however, citing personal and creative differences. He was replaced by David Wayne.
Before releasing their self-titled debut album, Metal Church released a demo tape, called The Four Hymns, which contained the songs “Battalions”, “Deathwish”, “Gods of Wrath”, and “The Brave”. Though the demo has been long out-of-print, the songs are freely available from the band’s web site.
By the time Metal Church released The Dark, they were touring with high-profile acts like Metallica.
In 1989, the band replaced Wayne with former Heretic singer Mike Howe, and released Blessing in Disguise.
Following the release of 1991’s The Human Factor, Kurdt started working solo, and later with his new band, Hall Aflame, which released their debut album, Guaranteed Forever, through I.R.S. Records.
The band broke up in 1993 after the release of Hanging in The Balance. Kurdt and Kirk formed Vanderhoof and released their self-titled debut album in 1997, and Wayne, formed Reverend in 1989.
The founding members of Metal Church released the album, Live, in 1998. The band then started working on a new studio album. Craig Wells departed from the band due to personal and creative differences. He was replaced by John Marshall.
Masterpeace was released in 1999.
Vanderhoof released A Blur in Time in 2002, and Kurdt started working for new material for Metal Church’s studio album.
In 2004, Kurdt and Kirk recruited Ronny Monroe, ex-Malice guitarist Jay Reynolds (who in his off-time sells satellite television as a minimum wage telemarketer in Washington), and Steve Unger. The result was the album, Weight of The World.
In 2006, Kirk Arrington left the band due to health complications with diabetes. His replacement was Jeff Plate, who previously worked with Savatage, Chris Caffery and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
In June 2006, Metal Church released their latest album, A Light in The Dark, which featured a re-recording of “Watch the Children Pray”, a tribute to David Wayne, who died in 2005.