The Hadesmetal YouTube channel has uploaded video of METAL CHURCH‘s September 27 concert at Goldfield in Roseville, California. Check out the clips below.
METAL CHURCH made its live debut with the band’s new vocalist Marc Lopes (ROSS THE BOSS, LET US PREY) on June 3 at the Legions Of Metal festival at Reggies in Chicago, Illinois.
Lopes joined METAL CHURCH in the summer of 2022 as the replacement for Mike Howe, who tragically passed away in July of 2021. The band’s current lineup is rounded out by founding guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof, guitarist Rick Van Zandt, bassist Steve Unger and drummer Stet Howland.
Lopes‘s first studio album with METAL CHURCH, “Congregation Of Annihilation”, came out on May 26 via Rat Pak Records (America) and Reaper Entertainment (Europe). The LP was produced by Vanderhoof.
In a recent interview with Chris Akin Presents, Lopes spoke about the inevitable barrage of criticism that he will receive as a result of stepping into the role previously occupied by Howe, David Wayne and Ronny Munroe. He said: “Being in ROSS THE BOSS (the band led by former MANOWAR guitarist Ross ‘The Boss’ Friedman), I have faced so much stupid bullshit from fans, from MANOWAR fans. At the beginning, it bothered me, years back. Now I can give two shits; I don’t fucking care. Because, you know what? If you fucking start worrying about what other people think, you’ll never get anywhere. And the way I look at it is, it’s, like, look, if you like it, great. If you don’t, then fucking go somewhere else. I don’t really give a shit. I know that I’m giving it everything that I have to do it and make it sound as best as possible. And if you don’t like it, why am I gonna sit here and try to fucking satisfy you? I don’t fucking care. I mean, obviously, if everybody fucking hates it, then probably I shouldn’t do the gig. But with much respect to the METAL CHURCH community, they’ve been amazing; they love this new stuff.
“I’ve gotta be honest — the anticipation is insane, and it’s making me more… I’m definitely nervous,” Marc admitted. “But at the same time, I’m, like, look, I’ve gotta go out and do my thing. And the reason that I was put in charge of doing this new era of the band was because I am putting my own spin on it. Am I gonna sound like David Wayne? Maybe in some aspects. Am I gonna sound like Mike Howe? Maybe in some aspects. Am I gonna sound like Marc Lopes? Abso-fucking-lutely. And that’s really what it comes down to.
“If this is my era of the band, then I have to do what I do best. Trying to imitate it isn’t gonna do anybody any good. And the funny thing is, Ronny Munroe is amazing — he’s a great vocalist — and he sounded more like David Wayne than me.
“I’ve gotta be honest: at first, I was, like, ‘Fuck, man. How am I gonna do this?’ (Then I was, like), ‘Wait a minute. You’re already approaching it wrong.’ Kurdt would always be, like, ‘You’re already approaching it wrong.’
“Those guys are not imitatable because they are who they are… And Ronny has his own style too, and the stuff that he did was great. It just was a weird era for the band, I think, in the totality part of it…
“I already know there are gonna be the haters,” Marc added. “And I don’t care. And for those people — if you wanna waste your time with that kind of shit, then go for it. There’s way more things to spend time on in life than being out there going, ‘I hate this.’ It’s kind of ridiculous.
“The biggest joke is I’m a huge IRON MAIDEN fan and I never liked the Blaze Bayley era. And we always used to joke about it. I was, like, I’m a huge MAIDEN fan. Do I spend my time going, ‘Oh my God. I hate that. And I hate this.’ It’s, like, why? I don’t listen to it. (Laughs) Not everybody’s gonna like everything you do. It’s just the way it is.”
When Lopes‘s addition to METAL CHURCH was first announced in early February, Vanderhoof wrote in a social media post: “We auditioned a handful of vocalists and while they were all great, Marc quickly became the clear choice.
“Both David Wayne and Mike Howe had a very unique, irreplaceable quality to their voices, so we were not looking for a clone of either. We wanted someone new, who could embrace the past, and also bring something fresh and exciting to the mix.
“Marc brings a very classic yet modern feel to the songs.”
In an interview with Heavy New York, Vanderhoof described “Congregation Of Annihilation” as “definitely more aggressive and more back to our thrash roots”. Regarding how the LP’s tougher sound came about, he said: “I had written an album. Mike and I had just started writing and working on a new album. So I wrote a new album. And Mike and I started the process of collaborating. And then, obviously, he passed away. Then there was a few months of trying to decide if I even wanted to continue. But then, when we decided to continue, it was kind of a step-by-step process. So when things started working with Marc, there was definitely much more aggressiveness in his vocals and his delivery, and that seemed like a good way to go. I didn’t want a Mike clone. If we were gonna continue, I wanted to kind of have it be another chapter — something a little bit different. Just a new phase — a new old phase, I guess you could say. So when that started happening, when things worked out with Marc, it was, like, ‘Okay, that’s definitely making the trajectory that we’re going.’ So a good batch of the songs that I wrote with Mike in mind fell by the wayside, and a part of the album was brand new material, to fit with our new direction.”
Asked if Marc adds a new dimension to the METAL CHURCH sound, Kurdt said: “Yeah, absolutely. He definitely brings his own thing to it. But he also very much honors the past and our sound and what METAL CHURCH musically is all about.”
Howe was found dead at his home in Eureka, California in July 2021. According to TMZ, Howe‘s official cause of death was determined to be asphyxia due to hanging. A spokesperson for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Dept. told the site authorities are calling it a suicide. He was only 55 years old.
According to police, drugs and alcohol are not believed to be factors in the death and no controlled substances or paraphernalia were located at the scene.
Howe, who fronted METAL CHURCH from 1988 until 1994, officially rejoined the band in April 2015.
Howe is not the first singer of METAL CHURCH to die. David Wayne passed away in May 2005 from complications following a car crash. He was 47 years old.
Wayne sang on METAL CHURCH‘s first two classic offerings (1984’s “Metal Church” and 1986’s “The Dark”) before leaving the group and being replaced by Howe.