You know with a title like 'Gloom Factory' about what you are gonna get. Yep, heavy stuff with a doomy edge. That about sums it up. The album embraces some influences of yesterday and some from today. Lots of double bass on this album with some tuned down heavy guitar rhythms. What separates this band from alot of the others out there is the vocalist. Al Mead reminds me a bit of Brad Divens from Wrathchild America. You kind of get the drift. I also want to point out that this album isn't all doom-core like though. It leans a bit thrashy, but tends to sound more modern due to that tuned down guitar sound I mentioned. Looking at the music on the album, it's not too bad. The album opens up with the intro 'The Gloom Factory' which tears into 'Doom Gloom' which in the title itself is kinda funny. It's fairly thrashy as mentioned and sets the tempo of what is to come. 'Technophobic' is cool due to the rhythms. Has a cool dark vibe and I like the vocals quite well on this track. Other tracks that I felt stood out on the album included 'Romper Stomper' with it's bit of humor and catchy rhythm work, 'Emotional Debris' due to it's catchy nature for such a heavy song, 'All Grey' which comes off sounding a bit like Iron Maiden probably due to the bass work but gets much heavier, and 'Empowered Hate' for just sounding good and thrashy. For songs I was not to sure about I would include 'Comfortably Numb'. Yes, it is the Pink Floyd penned track, but it is a bit brutal to work for me. You just have to hear it to know what I mean. The way this band embraces humor in places has me still guessing whether it was meant to be serious. Oh well. Don't stop listening after that song however due to the hidden track. Clocks in around 30 minutes and has a few different tracks in that space of time. The first hidden track is a bit crude, but humorous nonetheless. The second track is the live track 'Doom Generation'. Not bad and quite raw obviously. The next track will have you laughing your ass off. I call it the live pissed off version of the traditional Christmas classic 'Silent Night'. Next up is 'Tear it Up' which does exactly that and continues the live portion of the hidden tracks. Must've been Christmas because we get another cheese version of 'The Little Drummer Boy'. The live music continues, but the point to be made is that there is alot of extra stuff not shown in the track lineup. It's like two albums in one.
I went into this album not really knowing what to expect as I had not had the chance to hear these guys until now. What I cam away with was a very entertaining listen. The band definitely embrace Thrash the way it used to played...fast. They do have a slow down or two but come across effective. The album isn't necessarily groundbreaking, but is fun for those who are into the heavier side of metal. It is also alot of bang for the buck due to the quantity of what's here. Nicely done!
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Reviewed by Dave Palmer
Just when you thought these guys may be finished, they come back to make another statement. The statement is that they have plenty more to say. Some fans will wonder if it works due to the addition of the bands third vocalist Ronny Munroe. Well, I think it does. Munroe is a decent cross between David Wayne and Mike Howe. In the fold also is ex-Malice guitarist Jay Reynolds. I was particularly pleased with this due to the fact I was a big fan of Malice in the 80's. As far as the music is concerned, it's quite good. You really have to go into this album letting it come across on it's own merits. I didn't feel that it was more like one of Metal Church's previous albums than the other. It kind of stands on it's own. There are some faster rockers like the opener 'Leave Them Behind' which is one of my favorites or 'Hero's Soul' which is the most Metal Church sounding to me on the album. There are also some more thought out tracks if I may say that. I guess it may sound better to say that some of them have more depth. Kind of like 'Watch the Children Pray' or something like that. Tracks that I am talking about include 'Madman's Overture' or 'Sunless Sky'. 'Wings of Tomorrow' is another favorite of mine. Well thought out and delivered. I think alot of fans will be surprised at the quality of the material on the album. I didn't find much in the way of weakness here. The only thing that fans may quote as weakness is the fact that there are only 2 original members in this lineup of the band. I went in wondering pretty heavy about that, but with the caliber of musicians and the fact that Vanderhoof was one of the larger forces in writing with Metal Church should put your mind to ease. He writes on about every track on the album. The trademark sound of the band is still intact.
I think that if fans go into this album with an open mind, they are gonna walk away fairly happy. The new singer, Munroe lands fairly close in style to both previous singers without being a clone of either. Good cross I think. The music is plenty strong enough to stand on it's own merits.The core Metal Church sound is intact with only minor differences. I like anyone else was skeptical going in due to their only being 2 original members, but was surprised at how much influence Vanderhoof and Arrington have had in the previous bands just by listening to this effort. Not the bands best effort but not the worst by any means either. Falls in line as a good effort by a great veteran band. Check it out!