The Dark (Metal Church album)

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The Dark
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 6, 1986
StudioSteve Lawson Productions, Seattle, Washington
GenreThrash metal, power metal, speed metal
ProducerMark Dodson
Metal Church chronology
Metal Church
The Dark
Blessing in Disguise
Singles from The Dark
  1. "Start the Fire"
    Released: 1986
  2. "Watch the Children Pray"
    Released: 1986

The Dark is the second full-length album released by the American heavy metal band Metal Church. It was released on October 6, 1986 and was the last album featuring the group's classic lineup of David Wayne, Kurdt Vanderhoof, Kirk Arrington, Duke Erickson, and Craig Wells. 1999's Masterpeace album reunited the former four, with John Marshall replacing Wells.

Album information[edit]

The Dark talks of somber themes, such as assassination, death, struggle, rituals, and the supernatural: the lyrics from "Line of Death", for example, were based on Libyan hostilities in the Gulf of Sidra, while the band's title track involves the protagonist attempting to survive the night in an abandoned house with an evil, demonic entity stalking and attempting to drag him to hell. "Watch the Children Pray" became the band's first music video. The album was dedicated to the late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, who died nine days before its release. In order to promote The Dark, Metal Church supported Metallica and Anthrax on the Damage, Inc. Tour. They also opened for Megadeth, Anthrax and King Diamond.[1]

"Ton of Bricks" appears as the opening track in the Charlie Sheen movie No Man's Land (1987).

Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian has been quoted as saying that Mark Dodson's production work on this album inspired the band to work with him as the producer for their fourth album State of Euphoria (1988).[2]

Critical and commercial reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[3]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal7/10[4]
Kerrang!4/5 stars[5]
Rock Hard9.0/10[6]

Contemporary reviews for The Dark were mostly positive. Paul Miller of Kerrang! wrote that the passage to a major label inevitably compromised Metal Church's sound for "mass commercial acceptability", with the result that The Dark was not "as solidly hefty" as their "monstrously brilliant debut". However, the album was judged "impressive", revealing of a new side of the band in the song "Watch the Children Pray" and riding "a delicate balance of semi-Speed and lightweight material".[5] Rock Hard reviewer suspected that Metal Church had reached the peak of their creativity on their debut album and considered The Dark a little inferior, criticizing vocalist David Wayne's performance to the point of wishing that a personnel change would happen.[6]

Modern reviews are more critical. AllMusic's Eduardo Rivadavia states that the album shows a band "struggling with their direction and wrestling with internal problems" and, although its "first half contained some of the group's best material", its "second half pretty much stalls after the moderately interesting title track."[3] Canadian journalist Martin Popoff describes the album as "one half a very good record, one half filler" and Metal Church as a band "making solid cutting-edge metal that invariably sounded harsh, bitter and self-defetaed". He also reveals in his review that the band now sees the album as "woefully over-produced".[4]

In 2005, the album was ranked number 389 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[7]

The Dark entered the Billboard 200 chart on January 24, 1987. The album itself peaked at number 92 and remained on the chart for 23 weeks.[8]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by David Wayne, Kurdt Vanderhoof and Craig Wells, unless otherwise noted.

Side one
1."Ton of Bricks"Wayne, Vanderhoof, Wells, Duke Erickson, Kirk Arrington2:55
2."Start the Fire" 3:55
3."Method to Your Madness"Wayne, Vanderhoof, Wells, Mark Dodson4:52
4."Watch the Children Pray" 5:57
5."Over My Dead Body" 3:36
Side two
6."The Dark" 4:11
7."Psycho"Wayne, Vanderhoof, Wells, Arrington3:32
8."Line of Death"Wayne, Vanderhoof, Wells, Erickson, Arrington4:42
9."Burial at Sea" 4:58
10."Western Alliance" 3:18


Metal Church


  1. ^ "Metal Church Tour Dates". Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  2. ^ Scott Ian and Jon Weiderhorn (2014). I'm the Man: The Story of that Guy from Anthrax. Da Capo Press, p. 136
  3. ^ a b Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Metal Church - The Dark review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Popoff, Martin (November 1, 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. pp. 221–222. ISBN 978-1894959315.
  5. ^ a b Miller, Paul (October 30, 1986). "Metal Church - 'The Dark'". Kerrang!. No. 132. p. 25.
  6. ^ a b Trojan, Frank (1986). "Review Album: Metal Church - The Dark". Rock Hard (in German). No. 19. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  7. ^ [...], Rock Hard (Hrsg.). [Red.: Michael Rensen. Mitarb.: Götz Kühnemund] (2005). Best of Rock & Metal die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten. Königswinter: Heel. p. 53. ISBN 3-89880-517-4.
  8. ^ "Metal Church Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved October 19, 2012.

External links[edit]