Metal Church is an American heavy metal band. They originally formed in San Francisco, California in 1980 before relocating to Aberdeen, Washington the following year and briefly using the name Shrapnel. Their eponymous debut album was released in 1984, and their latest, XI, was released in 2016.
The band is credited as a formative influence on the thrash metal subgenre, melding the aesthetics of the new wave of British heavy metal and American hard rock with "incredibly tight musicianship" and "piercingly screeched" vocals. Early lyrical topics such as conflict and paranoia later expanded into philosophical and social commentary.
Founding guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof remained the group’s sole consistent creative force throughout its career, despite reducing his role strictly to composition in 1986 after tiring of performing. Vanderhoof, vocalist David Wayne, guitarist Craig Wells, bassist Duke Erickson, and drummer Kirk Arrington composed the group’s classic lineup featured on its first two records, while vocalist Mike Howe and guitarist John Marshall later contributed to the group’s sound. After releasing five full-length albums and touring extensively throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Metal Church disbanded in 1995. They reformed three years later with most of their classic lineup, including Vanderhoof’s return to performance, resulting in the Masterpeace album. They endured numerous lineup changes thereafter, releasing three further studio albums while fronted by Ronny Munroe before disbanding once again in July 2009. The group once again reunited in October 2012, and released their tenth studio album Generation Nothing a year later. Following Munroe’s departure in the fall of 2014, Howe rejoined Metal Church in April 2015 at Vanderhoof’s request, and recorded their eleventh studio album XI. Another lineup change took place in March 2017 when longtime drummer Jeff Plate left Metal Church and was subsequently replaced by former W.A.S.P. drummer Stet Howland.