by Martin Popoff
Metal Church’s Kurdt Vanderhoof has quietly and sometimes not-so-quietly been building a legend as one of metal’s great bricklayers, sweat-equity working the foundation of the genre through his main band, no-nonsense redneckers Hall Aflame and this class practical act. Originally released on import (Steamhammer/SPV) in ’97, Vanderhoof now arrives remastered for American shores, along with a bonus track previously available for Japan only, a blended and behooved cover of Purple classic “Burn” which makes great use of key pro Brian Cokeley’s expert grasp of historical tones, as well as hotshot vocalist Damon Albright and his Glenn Hughes pliability (bit of Dave Peverett in there, too). Truly worthy of reissue, Vanderhoof is a traditional, metallic smorg of expert sounds, slightly rural, slightly retro, very melodic but as belies Kurdt’s skill level and preferences, nothing to do with hair metal, despite that description. A cult classic three years ago, and still fresh, sincere and grounded in metal’s worthier characteristics now into 2000.
(PO Box 43618 Philadelphia, PA 19106)