Metal Church 

With Meliah Rage. Friday, January 19, at Peabody's.

Metal Church hits Cleveland in support of its 2006 album A Light In the Dark, the band's 10th release since forming in 1981. Given that there's only a single original member still rocking -- guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof -- metal purists might question the group's legitimacy, but at least the touring lineup is the same one that recorded the disc. And by all accounts, replacement singer Ronny Munroe and drummer Jeff Plate do a much better job of resurrecting the sights, sounds, and smells of '80s thrash than one of these indie-rockers-gone-speed-metal acts like the terribly fashionable Early Man.

This is good news for longtime fans, but newcomers to the game need to run out and steal Metal Church's self-titled debut from '85. Not only is it one of the few records to come out of Seattle that's not grunge-a-riffic, it's a true foundation of modern metal -- along with early Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, and all that other good stuff.

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