- Vinyl (29 July 2013)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Music On Vinyl
- ASIN: B00D01MGRG
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 520,944 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Human Factor [Vinyl]
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180 gram audiophile vinyl
About the Artist
Metal Church's 4th album is often cited as their best. Breaking through in the mid eighties within a blossoming thrash metal scene, these guys from Seattle stuck to their guns while other bands were polishing their sound to meet popular demand. 'The Human Factor' (1991) excels in chugging riffs, melodic breaks, pulsing beats and furious vocals - a true thrash classic. The lyrics stand out in their substance: singer Mike Howe tackles political and social subjects on 'Date with Poverty', 'Flee From Reality' and 'The Final Word'.
Top Customer Reviews
Absolutley awesome, I'm glad its coming out on cd-I'll be buying it!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Metal Church came out with a chip on their shoulder on this album. They tackle a wide range of controversial subjects from child abuse, flag burning, and bands being sued for subliminal lyrics to greed, debt, and bands ripping off other bands. As one prominent magazine of the time pointed out Metal Church unfortunately had a song that sounded almost identical to the opening riff of a Prong song. No matter.
The album opens with the very average title track attacking the obvious ... late 80's hair bands and rap sampling. "Date With Poverty" is built upon a classic Metal Church verse riff and features a frustrated chorus acknowledging the average debt-ridden american. "In Harm's Way" is a great power metal ballad similar to "Anthem To The Estranged" taking aim at child abusers with a mix of tasteful acoustic passages with a distorted bridge and chorus.
Perhaps the most memorable track is "Agent Green" which has a tremendous middle section and fine drum and guitar work from the band. Despite these strong tracks there are some weaker efforts. "Betrayed" and the "Fight Song" never really seem to get off the ground and seem a bit rushed as opposed to the careful compostion of some of the other tracks. "Flee From Reality" is pretty basic also but none of these songs are actually bad. Mike Howe's vocals sound great and the production is good but when stacked up agaist Blessing In Disguise it falls short.
Depending on who you talk to most Metal Church fans cite this album as their best or their worst. However you look at it, it is hard to go wrong with a Metal Church album and this one is well worth the purchase even if it is slightly inferior to some of their other albums.
In my opinion, "In Harm's Way" is the album's centerpiece--a very saddening description of child abuse and it's toll on a human life.
"A lonely child with battered eyes
No joy in innocence they cry
Always has to lie his way through life
I've fallen down while playing ball
But mom beat me up and down the hall
Just because she had one of those nights..."
Sort of along those lines is "In Mourning" which brilliantly covers the topic of how music is blamed for kids committing suicide and rightfully redirects the blame to their upbringing. No doubt inspired by the Judas Priest court case, it presents its message clearly and desperately needed to be written.
"Maybe could it be that no one was there to hear
Did you pay attention to their angers and their fears?
You're trying to find someone to blame who can't be put on trial
The enemy you're looking for is laughing all the while
I mourn for those who have been so deceived
You know the last words that they spoke were "Who loves me?" "
On the lighter side, the title track is a blast at phony corporate pop stars who have no real musical talent, use computer programs instead of instruments, and use samples of real musicians' songs to scam their way to popularity. Sadly it is just as relevant today as it was in 1991 when it was written:
"I just can't believe my ears, some music out these days
The human factor has diminished, in oh so many ways
Fancy footwork gets top bill and I'll put on such a show
One more Midi cable and my 'band' is ready to go
One more money-maker and I'm set for life
Stealing from others will make my future bright..."
This is going on longer than I anticipated so I'll cut it short. But I hope enough examples have been given to really express the importance of this record. Metal Church isn't talking about nuclear war anymore, they're covering topics that hit much closer to daily life and do it in a very effective way. Each song is equally strong in its message: "Betrayed" and its tale of alcoholism; "Date with Poverty" about being poor and hounded by collectors; "The Final Word" about American activists who rag on their own country; or "Agent Green" which seems to be about some sort of political espionage or something. Musically it's one of the best songs on here, but I'll be damned if I know what it's talking about. Interestingly, during the acoustic intro to this tune, Mike Howe's voice sounds alot like latter day Geddy Lee.
Anyway, this is a great album with more typically great riffs written by Kurdt Vanderhoof (who was replaced by Metallica guitar tech John Marshall for the recording of this album, but still contributed songs) and stunningly poignant lyrics by Mike Howe. A very dramatic listening experience.