METAL CHURCH Singer MIKE HOWE Dead At 55 Tuesday July 27 2021, 6:06 PM

METAL CHURCH   singer   Mike Howe   has died at the age of 55. No cause of death has been revealed.

The news of   Howe 's passing was broken by   METAL CHURCH   in a social media post this evening. The band wrote: "It is with our deepest regrets that we must announce the passing of our brother, our friend and true legend of heavy metal music.   Mike Howe   passed away this morning at his home in Eureka, California. We are devastated and at a loss for words. Please respect our privacy and the   Howe   family's privacy during this most difficult time."

Howe , who fronted   METAL CHURCH   from 1988 until 1994, officially rejoined the band in April 2015.

The reunion between   Mike   and   METAL CHURCH   was put in motion in July of 2014 when   Mike   started working with guitarist   Kurdt Vanderhoof   on a side project   Kurdt   was forming with   Nigel Glockler   from   SAXON . Through these initial conversations,   Kurdt   convinced   Mike   to ultimately return to   METAL CHURCH . The idea was to see if they could recapture some of the magic from the three albums   METAL CHURCH   released in the late '80s:   "The Human Factor" ,   "Blessing In Disguise"   and   "Hanging In The Balance" . Out of those sessions, 2016's   "XI"   was born and captured the sound that made the band fan favorites in the '80s and mixed it with a new, invigorated sound.

During the making of the   "XI"   album,   Mike   stated about his return to   METAL CHURCH : " Kurdt Vanderhoof   got ahold of me in August of 2014, and he proposed [me] coming back to the band. He said   Ronny   [ Munroe ] left the band and he didn't really wanna carry on with   METAL CHURCH   unless maybe I would consider coming back. So I said, 'Well, I don't know. I'm open to it. But let's see what kind of music we can come up with.' So   Kurdt   went back to the studio and started writing songs in the vein of   'Hanging In The Balance' , where we left off twenty years ago, and he sent them to me over the Internet. And I was, like, 'Damn! The guy still has it and he's doing great work.' So he sent me another batch, and that batch was just as good [as], if not better than, the other. So, from there, I said, ‘Well, I can’t say no to this. And let's just see how it goes.' And we started writing lyrics and getting together, and it's now morphed into this, being back in Aberdeen in the studio making the new   METAL CHURCH   record."

METAL CHURCH 's latest release was   "From The Vault" , which arrived in April 2020 via   Rat Pak Records . The effort was a special-edition compilation album that featured 14 previously unreleased songs from the   Howe   era, including four newly recorded studio tracks, among them a redux of the band's fan favorite classic   "Conductor" .

In a 2018 interview with   Sticks For Stones   promoting 2018's   "Damned If You Do"   LP,   Mike   stated about the 20-year gap between his stints in the band: "I lived my life just like everybody else. I was a carpenter/builder, and I raised two boys. Out of the blue, I got a call from   Kurdt , and he invited me back. At first, I was apprehensive — I was happy to be retired [from music]; I had a great career and [was] very grateful for what I had — but because he's an old friend, I was open to listening to his proposition. We had long talks — a lot of talks — about how the music industry had changed, and how file-sharing was making it more possible to live in different areas and have family life and not cutting into your personal time as much. With the advent of technology in that way, it really helps facilitate being in a band. We just started with writing the record, because I said, 'I'm not coming back to   METAL CHURCH   for nostalgia's sake. If I'm going to do this, I want to make sure we can write music just as good, if not better, than what we were doing before.' We took baby steps and started writing some songs... if we like the way it sounds, we keep it; if we don't, we move on. We do that a few times until we had a good amount of songs, and we really liked what we were doing, so we put it out. That went well, and I said, 'Okay, I'm ready to go on the road with that.' [ 'Damned If You Do' ], we took the same philosophy, and we're very happy with the end result."

Howe   is not the first singer of   METAL CHURCH   to die.   David Wayne   passed away in May 2005 from complications following a car crash. He was 47 years old.

Wayne   sang on   METAL CHURCH 's first two classic offerings (1984's   "Metal Church"   and 1986's   "The Dark" ) before leaving the group and being replaced by   Howe . Via Blabbermouth

It is with our deepest regrets that we must announce the passing of our brother, our friend and true legend of heavy...

Posted by   Metal Church   on  Monday, July 26, 2021

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