Artch are a power metal band from Norway. The name of the band was actually an acronym for their songs, "Another Return To Church Hill."

Another Return to Church Hill Artch-Another Return (Active Records) 1988

1. "Conversio Prelude" (1:01)
2. "Another Return to Church Hill" (5:28)
3. "Power the the Man" (3:56)
4. "Loaded" (4:08)
5. "Where I Go" (5:59)
6. "Metal Life" (5:05)
7. "The Promised Land" (3:41)
8. "Shoot to Kill" (4:54)
9. "Living in the Past" (4:26)
10. "Reincarnation" (4:09)

Man, when I first popped this disc in I had to go back and check the liner notes to make sure this wasn't a young Bruce Dickinson singing. Singer Eric Hawk, certainly has some of his own stylings and characteristics, but the quality of his voice and the tone seriously run the gamut between Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) and Mike Lee (Barren Cross). Musically, Artch do not sound like a Maiden clone even slightly. AMG said of this band that they were Norway's answer to Metallica. Hmmm, this seems to be the politically correct thing to say when you have NO CLUE about heavy metal. What this band is more akin to is early Metal Church and Fates Warning. Just sheer blistering heavy metal without any thrash or progressive influences. Sure the music is dynamic and other comparisons could be made, but the point is that Artch are just a fabulous metal band. Can't believe I had not heard these guys before. Apparently this album has also been released by Metal Blade under the title "Another Return to Church Hill." My particular copy is an independent, import release from Norway under the shorter title "Another Return."

Artch-For the Sake of Mankind (Metal Blade) 1991

1. "When Angels Cry" (5:28)
2. "Appologia" (4:41)
3. "Burn Down the Bridges" (5:06)
4. "Paradox" (5:12)
5. "To Whom It May Concern" (4:18)
6. "Titianic" (4:30)
7. "Confrontation" (4:10)
8. "Turn the Tables" (4:58)
9. "To Be or Not to Be" (3:14)
10. "Batteries Not Included" (4:03)
11. "Razamanaz" (4:05)

Disc two features more of what disc one had to offer, only with more class, variety, and power. I can't help but use this comparison when I hear this disc. Imagine if Bruce Dickinson had joined Metal Church instead of Mike Howe, and you get "For the Sake of Mankind." These guys, if they had better marketing and were around just a few years earlier could have been some serious contenders for the top spots. "For the Sake of Mankind" features lots of crunchy power metal tunes, but with more commercial appeal than many bands who are in their class of metal. I seriously think this disc should have been as classic as Maiden's "Piece of Mind," Dio's "Holy Diver" or Priest's "Screaming for Vengeance." It really is just that good. "Razamanaz" is a Nazareth cover.

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