Local Wire

St. Madness

St. Madness singer Prophet (né Patrick Flannery) won his battle with testicular cancer earlier this year, and now he's ready to rock hard again with St. Madness' newest album. Musically, St. Madness' sound has always harked back to the old-school days of heavy metal, with crunchy power chords, screaming guitar solos, and sludgy, thunderous rhythms, but several tracks on Vampires in the Church show a lighter side, musically and lyrically. Flannery's brush with death influenced "Ever After," a power ballad that serves as a promise to Flannery's son that the singer will watch over his progeny from the afterlife. There's another power ballad called "Arizona," which pays heavy homage to Flannery's adopted home state. The introduction to "Speaking in Tongues" even has an acoustic country feel, but once the intro's over, the band launches back into its usual brutal audio assault, with Flannery's growl wrapping itself around the speeding six-strings. The rest of the tracks — including a breakneck-speed bastardization of The Divinyls' "I Touch Myself" (which St. Madness morphed into "I Cut Myself") and a dead-on cover of Pantera's "Walk" — showcase the powerful musical prowess of St. Madness, honed by more than 13 years of recording and touring.