Mike Howe — the vocalist of heavy-metal veterans Metal Church — died Monday morning (July 26th) at his home in Eureka, California. He was 55. The band confirmed the news in a post on their official Facebook page.
"It is with our deepest regrets that we must announce the passing of our brother, our friend and true legend of heavy metal music," the statement read. "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."
Led by guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof, Metal Church formed in 1980 and was a major influence on the thrash-metal movement. The group's 1987 album, The Dark — featuring late singer David Wayne — is included in Revolver's list of 20 Essential Eighties Thrash Albums, and Metal Church even joined Metallica on the Master of Puppets tour, as well as touring, individually, with each of the other Big 4 bands, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax.
Howe first joined the group in 1988, making his debut on 1989's Blessing in Disguise, which peaked at No. 75 on the Billboard album chart, propelled in part by single and MTV hit "Badlands." When the band broke up in 1996, Howe stepped away from music. The singer rejoined Metal Church in 2015, since which the group released two full-length albums, 2016's XI and 2018's Damned If You Do.