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Metal Allegiance - Metal Allegiance

Metal Allegiance
Metal Allegiance
by Daniel Fox at 15 September 2015, 8:53 PM

METAL ALLEGIANCE might just be the craziest, most ambitious and most ridiculous Metal project conceived since… I don’t know when.

The word “supergroup” does not begin to describe this ‘band’. Comprised of a core of (hold onto your knickers David Ellefson, Alex Skolnick and Mike Portnoy and Mike Menghi, whom decided to turn their all-star cover band into an all-star collective producing original material, the self-titled debut album contains a “few” notables who provided their own touches to the 9 tracks:

Philip H. Anselmo, Charlie Benante, Chuck Billy, Randy Blythe, Rex Brown, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, Phil Demmel, Alissa White-Gluz, Matt Heafy, Gary Holt, Jamey Jasta, Chris Jericho, Andreas Kisser, Misha Mansoor, Mark Osegueda, Tim “Ripper” Owens, dUg Pinnick, Troy Sanders, Cristina Scabbia, Steve “Zetro” Souza and Ben Weinman.

By proxy, it is certainly one of the most diverse albums you’ll ever hear; the opener, is a direct and razor-edged attack spearheaded by Randy Blythe’s characteristic growls – I’m still trying to get my head around him and Portnoy playing on the same song. If that wasn’t enough, the track to follow, “Let Darkness Fall”, includes essentially the same personnel, yet adds Troy Sanders to vocals and Rex Brown to bass (that is, Ellefson and Brown playing bass on the same mother-chuggin’ song). A decidedly proggy number, it begins with a fierce attack but adopts a gloomy atmosphere dominated by Troy’s atmospheric and distinctive vocal deliveries, and contains a lengthy, beautiful and serene interlude of bass and guitar.

Whilst “Can’t Kill the Devil” came off as ‘too much’ a METALLICA cover and  “Dying Song” a sluggish and somewhat-underwhelming filler (unfortunate, as plenty of other songs would have allowed Anselmo to shine his usual self), “Scars” is where things get interesting. The track features a fantastic juxtaposition between the aggressive and thrashy vocal attack of Mark Osegueda and the melodic and atmospheric vocals of Cristina Scabbia, with beautifully melodic guitar work to boot. Another sever juxtaposition between voices was attempted in the somber “Wait Until Tomorrow”. One of the world’s most underrated Heavy music vocalists from one of the world’s most underrated bands, dUg Pinnick lends his soulful and emotive touch to what begins as quite a foreboding and intense track. However, instead of exploding it tends to fizzle; when the heaviness kicks in, we’re unceremoniously smacked in the face by Jamey Jasta’s barks, which feel completely out of place, especially compared to dUg’s return to the chorus.

I don’t think it would be appropriate, nor tasteful, to think about and analyse this album as, well, an ‘album’. Imagine having the Big 4 having a jam together on the same stage; it’s probably going to sound like shit, but you’re not going to care, because the collective big wigs of metal are throwing down in front of you. I think this album may be approached in the same way, or you may at least fancy to pick and choose the tracks with your favourite artists (or skip those less favoured). I didn’t have to like all of it to recognise it as being one of the COOLEST ideas ever conceived in Metal.

4 Star Rating

1. Gift Of Pain
2. Let Darkness Fall
3. Can't Kill The Devil
4. Dying Song
5. Scars
6. Destination Nowhere
7. Wait Until Tomorrow
8. Triangulum (I. Creation II. Evolution III. Destruction)
9. Pledge Of Allegiance
David Ellefson - Bass
Alex Skolnick - Guitars
Mark Menghi - Bass
Mike Portnoy - Drums

Various Other Artists
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Entertainment


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