Metal Allegiance

Metal Allegiance

Written by: MAK on 13/09/2015 16:53:22

Back in 2005, Roadrunner Records created an album full of various musicians that were signed to their label to celebrate its 25th Anniversary. The “Roadrunner United” album was met with a mixture of responses good and bad, but it left a taste in the mouths of metal fans for musicians from different outfits to continue making music together, as after all, the collaborations felt rather special. 10 years later, Nuclear Blast seems to have the answer — even if it seems unintentional that this Metal Allegiance has recreated the same kind of record.

Metal Allegiance is a four-piece “supergroup” made up of Mike Portnoy on drums (most famous for his work with Dream Theater), David Ellefson (of Megadeth fame) on bass, Alex Skolnic (of Testament) and Mark Menghi, classed as a master songwriter beloved within the metal industry, on guitar. Throughout this “Metal Allegiance” album, these four men are joined by past and present members of Slayer, Pantera, Lamb of God, Mastodon, Hatebreed, Sepultura, Anthrax, Lacuna Coil and many more. This feels like something of a Nuclear Blast army, as the majority of the bands and members involved are signed to the famed metal label.

Kicking off this all-star album, “Gift of Pain” features Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe, and what seems most enticing is the fact the music seems perfectly written to cater to Blythe’s vocals. In a way, the track sounds like it could have been written by Lamb of God: very heavy, a pure onslaught on the ears, and with groove laden riffs to die for. The main difference is that the chorus is quite repetitive, and very catchy in a sense that after a couple of times of hearing Randy shout the words “You gave, you gave me a gift! You gave, you gave me a gift of pain!”, you will be shouting them right back. An arse-kicking start to the album made even better by the duelling solos from Skolnick and the additionally guesting Gary Holt (of Exodus and recently also Slayer fame).

The following track “Let Darkness Fall” features Troy Sanders of Mastodon and Killer be Killed on vocals, chipping in with his very distinctive echoing voice and setting an ominous mood for a radically different style song compared to the vicious opener. The riffs at the beginning are equally killer, but the heaviness subdues and a soothing atmosphere kicks in after a few minutes — quite Pink Floyd-influenced here, it could be said. Rex Brown of Pantera fills in with additional bass duties for this one, with fellow ex-bandmate Phil Anselmo providing his vocals for the rather somber number “Dying Song”. For “Can’t Kill the Devil”, Skolnick is joined by fellow Testament member, vocalist Chuck Billy in a song that, as you might expect, was always going to be thrashy, and sound similar to the work of Testament. Just like with Blythe, the song seems to have been written for Billy’s talents. “Scars” contains Christina Scabbia’s epic, almost operatic voice, whilst she is also joined in duet by Death Angel’s Mark Osegueda as yet another Metallica-esque riff fuels the anthem musically. Another great duet happens in “Wait Until Tomorrow”, which features the melodic vocals of Doug Pinnick of King X bouncing off Jamey Jasta’s customary hardcore-style shouts.

In general, “Metal Allegiance” as an album is very thrashy, with less prominent elements of prog, rock ’n’roll, hardcore and death metal all thrown in sparingly, and balanced out with finesse. What makes this work better than the Roadrunner equivalent is that “Metal Allegiance” has the backbone of the same four people for each song, with guests fleshing out the songs with their own unique touches. The “Roadrunner United” record on the other hand, contains different musicians for every song, essentially making it seem like a compilation album with huge (perhaps too much?) variety in style. “Metal Allegiance”’s simpler backbone is far more effective as a full album. Either way, what these superstars of the metal world have created is 56 minutes of incredibly well written metal music that any fan of heavy and melodic metal should be able to appreciate. Whether you are a fan of something as mind-melting as “Triangulum (I. Creation II. Evolution III. Destruction)” or simply something to bang your head to such as the opener “Gift of Pain, “Metal Allegiance” is an absolute must listen.

8

Download: Gift of Pain, Triangulum (I. Creation II. Evolution III. Destruction), Can't Kill the Devil, Pledge of Allegiance
For The Fans Of: Metallica, Megadeth, Testament, Slayer, Anthrax
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 18.09.2015
Nuclear Blast Records

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