Thursday, February 22, 2024

Review: Metal Allegiance – Metal Allegiance

There are many super-groups, concept albums and one off projects out there, ones that spring to mind are ‘Annihilator – Metal’ and of course, the ‘Roadrunner United’ album. All have their own charm and unique feel through each song with guest musicians. This though, is a project that is pure and simply a cut above the rest, if metal was the Euro-millions, then this is the single, largest winning ticket in history!

The founder Mark Menghi, a bassist and a musical instrument industry exec God to metal musicians, began this with a master-class line up. Alex Skolnick (Testament) on guitar duties, David Ellefson (Megadeth) on bass, and Mike Portnoy (The Winery Dogs) on the drums. Already having the ingredients to make something special, this was amped up to 11, with each guy calling in friends and band mates to guest on songs and create a masterpiece so full of talent, it’s a wonder they got it all done!

Raking in names that need no introduction; Gary Holt, Phil Anselmo, Phil Demmel, Randy Blythe, Rex Brown, Chuck Billy, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, Charlie Benante and more!

This 9 track opus brings through all the unique writing abilities of the band itself, and the guests, in a flawlessly intricate blend of everything that is heavy metal. Starting out with a fast, aggressive blast to the ears, Randy Blythe opens up with ‘The Gift Of Pain’, with speed, riffs and ferocity that I wish the last Lamb of God album was more like. Following straight on with Rex Brown and Troy Sanders with ‘Let Darkness Fall’ and Phil Anselmo on a more mellow ‘Dying Song’, you would think if Pantera were still alive and kicking today, these two songs would fit perfectly into their way of playing.

The next few songs really play into the style we know best from Ellefson and Skolnick, a thrash heavy, aggressive medley of riffs some can only dream of writing, proving that despite writing thrash music for so many years, they still have ideas in them.

Out of nowhere comes the longest track of the album at 7:44 long, an instrumental with no less than 6 guest guitarists! This song travels through so many bands styles that it almost feels like a nod to some of the greats like the late Chuck Schuldiner or Rush, and I am sure neither would mind the compliment either.

If you were to buy any album this year, I would make it this. I think the only down side to this is the really sad prospect that we may not be lucky enough to get the luxury of seeing this live on UK shores. That said, without even needing to see any of this live, it does one thing very well, and that is to stand up as a big middle finger to all those that say Metal is dead!

Ash Crowson
Ash Crowson
RAMzine Senior Contributor - Guitarist, photographer, geek, gamer, full on metalhead and allround barfly, if i'm not at work, a gig or studying for my degree, you'll find me at the bar! A fascination with second world war history and military aviation. All with a very dry humour to round me off!

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