METAL ALLEGIANCE – SELF TITLED
Release Date: 18th September 2015
℗ 2015 Nuclear Blast Entertainment
- Gift of Pain (feat. D. Randall Blythe)
- Let Darkness Fall (feat. Troy Sanders)
- Dying Song (feat. Philip H. Anselmo)
- Can’t Kill the Devil (feat. Chuck Billy)
- Scars (feat. Cristina Scabbia & Mark Osegueda)
- Destination: Nowhere (feat. Matthew K. Heafy)
- Wait Until Tomorrow (feat. Dug Pinnick & Jamey Jasta)
- Triangulum (I. Creation II. Evolution III. Destruction)
- Pledge of Allegiance (feat. Mark Osegueda)
- We Rock (feat. Alissa White-Gluz, Chris Jericho, Chuck Billy, Mark Osegueda, Steve “Zetro” Souza & Tim “Ripper” Owens) [Bonus Track]
This monumental work goes on sale September 18th, 2015 through none other than Nuclear Blast and what an astounding collection it is. In similar fashion to the recent release of Iron Maidens Book Of Souls, I have taken my time to thoroughly absorb this album. The primary reason for that is not the album length or public anticipation, but more due to the contributory diversity and complexity included in this gargantuan celebration of metal magnificence. It takes time to thoroughly appreciate the scale of the accomplishment about to be pounded into your metal memory banks.
I am genuinely flabbergasted by the sheer volume of work, passion and raw talent that has gone into this colossal recording of massive metal significance. A veritable encyclopaedia metallica of genre favourites are cited, with contributions from past and present members of:-
MEGADETH, TESTAMENT, DREAM THEATER, LAMB OF GOD, SLAYER, EXODUS, MASTODON, PANTERA, TRIVIUM, KINGS X, HATEBREED, SEPULTURA, MACHINE HEAD, ANTHRAX, LACUNA COIL, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, PERIPHERY, DEATH ANGEL, JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH, and ARCH ENEMY
The chief band members are Mark Menghi who is the primary songwriter, Alex Skolnick (Testament), David Ellefson (Megadeth) and Mike Portnoy (Winery Dogs, Ex-Dream Theatre and A7X)
With the jet fuelled, lift off commences in blistering fashion in Gift Of Pain with growling vocal contribution from D. Randall Blythe and his invitation to ‘fuck off’ opening the lyrics, makes you do exactly the opposite. Alex Skolnick provides a whirlwind of guitar riff ridden lead and rhythm guitar, with additional lead assistance from Gary Holt, both accompanied by the tremendous skill of David Ellefson on bass. Mike Portnoy holds it all together with his mind blowing percussive power. This adrenaline filled track opens the collection in tremendously form, setting high expectations for what may follow. But with the list of collaborators, the expectations were already so high.
Let Darkness Fall
Mark Portnoy leads us into the second track in majestic form and the magnificent Troy Sanders lends his golden metal voice to this brilliant track sensationally, with D. Randall Blythe assisting on additional howling to set the malevolent scene. Alex Skolnick provides the lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars on this track which becomes a brilliant journey, building into a mighty crescendo. Additional bass lines are provided by Mark Menghi and Rex Brown.
Can’t Kill The Devil
With lead guitar provided by Alex Skolnick AND Phil Demmel AND Andreas Kisser we are in for a riff ridden ride display of stringed prowess. Chuck Billy provides a sensational vocal lead. David Ellefson on bass and Mike Portnoy pounding the kit with furious pace. This is a powerful track with every element the metal fan could possibly wish for, and the guitar work has to heard to be believed. Try getting this number out of your head.
Philip H. Anselmo leads us into the haunting Dying Song with Alex Skolnick on lead & rhythm guitars, bass work from Mark Menghi and drums by Mike Portnoy. As you would appreciate, this track is a slower, soulful journey into the ultimate demise. Thoroughly sensational, as it builds to a powerful duel of skills between lead guitar and drums.
David Ellefson leads us into scars with Alex Skolnick on lead and rhythm Mike Portnoy on drums. The vocal blending of Cristina Scabbia and Mark Osegueda is absolutely fantastic. Cristina with her beautiful voice of malevolent metal temptation lures you further and further into the tracks with her ascending and descending spellbinding hypnosis of harmony.
Matthew K. Heafy leaps in on the vocals and additional lead guitar to this tremendous track. Alex Skolnick again on rhythm and lead, with David Ellefson on bass and Mike Portnoy at the kit. Matthew is a tremendous clean vocalist and this track is delivered to perfection and a most opportune point in proceedings as a reminder of the tremendously diverse range of skills possessed by the contributors throughout this metal celebration. Listeners who do not like this track will struggle to break free of its relentless and tremendous appeal.
Wait Until Tomorrow
Alex Skolnick pics to perfection as a lead into this track with drums, percussion and additional vocals contributed by Mike Portnoy. Dave is attending to bass duties while Doug Pinnick & Jamey Jasta provide a brilliant blend of vocals to this slower tracks which lack nothing in ferocity and highlights.
Triangulum is a three movement magnum opus of might consisting of no less than nine guitar contributors, all throughout three movements in;
O.K. – Lead and rhythm guitars by Alex Skolnick, David Ellefson on bass, drums by Mike Portnoy and additional lead guitar from Misha Mansoor, Ben Weinman, Charlie Benante, Phil Demmel, Matthew K. Heafy along with Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal.
Suffice it to say, aspiring metal bands of the future, grab a pen and paper, shut out all distractions and prepare to be inspired. Absolutely astonishing.
Pledge Of Allegiance
Mark Osegueda screams our invitation to rally as metal revelers and celebrate the camaraderie, complete with horns and fists pounding skyward. Alex Skolnick on lead and rhythm guitars, David Ellefson on bass, Mike Portnoy pounding the kit and additional lead guitar from Charlie Benante, Gary Holt and Andreas Kisser. An anthem to join Metal Allegiance and the metal community as one single united heaving entity in celebration of metal magnificence. An anthem that will be a live performance favourite for years, nay decades.
We Rock is included on the deluxe edition only in reverent homage to the mighty one himself, namely Ronnie James Dio. As you would appreciate, nothing less than a vocal hail to Ronnie would do so on vocals we enjoy Mark Osegueda, Chris Jericho, Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Alissa White-Gluz, Chuck Billy and Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza. Alex Skolnick provides the lead and rhythm guitars, David Ellefson on bass and Mike Portnoy on drums. Additional hails in lead guitar format are thown with horns up fury to Ronnie by Andreas Kisser, Phil Demmel and Gary Holt.
Now I can mop the brow yet again and attempt to summarize the plethora of glory bestowed upon my bleeding aural orifices.
Ok, these may not be your most favourite members of contemporary metal leadership, but what they have achieved together is scarcely believable. When looking at the list of collaborators, our expectations are already so very high in anticipation. Either because you love the contributors and their previous works or because you don’t, and keenly await the opportunity to denigrate the album. Either way you are going to be utterly astonished by the sheer magnitude of this recording and the musical excellence contained therein. This is beautifully produced and blended to perfection. The individuals involved have reached such paramount performances of distinction that culminates into a collective gift for the metal community. A gift that will be a point of reference for countless devotees and aspiring artists, along with tracks that will resonate endlessly for the listener. Such heights of instrumental distinction for all of the assembled and vocal deliveries that are the pinnacle of brilliance. Metal Allegiance is a prodigious celebration of metal music, many will declare previously unsurpassed in excellence. I can’t imagine any avid enthusiast of heavy metal establishing a plausible reason as to why this collection of skilful delivery and dedication, should not bear proud place among their primary favourites.