METAL ALLEGIANCE – Metal Allegiance
To list all the vital musicians contributing to this Metal Allegiance album would take up a solid two-thirds of my review. Singers from Lamb of God, Testament, Death Angel, Lacuna Coil, Trivium, King’s X, and Phil Anselmo appear on the 9 songs. The standard musicians contributing include guitarist Alex Skolnick, bassist David Ellefson, and drummer Mike Portnoy- with guest lead work from various members of Anthrax, Sepultura, Periphery, Machine Head, Exodus, and more… so let’s get to the material on hand, shall we?
The tracks run the gamut from more thrash oriented affairs like "Can’t Kill the Devil" and "Gift of Pain" to down-tuned power groove efforts such as "Let Darkness Fall" or the more modern Nevermore meets Trivium-like "Wait Until Tomorrow". It’s hard to dispute the quality on hand – the question that often comes to mind is what separates a mandatory purchase versus something that is just an okay, occasional run through in your playlist? I’d say a song like "Triangulum" in its three part Creation/Evolution/Destruction arrangement makes a sturdy case for the best cut on offer – the 7:44 instrumental weaving a lot of moody magic you’d expect from 80’s Metallica and Metal Church along with a touch of progressive twists and turns in the rhythm section work of Ellfson/Portnoy.
Changes in the metal climate necessitate more star power sometimes to stick your head above the flood of product these days. Metal Allegiance has its heart in the right place – and as a result those who love a steady mix of modern thrash and power groove with exemplary lead breaks will find this debut slotting nicely in their collection. Who knows if there will be a follow up – but for now this is another all-star project pounding out heaviness the best way they know how, and that’s a win-win for all.