This debut album should really have been a stone cold classic from Metal Allegiance as their core musical line up consists of Mike Portnoy on drums, Alex Skolnick on guitar and Dave Ellefson on bass guitar with an array of guest vocalists but out of the 9 tracks, only 7 really hit the metal mark for me.
Released via Nuclear Blast Records on Sept. 9th 2015, the aforementioned trio are backed up by the songwriting of Mark Menghi and the benchmark is raised high on album opener ‘Gift Of Pain’. Vocals come from Randy Blythe and even though I’m not a fan of Lamb Of God, he owns this number with a bellowing tour de force. Punishing drums and grinding thrash metal riffs are topped off by solos from Alex Skolnick and Gary Holt. There is no let up as ‘Let Darkness Fall’ crashes in on a cavalcade of drums as headbanging riffs provide a solid backbone for the vocals of Troy Sanders from Mastodon who delivers in an Ozzy like sneer. A moody Opeth like mid section adds to the intensity with additional bass guitar from Rex Brown.
The crushing slow burning moods of ‘Dying Song’ are the perfect foil for Phil Anselmo to pour his heart out as a full on metal finish follows the songs razor sharp riffing. The inimitable melodic roar of Testament’s Chuck Billy dominates ‘Can’t Kill The Devil’ that hurtles along on an Exodus like gallop with guest leads by Phil Demmel and Andreas Kisser from Machine Head and Sepultura. The first of 2 appearances by Mark Osegueda from Death Angel is next as ‘Scars’ opens with a ‘Peace Sells (But Whose Buying)’ bass guitar intro and an appearance by Lacuna Coils’ Cristina Scabbia make for an atmospheric vocal duo over mid paced thrash grooves.
The following 2 numbers did absolutely nothing for me and for that reason Metal Allegiance does not get 5/5. ‘Destination:Nowhere’ features Matt Heafy from Trivium on vocals and additional guitar. Musically, it seems to never get going and the luke warm vocal delivery are only saved by a bruising lead guitar solo midway. ‘Wait Until Tomorrow’ features another vocal duo but does not come close to that of the pairing in ‘Scars‘. Vocals here are a languid drawl by dUg Pinnick from Kings X and a nu metal bark from Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta. Service is resumed by a glorious instrumental titled ‘Triangulum (I.Creation II. Evolution III. Allegiance)’.
A plethora of time changes and fretboard melting guitar solos make for an intense 7 minutes listening with added guitar solos provided by Phil Demmel, Matt Heafy, Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal and surprisingly Charlie Benante, drummer for Anthrax. ‘Pledge Of Allegiance’ brings the album to a thrashtastic end with the second appearance from Mark Osegueda. This is the most old school like song here with a ‘Trapped Under Ice’ like velocity featuring Mike Portnoy’s most powerful drumming. Additional leads come from Charlie Benante, Gary Holt and Andreas Kisser.
Buy the album and join the Metal Allegiance!
Metal Allegiance band line up :-
Alex Skolnick – Guitars.
Mike Portnoy – Drums.
Dave Ellefson – Bass guitar.
Mark Menghi – Songwriter.
Album track listing : –
Gift Of Pain.
Let Darkness Fall.
Can’t Kill The Devil.
Wait Until Tomorrow.
Triangulum (I.Creation II. Evolution III. Destruction).
Pledge Of Allegiance.