CD Review: Metal Allegiance: “Metal Allegiance”

MA“Metal Allegiance”
Metal Allegiance (Philip H. Anselmo, Charlie Benant, Chuck Billy, D. Randall Blythe, Rex Brown, Ron Tahl, Phil Demmel, David Ellefson, Alissa White-Gluz, Mathew K. Heafy, Gary Holt, Jamey Jasta, Chris Jericho, Andreas Kisser, Misha Mansoor, Mark Osegueda, Tim Owens, dUg Pinnick, Mike Portnoy, Troy Sander, Cristina Scabbia, Alex Skolnick, Steve Souza, Ben Weinman, Mark Menghi)
Nuclear Blast Entertainment
Tracks: 10

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Metal Allegiance the brain child of Mark Menghi is a who’s who of some of today’s top heavy metal performers playing collectively together as one group. What started off as a performance here and there has now morphed into a full album of original material. The album which is being released via Nuclear Blast Entertainment features 10 original tracks with performances from D. Randall Blythe, Alex Skolnick, Dave Ellefson and Mike Portnoy to name just a few.

Just when you thought you have heard it all the group known simply as Metal Allegiance goes and releases an album of completely original material. If just the thought of performers like Tim “Ripper” Owens, Philip H. Anselmo, Andreas Kisser and Ben Weinman all being together on one album doesn’t grab your attention then you better check your pulse. I can’t recall a compilation effort of this magnitude ever occurring let alone coming together to create one cohesive album. Tracks like the albums opener “Gift of Pain” which features a note worthy vocal performance by one D. Randall Blythe that instantly shreds your sense to the expansive, twisting and turning “Dying Song” you would be hard pressed to find something on this album that doesn’t appeal to you. A few other tracks I found worth mentioning are that of the over the top “Pledge of Allegiance” which has a classic thrash metal feel complete with dizzying guitar riffs, thunderous double bass and razor like vocal passages provide by Mark Osegueda of Death Angel, and the instrumentally driven “Triangulum (I. Creation II. Evolution III. Destruction)” which features some impressive lead guitar work by a laundry list of great players.

With a project as big as Metal Allegiance that certainly was a little bit of skepticism on my part as to how this album was going to work and sound. With so many working parts it was head spinning just reading the track roster in early press releases however immediately after listening to just a couple tracks it all made sense as the playing contained on each of the 9 (10 for the deluxe edition) was at the highest level it could possibly be at. You can almost hear each performance egging on the next to “top that” which made for an awesome listening experience. I really have to tip my hat to Mark Menghi for pulling this off and I hope that more of these albums will follow.

Track Listing:
1.) Gift of Pain (Blythe, Skolnick, Ellefson, Portnoy, Holt)
2.) Let Darkness Fall (Sanders, Skolnick, Ellefson, Portnoy, Brown, Menghi)
3.) Dying Song (Anselmo, Skolnick, Menghi, Portnoy)
4.) Can’t Kill the Devil (Billy, Skolnick, Ellefson, Portnoy, Demmel, Kisser)
5.) Scars (Scabbia, Osegeuda, Skolnick, Ellefson, Portnoy)
6.) Destination Nowhere (Heafy, Skolnick, Ellefson, Portnoy,)
7.) Wait Until Tomorrow (Pinnick, Jasta, Skolnick, Ellefson, Portnoy)
8.) Triangulum (I. Creation II. Evolution III. Destruction) (Skolnick, Ellefson, Portnoy, Mansoor, Weinman, Benante, Demmel, Thal)
9.) Pledge of Allegiance (Osegueda, Skolnick, Ellefson, Portnoy, Benante, Holt, Kisser)
10.) We Rock (Deluxe Edition Only) (Oseugueda, Jericho, Owens, White-Gluz, Billy, Souza, Skolnick, Ellefson, Portnoy, Kisser, Demmel, Holt)

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