The Metal Allegiance CD got pushed through the door by the Postie this morning and it’s since been rabidly torn from the cellophane cover. Now, as the disc gets it’s eagerly anticipated spin on the Rock n’ Metal Collectables Player, here is my Metal Allegiance Digipak CD & DVD Review.
Like Roadrunner United album a few years ago, it’s an all-star cast only, this time, coming together from under the metal masterminds of 3 of it’s elder statesmen, Testament’s Alex Skolnick, Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson, Dream Theatre’s Mike Portnoy & music exec Mark Menghi.
Joining them under the ranks, we have many notable names on board who collaborate making this a 9 track opus including a rollicking cover of Dio’s ‘We Rock’
Phillip H Anselmo, Charlie Benante, Chuck Billy, Randy Blythe, Rex Brown, Bumblefoot, Phil Demmel, Alissa White-Glutz, Matt Heafy, Gary Holt, Jamey Jasta, Chris Jericho, Andreas Kisser, Misha Mansoor, Mark Osegueda, Dug Pinnick, Tim ‘Ripper Owens, Troy Sanders, Cristina Scabbia, Ben Weinman, & Zetro.
On this Digipak with Booklet, there is a Bonus DVD entitled ‘Building The Beast’. This gives you a track by track glimpse into Portnoy’s Pennsylvania home studio where the songs came into creation.
The album was produced by Alex Skolnick, Mark Menghi, David Ellefson and Mike Portnoy, and mixed by Josh Wilbur (Lamb Of God, Avenged Sevenfold, Gojira).
Metal Allegiance Tracklist:
1.Gift Of Pain
Randy Blythe, Gary Holt
Randy Blythe vents his spleen with a rasping Orrrrrrrrrrraaaaaooooow……. Fork Orrrrrrrrwwwwff! into the clenched mike, thus making his statement of intent very clear to get the track blasting off. Skolnick & Holt both blaze the fret boards on this opener for a taste of things to come. So far so good then.
2.Let Darkness Fall
Troy Sanders, Rex Brown, Randy Blythe
Starting with Panteraesque style riffin’ & double bass drumming, Troy Sanders assumes vocal duties. The song takes a trip into a calmer passage with a tad Metallica Master era ala ‘Welcome Home(Sanitarium)’ in here too. Bluesy Gilmore licks segues into Spanish reverie, before returning back to the spade heavy Dimebag Darrel groove.
Phil Anselmo takes us into bluesier side of sludgy heaviness in a Sabbath style slow burn bliss. Down fans certainly won’t be disappointed. In a cloud of smoke and whiskey-soaked southern drawl, Phil’s mellow vocals shines in a soulful way which are perfectly suited laid over this loose & greasy one.
4. Can’t Kill The Devil
Chuck Billy, Andreas Kisser, Phil Demmel
Ominous intro leads into Testament thrash out as frontman Chuck billy embraces the studio mic and joins bandmate Skolnick. Superb drumming from Portnoy as the punishing pace keeps us headlong towards the finish line. His eye-watering spurts take just a few respites along the way. Quality thrash track.
Cristina Scabbia, Mark Osegueda
Rumbling Bass intro leads again Again this reminds me so much of Pantera era, ala Domination style. Masculine verses sung courtesy of Mark Osegueda and then given over to Christina as she soars way up above providing the soothing angelic chorus.
6. Destination: Nowhere
The first song wrote for the M.A record. Sepultura style Territory drum intro. Matt Heafy gives his larynx a rest & sings gothic verse vocals over Maidenesque chord ring outs with a fist pumping anthemic chorus.
7. Wait Until Tomorrow
Dug Pinnick Jamey Jasta
Alice in Chains meets Down, with soft tones to escalate into a rage fest delivered powerfully by Jamey Jasta & then takes us into the layered chorus turning into a sublime solo. The song goes back to the tonic and finishes nicely where it all started.
8. Triangulum (1. Creation. 11.Evolution. 111. Destruction.)
Misha Mansoor, Ben Weinman, Charlie Benante, Phil Demmel, Matt Heafy, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal
We start the journey building up the weighty slab of Metallica era Puppets riffing, underpinning solo work before going through odd time territory as the drumming goes inhumanely insane just prior to the 4-minute mark. Again, superlative drumming throughout from Portnoy!
9. Pledge of Allegiance. (Deluxe Version)
An absolute belter of a track. Mined from the very same vein as Metallica’s Whiplash with Metal Militia’s mentality. It’s an early 80’s thrash-out with all the right minerals to make you realise why you fell in love with this music in the first place. My Allegiance has sincerely been pledged.
10. We Rock (Bonus Track)
Mark Osegueda, Chris Jericho, Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Alissa White-Gluz, Chuck Billy, Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza
All star cast gather around the Mic’ stand in resplendent cover version of Dio’s track from. A fitting track to close the album.
Just as a side note here, it’s perhaps way underestimated how much of a legacy Ronnie made. From the fantasy/dungeons and dragons influential element prevalent in Power Metal. He also gave us the horns which is now the universal accepted symbol of metal, and popularised it in the world’s premier metal band Black Sabbath. All in all, I’d say that’s a fair body of work to leave to the metal masses, wouldn’t you agree?
R.I.P Ronnie James Dio, We rock indeed.
Building The Beast-The Making of Metal Allegiance.
Inside the Digipak Bonus, you get a nats bollock over 44 minutes of candid studio footage. This takes you through the albums creation track by track inside Portnoy’s home studio in Pennsylvania. One of the coolest places I’ve seen as this man has a lot of gear and just the place I’d like to hang out. Here you can see the Beatles memorabilia all over his walls. This place is known to everyone says Skolnick, as Casa De Portnoy.
Most of the film shot on location has been done with handy smart phones whereby the sound & visual quality are pretty good. This helps you get into the over the shoulder studio vibe as the songs are tracked down without turning it into a documentary.
At the start of the DVD, Mark Menghi, Portnoy, Alex Skolnick, Dave Ellefson reveal how Metal Allegiance started out after a series of Bass clinics, then joining them for live shows were such metal elite as Kerry King, Scott Ian, & Phil Anselmo. It was in essence, a bunch of metal heads coming together to pay tributes to their roots, to realize they can actually be a band themselves.
Mark kinda spearheaded getting a bunch of us in the studio together and, write some material. It all began with myself and Ellefson and Skolnick along with Menghi. We got together just to see how it would go & next thing you know we had 8 or 9 songs, Written!- Mike Portnoy.
For the sake of your viewing pleasure, I’ll spare further details here, as you want to find out for yourselves on the Metal Allegiance DVD, However, There’s plenty of clips on YouTube documenting this or you can find out more about Metal Allegiance on their Channel.
To wrap things up here i’d like to say how much of a blast this has been here writing this round up on Metal Allegiance & watching the DVD, I think The CD has stellar production and great mixes & gets better with every listen, Can’t wait for Metal Allegiance 2!
Anyone here got anything to say about Metal Allegiance? Then hell, feel free to chime in with a comment below.