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Metal Allegiance - "Metal Allegiance" (CD)

Metal Allegiance - "Metal Allegiance" CD cover image

"Metal Allegiance" track listing:

1. Gift Of Pain
2. Let Darkness Fall
3. Can’t Kill The Devil
4. Dying Song
5. Scars
6. Destination: Nowhere
7. Wait Until Tomorrow
8. Triangulum
9. Pledge Of Allegiance
10. We Rock

Reviewed by on February 11, 2016

"We've gone way past supergroup into something representative of the major metal scene as a whole with the Metal Allegiance project."

We've gone way past supergroup into something representative of the major metal scene as a whole with the Metal Allegiance project. Besides the core group of Ellefson, Portnoy, and Skolnick, Metal Allegiance features a “who's who” lineup - everybody from Phil Anselmo and Randy Blythe to Chuck Billy and Bill Weinman appear across the disc. The cast is large enough that actually listing them all out seems gratuitous. Needless to say, if you are fan of thrash or hard rock tinged classic metal, you'll want to get one this one right away.

The debut album (perhaps only album? It's tough to say if this will ever get a follow-up in the future) is an absolute whirlwind tour of all that is metal – but primarily of the more mainstream variety. Essentially, if you like metal, you'll like this, although obviously with the various different styles and vocalists present somebody isn't going to dig something across the tracks. As a disc focused on uniting the fractious sub-genres and fans, the focal point is a classic sound with a modern production, so the base style tends to stick with traditional metal or thrash, rather than anything in the black/death realm.

Each track tends towards a middling to longer length (around 6 – 7 minutes), giving time for all the various musicians to shine through and be heard, whether things are going at full force or slower and more melodic. “Can't Kill The Devil” for instance is a straight up classic Megadeth-style song, but in an interesting twist most of these tracks have either a ballad segment or an emotive and melancholy sound throughout.

In other changes of style, “Let Darkness Fall” has a south of the border feel in its middle tempo change and acoustic strumming, while “Gift Of Pain” does a sick bass solo. Cristina Scabbia shows up for a round of female vocals on fifth track “Scars,” along with Alissa White-Gluz on the bonus Dio cover track “We Rock.” Seventh cut “Wait Until Tomorrow” finally brings out some harsher vocals (the only instance to be found on the disc), and the album ends on a much more energetic note than the preceding material with thrash anthem “Pledge of Allegiance.”

For a project that could have ended up very sour with so many cooks in the kitchen, Metal Allegiance actually pulls off a minor miracle by being musically solid from beginning to end. Sure, you can complain about how it's not anything that hasn't been heard in metal before (or about the lack of representation from the more extreme end of the spectrum), but instead you should really revel in the fact that so many world class musicians came together to do something interesting and just bang your head along with them.

Highs: It's an expansive look at everything in the classic metal realm from some of the best names in the scene!

Lows: There's really no representation from the black/death/grind genres, and the sound isn't particularly unique.

Bottom line: Ellefson, Portnoy, Skolnick, Blythe, Weinman, Scabbia, and a whole lot more come together to pledge their allegiance to metal!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)