Extremely excited to make my debut on the Heavy Metal albums review, by starting with the follow-up of one of my Top 3 albums from 2015. Metal Allegiance are back and ready to blow up our speakers with a sophomore album as brilliant and crushing as their first one… or more!!
In case any metalhead does not know them (??)… This is not a “supergroup” in the sense that we normally hear… This is a SUPERB group made by monster Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, The Winery Dogs…) on drums, the amazing Alex Scholnik (Testament, Trans-Siberian Orchestra…) on guitars, the one and only Dave Ellefson (from my beloved Megadeth) on bass and one new discover for me, Mark Menghi also on bass, song-writing… and pulling the strings from the back. No surprise about the so high level of musicianship we find here… helped by an overwhelming production.
Following the path they laid with their first album, this gang, as they call thems, this group of friends and metal lovers, bring altogether a bunch of the greatest metal vocalists in the scene nowadays, who are able to give to each song, their very unique impress… or maybe were the songs written to fit each singer?? Chicken or egg?? The list is really impressive… Myths such as Bobby Blitz (Overkill), Mark Tornillo (Accept), Mark Osegueda (Death Angel), Max Cavalera (ex Sepultura…), John Bush (Armored Saint ex Anthrax) and some of the best “new” voices, such asTroy Sanders (Mastodon), Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth), Floor Jansen (Nightwish).
Let’s get it started!!!!
When you have Scholnik and Ellefson in a band, hopes are high on getting some of the best thrash metal, American way… and this is what you get!! But don’t expect a lineal full gear thrash onslaught… The Album is very diverse, thanks to the personal touch of each singer.
We can find here a bunch of Thrash Metal finest moments:
“The Accuser”, sets the world on fire with the trademark playing of Scholnik and we may be misleaded thinking that Testament has released new album… Trevor Strnad, from Black Dahlia Murder growls over the guitars giving a more Slayer touch, but a bit more modern. First hit between the eyes!
“Mother of sin” is a real Thrash Metal masterpiece. Bobbly Blitz’s vocals here are insane, making a statement on why he is still today, one of the best Thrash Metal singers…You have all in here! Quick and neck breaking…
“Impulse Control”, features Mark Osegueda (one of my favourite Thrash Metal vocalists). It’s maybe not the best hit of the album, but still has all main elements: chunky riffs, great solos.. with a more effective chorus, could have been another masterpiece! The song has some Megadeth reminiscenses to me…
“Bound by silence” is also really heavy, but a bit more down tempo’ed and features a brilliant John Bush crushing the vocals and transporting us back to first Armored Saint and even Anthrax records. Portnoy makes here an outstanding work on the drums (in fact he is brilliant all over the CD).
In a less standard Thrashy way… expanding a little bit the borders:
“Voodoo of the Godsend” takes you back immediately to Sepultura classics such as Territory or Roots, thanks to Max Cavalera’s strong vocals. The crushing tribal sounds induces us to a mix of trance-thrash state. Brilliant!!
“Liars & Thieves” is one of the hits for me… it will surprise the fans. The riffs in the first and last part of the song, reminds me to Rammstein, heavy, strong, low tempo… in the middle of the song, suddently they speed up with supersonic riffs, sounding like good old Megadeth!! Troy Sanders’ vocals are very different from his amazing job at Mastodon, but he is definitely delivering a strong performance in here! Another monster song!!
Slowing down a little bit, we run into another instant hit… this time heading to more classic Heavy Metal approach: “Terminall Illusion” brings to us Mark Tornillo, who turned 64 this year and still is able to deliver the goods!! Portnoy takes the lead on this song, with very innovative drums. Scholnik work on guitars is again outsanding and the great chours make this song, a one to remember!!! Pure Heavy Metal at it’s best!!
“King with a paper Crown”, brings Johan Hegg delivering his signature growls… as he makes with the Almighty Amon Amarth. The song slows done in the middle, with a more melodic/prog side, which adds more color with nice guitars and bass. You cannot help by imagining with your friends, some beers and headbanging with this song!!
This amazing album comes to an end with “Power Drunk Majesty”, the title truck, which is divided in 2 parts. Part I brings again Mark Osegueda screaming over some heavy riffs which reminded me to the very missed Pantera… Once again, work of Scholnik is brilliant shredding with passion. Part II is by far, the more different song and for me, one of most remarkable ones… Floor Jansen leads the song with a more melodic singing, over some riffs which sounds a bit like the albums that Bruce Dickinson made with Roy Z. Chorus is great and overall, this is a fuckin great song!
A bid dose of Thrash Metal, flavoured with hints of other genres. Amazing musicians giving a true masterclass in every song. An album so good and diverse, that before you notice… has finished, and makes you push “Play” again, and again…
A couple of more catchy chorus on the more thrashy songs, would have made this, one nearly perfect album for the lovers of metal. Anyway… it will get into my 2018 tops…
Iñigo Metalson (The Lux Team)
Translated by Jesús Alijo «Lux»