Metal Allegiance – Metal Allegiance (Nuclear Blast)

Tuesday, 15th September 2015
Rating: 8/10

Similar to the Roadrunner United release a while back, Metal Allegiance takes a chunk of top billing players and tosses them together for an album of epic proportions. Founder Mark Menghi initially combined forces with David Ellefson (Megadeth), Alex Skolnick (Testament), and Mike Portney (ex-Dream Theater) to write the music, and then added current and ex-members of Lamb of God, Slayer, Exodus, Mastodon, Pantera, and many many more to round things out.

Metal Allegiance is a bit of an eclectic trip, as one would guess with the diversity of players involved. You have some consistency due to the core songwriters, but the massive amount of guests insure that you won’t get a predictable experience. There’s the snarling and fist-pumping thrash of opener of “Gift of Pain,” which features Randy Blythe on vocals but then things shift a bit more psychedelically and trippy on “Let Darkness Fall” (with Troy Sanders in the vocal position). For every straight-up thrasher (like the super-catchy Chuck Billy-led “You Can’t Kill the Devil” or Mark Osegueda-led “Pledge of Allegiance”), you’ll find a track that maneuverers into something else. There’s the duet of Mark Osegueda and Christina Scabbia (“Scars”) that moves between heavy thrash and soaring melody, the equally interesting duo of Jamey Jasta and Doug Pinnock (“Wait Until Tomorrow”) that feels modern yet timeless, or the instrumentally-led “Triangulum,” which features Phil Demmel, Charlie Benante, Misha Mansoor, and more to fire off a number of great leads and solos.

A compilation that manages to hit the marks from start to finish is pretty rare. Most feature a number of hits and misses, but Metal Allegiance stays strong from start to finish. Using wise choices in the star power department and not overusing/exploiting it as the sole reason to listen makes Metal Allegiance a fine springboard to continue on to further installments.

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