MetalAllegianceAlthough very much a celebration of all things, one aspect of Bloodstock Open Air Festival this year was those paying tribute to fallen heroes. As far as the metal gods are concerned the reaper has never been busier, embarking on a ruthless culling spree. It’s partly symptomatic of our times that as we grow older those who inspired us are bound to be stricken with illness and disease, not to even mention the hard living life-style of many catching up with them. There were salutations especially for Lemmy as one would expect and the stages at the festival are named after Ronnie James Dio and tragic music fan Sophie Lancaster. Twisted Sister took a memorable final bow saluting drummer A.J. Pero who died of a heart attack in 2015 at just 55. His replacement with full blessing, in fact he apparently stated the only person he would have wanted to take his place is Mike Portnoy who at the weekend was also drumming in Metal Allegiance bringing us full circle to their new EP.

Very much doing what it states, here we have three tracks laid down in honour of those no longer with us. It really should be no surprise that there’s a Motörhead cover here although choosing just one must have been a task and a half. Iron Fist is the designated pounder and as the bass rattles in its instantly recognisable and head-banging obligatory. Troy Sanders of Mastodon is roped in to fill mighty vocal boots here and does a pretty good job although and there’s no getting away from this, there will only ever be one Lemmy. It’s a 3 and a bit minute anthem that should have everyone singing along to it. Next up is David Bowie, another absolute legend and inspiration to so many. Here we get a wham bam groove along to his glammy great Suffragette City. I heard this in the distance as they played it wandering between stages and it pretty much stopped me in my tracks. Mark Osegueda of Death Angel gets involved on the recording and it’s another loud and proud rendition of an absolute classic. Ok my knowledge of The Eagles isn’t quite as on point indeed the slightest hint of Hotel California on the juke box down the pub and I’m running to the hills. Thankfully we don’t get that here in remembrance of Glenn Frey but Life In The Fast Lane whose bluesy guitar licks manage to jolt even my memory. Singing here is Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy who injects it with a sassy and soulful performance and really puts her heart into it.

Not a lot else to say here, this is what it is and it’s obviously something the band felt the urge to do; full respect for that.

(7/10 Pete Woods)