Throw some huge metal behemoths into a room together and you are either going to get a massive car crash with egos battling for supremacy, or at the other end of the spectrum, you are going to get pure technical craftsmanship. With Metal Allegiance, the result was the latter and they seem to have improved on their maiden voyage.
The return of Portnoy, Skolnick, Ellefson and Menghi, sees a real celebration of artistic talents, especially when you consider two out of the ‘big 4’ are in the mix.
The group have reunited here for their second outing, ‘Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty’ and again, they have enlisted some of their peers, massive names in the industry, to help out.
‘The Accuser’ starts the proceedings and features Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder) who bolsters the thrash foundations of this opening track. Portnoy et al create a thrash back bone, but even with Skolnick and Ellefson, you would expect more of their pedigree to be flaunted, instead, the fundamentals of the track are fairly standard and generic, and it’s down to Strnad to add some spice and keep it from merely treading water.
John Bush cannulates ‘Bound By Silence’ with energy and venom, and this track has stepped things up a notch. It has addictive riffs a plenty, with the main riff coursing through the track like a jugular vein pulsating through the superior vena cava. Bush works in union with the musical tapestry behind him, and the drums of Portnoy sound like they are orchestrating a monumental crusade across a blood torn battlefield.
‘King With A Paper Crown’ blasts in mid album and features the booming powerhouse vocals of Amon Amarths Johan Hegg. The vocals from Hegg are brutal and power personified, the riffs and drums, at times, seem to be struggling to keep up to the charge of the dynamo
This album is poignant and reflective in its choice of contributors. Guitar God Andreas Kisser features intermittently through the entirety, and it proves that hatchets can well and truly be buried when Max Cavalera makes an appearance on ‘Voodoo Of The Godsend’. The album helps create a moment in time that many thrash, and Seps fans, thought would never come, Max and Andreas on a record, together for the first time in over 20 years. Could this be the first step to a full Sepultura reunion??
Max lends his unique tribal war vocals to a melodic forefront on ‘Voodoo Of The Godsend’ and the heart of the track is ancestral and tribal in its persona. The blend and mix on the track are almost faultless, and this song wouldn’t go amiss on one of Max’s very own releases.
Two of the weakest and frailest tracks of the release are ‘Liars And Thieves’ featuring Troy Sanders (Mastodon) and ‘Impulse Control’ with the guesting of Mark Osegueda (Death Angel). You would expect more from ‘Liars And Thieves’ as Sanders is normally associated with the crushing, barbaric and warlord approach of Mastodon. ‘Liars And Thieves’ is generic in its makeup, and shows no individuality to make it shine above all the main stream metal out there. ‘Impulse Control’ also has no moments to make it stand out from a thousand other releases out there.
The albums conclusion Power Drunk Majesty (Parts I & II) sees Osegueda (Part I) given another outing, alongside the immense and powerful lungs of Floor Jansen (Nightwish)(Part II). Jansen is stellar and multi-dimensional, and provides the most powerful exhibition of vocal talents on the whole release. The allegiance seems to be keeping the best to last and seem to almost be teasing us through the rest of the album, almost acting as an opening act for this main event. ‘Power Drunk Majesty (Part II) is purely anthemic in epic proportions.
This release is diverse in its construction. It has massive highs (Cavalera and Jansen), yet some massive failings in Sanders and Osegueda. This album can’t be trusted on its pedigree alone, and the 4 masterminds at the core of this release, should be able to exude a more compelling constant degree of perfection given the beasts they have all created individually.
If you are after an ‘images and words’, ‘the new order’ or ‘rust in peace’, then this album is not for you. However, if you are a superfan of supergroups and want to test the water with something slightly different from the contributor’s regular day jobs, then this may well be worth a go.
(6/10 Phil Pountney)