There’s a palpable buzz from both the crowd and the musicians onstage as the German folk song Ein Heller Und Ein Batzen introduces Accept’s Fast As A Shark, a song that helped plant the seeds of thrash.
No one’s here for a history lesson, they’ve gathered for a soundtrack of songs they loved at pivotal moments in their lives, and that’s what Metal Allegiance deliver. Death Angel’s Mark Osegueda sings lead, as he does for much of the night, and Testament’s Alex Skolnick and Exodus and Slayer’s Gary Holt share guitar duties while Mike Portnoy keeps time like a stopwatch. For the guys onstage, this isn’t work, it’s pure fun, bringing back their garage jamming days.
Anyone who’s wanted to see Skolnick, Portnoy and Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson (Metal Allegiance’s core) plow through the first three songs of Van Halen – including the legendary Eruption – is in luck. But Metal Allegiance also play songs by Iron Maiden, Kiss and Sepultura as well as originals from their self-titled debut of songs in the vein of some of their favourite bands. Tonight’s album release show features 19 covers and four cuts from Metal Allegiance. Dying Song sees Osegueda channel his inner Phil Anselmo, who sings on the album track; Can’t Kill The Devil features Testament vocalist Chuck Billy and pretty much sounds like that band; Pledge Of Allegiance is Megadeth crossed with early Anthrax; and Scars is redolent of Sacred Reich’s American Way crossed with, well, Lacuna Coil – except here Alissa White-Gluz capably fills in for Cristina Scabbia on the clean parts and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante plays guitar. Outside the originals, the show plays to the strengths of the guest stars. Benante joins Portnoy for a dual drumathon on Iron Maiden’s Invaders.
Bello imitates Paul Stanley and plays guitar for Kiss’s Got To Choose and Scott Ian and Benante are centre stage for three songs by their side-project S.O.D. Later, Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein plays on the Misfits’ Last Caress, which was famously covered by Metallica. Metal Allegiance also pay homage to Metallica with Whiplash and a closing Seek & Destroy, Ellefson joyously shouting along as he plays. In the world of Metal Allegiance, there’s no room for grudges. There is only metal.