No question: this is the most notable example of collaboration within our genre since luminaries banded together to pay tribute to Ronnie James Dio on This Is Your Life.
Metal Allegiance’s core members hail from Megadeth (Dave Ellefson), Testament (Alex Skolnick) and The Winery Dogs (Mike Portnoy), alongside celebrated metal svengali Mike Menghi. The quartet have coaxed a horde of guest stars into their studio, including Philip Anselmo, Randy Blythe and Cristina Scabbia.
What the results might, perhaps inevitably, lack in terms of a united, unique identity (besides a shared worship of Black Sabbath), they make up for with a real sense of celebration and musicians having fun while mostly shunning indulgence. Highlights include opening rager Gift Of Pain, in which Randy dependably shreds his vocal cords; Chuck Billy fronting Can’t Kill The Devil, which is as awesome as its title; the old-school thrash of Pledge Of Allegiance; and the more melodic Scars, whose Megadeth-isms bear out Dave Mustaine’s long-held insistence that Ellefson’s songwriting skills have been underestimated. A few of these nine tracks feel overlong – the seven-minute, three-act instrumental Triangulum, for instance – but we can’t wait to see what happens when the mighty forces behind Metal Allegiance gel even further.