Supergroup albums are sometimes misleading. It seems there are one or two awesome songs on an album but the rest play-out as self-fulfilling and intended to fill out the rest of the track list.
Well my friends, I’m happy to say Metal Allegiance is not that supergroup! Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty fucking crushes from beginning to end. The lineup of Mike Portnoy, Alex Skolnick, David Ellefson and Mark Menghi wrote these songs together, like a garage band, rather than over e-mail like so many collaborations in this day and age. It is evidenced in both songwriting and lyrics, and this album is a pissed off lesson in modern thrash a lot of bands should take to heart.
Not only is the core lineup stellar, but this album includes a plethora of phenomenal vocalists, including Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder), John Bush (Armored Saint), Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (Overkill), Mark Tornillo (Accept), Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth), Max Cavalera (Soulfly), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Troy Sanders (Mastodon), and Mark Osegueda (Death Angel). It also features guest appearances by virtuoso Joe Satriani, thrasher Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), and premier side-woman Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper).
“The Accuser,” featuring Strnad, opens the album up in grand fashion. His vocals take a step away from his style in The Black Dahlia Murder and fall somewhere between Show No Mercy-era Tom Araya and Mille Petrozza of Kreator. Skolnick’s chunky riffs and flashy leads make this one hell of a thrash song. “Bound By Silence” is my favorite here, and Bush absolutely crushes the vocals. It transports me back to the first Armored Saint album. “Mother of Sin” is a thrash masterpiece! Blitz’s vocals are instantly recognizable and he lays it all out on the line. “Terminal Illusion” is more straightforward but it no less pummeling. Tornillo sounds awesome, and the guitar solos are blistering. “King With a Paper Crown,” featuring Hegg, definitely has an Amon Amarth feel, and there is a break in the middle that recalls Iron Maiden in both bass and guitar. “Voodoo of the Godsend” is a thrashy, tribal little ditty featuring none other than Cavalera. It’s pulverizing and trance-inducing. “Liars & Thieves” has an old Ministry feel, and Sanders does a great job on vocals although the lyrics come off a bit corny and dated. “Impulse Control” is the weakest song here, and it’s hard to get by the lyrics. The title track has two parts, the first brutal segment features Mark Osegueda, and the second, which more melodic, showcases Jansen. The dynamics in both the vocals and guitars is perfect!
Metal Allegiance‘s Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty is an album that fans of any sub-genre of metal can get into. It definitely leans toward a thrashier sound, and I love that.
Volume II – Power Drunk Majesty is out September 7 on Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Buy it here!