What once started out as a celebration of heavy metal, unfolded in a real project, with some of the biggest names in the industry collaborating together. METAL ALLEGIANCE is back with their second album “Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty”.
This time around the band scaled down the cast of characters who appeared on the first album. There are still a lot of guest vocalists on this album, but it is much more concise and there are fewer guest soloists. Expect guests like Trevor Strnad (Black Dahlia Murder), John Bush (Armored Saint), Bobby Blitz (Overkill), Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth), Mark Tornillo(Accept), Max Cavalera (Soulfly), Mark Osegueda (Death Angel), and Troy Sanders (Mastodon). Skolnick‘s virtuoso melodic lead guitar work is often joined by guest soloists who represent a wide spectrum of generations and styles, such as Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper) and Joe Satriani.
The album kicks off with “The Accuser”, featuring Trevor Strnad. The song slowly builds up from a tapping lead guitar, accompanied by power chords, to an accelerating thrash metal classic, with addictive riffs. The vocal performance of Strnad really surprised me and took me off guard. The album starts with a high note already early on but then continues into other songs that are equally dominated by thrash and show us how it’s supposed to be done, “Mother of Sin” with Bobby Blitz, “Impulse Control” with Mark Osegueda. Another personal highlight – if the album is not just one big highlight by itself – is “Terminal Illusion”, featuring Mark Tornillo. What’s great about this album is that the vocalists are not shy to use different styles than what we might be used to from in their own projects, METAL ALLEGIANCE, however, is not putting them outside of their comfort zone either. Take for example tracks like “King with a Paper Crown” featuring Johan Hegg and “Voodoo of the Godsend” with Max Cavalera. The latter sounds like it’s inspired a lot by Sepultura’s “Roots”, using the trademark tribal inspired drum sound. The record ends with a two-part title track. The first part is sung with Mark Osegueda, while the second part features Floor Jansen. The first part is a pretty classic track, but Floor Jansen takes it to a whole new level. While I would have expected her to sing more heavy metal-like, it feels like she tapped inspiration from her previous projects like After Forever and Revamp and I can tell you, I have missed these exact vocals on her previous projects. Other than smoothly transitioning into one another, the tracks have very little in common and it makes me wonder why they didn’t at least have both of them intertwine with each other at some points. However, the album starts on a high note and ends on one.
The album, while incredibly diverse, is far most a thrash metal album that includes a lot of different influences, mainly put in by the guests. Every track sounds different from the previous one, but it still carries around the same stamp that METAL ALLEGIANCE put on there. The album is heavy, it has amazingly catchy riffs and a lot of exciting moments to offer.
1. The Accuser (feat. Trevor Strnad) 2. Bound by Silence (feat. John Bush) 3. Mother of Sin (feat. Bobby Blitz)
4. Terminal Illusion (feat. Mark Tornillo)
5. King with a Paper Crown (feat. Johan Hegg)
6. Voodoo of the Godsend (feat. Max Cavalera)
7. Liars & Thieves (feat. Troy Sanders)
8. Impulse Control (feat. Mark Osegueda)
9. Power Drunk Majesty (Part I) (feat. Mark Osegueda)
10. Power Drunk Majesty (Part II) (feat. Floor Jansen)
Alex Skolnick – Guitarist/Producer
Mark Menghi – Bassist/Producer
Mike Portnoy – Drums
David Ellefson – Bass