REVIEW: "Power Drunk Majesty" By METAL ALLEGIANCE
Thrash Metal/Nuclear Blast/Released Sept 7, 2018
A common question thrown around in metal circles is “If you could put together your dream band, who would be in it?” Well Metal Allegiance allows metal fans to get a taste of that idea in the flesh. A project masterminded by bassist Mark Menghi, the rest of the band is composed of bassist David Ellefson (Megadeth), guitarist Alex Skolnick (Testament), and drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, Winery Dogs). The band has no permanent front man and instead uses a revolving door of singers both on stage and in studio.
Power Drunk Majesty is the second full length from the collective and, similar to their debut, features a who’s who of singers and other collaborators from metal past and present. The songs are a little less bloated this time around and lyrically focuses on themes of corruption, evil rulers, and the damage caused by such. There’s thankfully less ballads on the record this time around which keeps the energy higher but the songs do still run a little long for thrash. The riffs on each track are solid but not exactly mind blowing. Instead it’s the carousel of distinctive singers that keeps you listening more so than head banging riffs.
Opening track “The Accuser” is a nice speedy opener with The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad on the mic. It’s interesting to hear Strnad on a thrash track away from his usual melodeath comfort zone and is an outside the box pick for the group to go with for a guest spot. John Bush (Armored Saint, ex-Anthrax) sings on one of my favorites of the album on the track “Bound By Silence”. A driving, head banger highlighted by Bush’s charismatic rasp and is more to the point than most of the songs with not as much filler.
Soulfly’s Max Cavalera brings his unique style to “Voodoo Of The Godsend”. An outlier on the album with its tribal rhythm, chants, and eschewing of any thrash stylings. Making the song sound more at home on a Soulfly record than Metal Allegiance. Mastodon’s Troy Sanders sings on the marching “Liars & Thieves” which is out the box of any of his projects. Political lyrics about Wall Street and corporate greed set on a bed of groovy, mid tempo thrash for its first half. The second half goes into double time with a few swift guitar solos but still remains vocal focused. Despite its six minute length its one of the few songs on the album that doesn’t feel overly long.
Death Angel’s Mark Osegueda fronts two of the better tracks on the record with the sharp riffing “Impulse Control” and the mid tempo swing of “Power Drunk Majesty (Part I)”. Being one of the few thrash singers on the record, Osegueda sounds right at home on his songs. A surprising positive is Floor Jansen (Nightwish) on the closer “Power Drunk Majesty (Part II)”. A mid tempo track that leans more towards traditional metal with a big chorus that matches well with Jansen’s classically trained singing style.
For a band with such an all star line up and constantly different singers that should keep things fresh, Metal Allegiance continues to be more an interesting experiment than a must hear project. Power Drunk Majesty is a step up from the band’s debut. But remains just passable and is carried more by its sea of guests than its core members. The record would be aided by shorter track times and more song diversity. Not to mention a need for riffs that grab your attention a little harder than what’s displayed here.