Chris Loomis

Metal Allegiance @ House of Blues Anaheim – 01/16/2020

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If you are a thrash-metal fan, this is the show for you . . . Metal Allegiance is the all-star team of heavy metal musicians, spawned from the Metal Masters clinics by former Marketing Director at Samson Technologies Mark Menghi. Metal Allegiance started as a live revolving door of musicians from the metal brotherhood of bands like Megadeth, Testament, Winery Dogs, Anthrax, Death Angel and Exodus. The band assembled back in 2015 and again in 2018 to record two killer original albums led by the “core four” of Mark Menghi, Alex Skolnick (Testament), David Ellefson (Megadeth) and Mike Portnoy (Winery Dogs). Metal Allegiance does very limited live shows due to schedules of all the different band members but once again all gathered in Anaheim (all in town for The NAMMM Show) at The House of Blues on Thursday night January 16 for a memorable 2-hour performance.

The 2020 Metal Allegiance performance included the following performers:

Vocalists: Chuck Billy (Testament) | Mark Osegueda (Death Angel) | Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (Overkill) | John Bush (Armored Saint) | Troy Sanders (Mastodon)

Guitar Players: Andreas Kisser (Sepultura) | Alex Skolnick (Testament) | Phil Demmel (Vio-Lence) | Gary Holt (Exodus/Slayer) | Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy) | Dave Davidson (Revocation)

Bass Players: Mark Menghi (Metal Allegiance) | Jack Gibson (Exodus)

Drummers: Mike Portnoy (Winery Dogs/Sons of Apollo) | Dave Lombardo (Suicidal Tendencies) | Jason Bittner (Overkill)

The show kicked off with Troy Sanders on vocals for the Metal Allegiance original “The Accuser” (originally sung by Trevor Strnad) followed by two additional Metal Allegiance originals – “Bound By Silence” with John Bush on vocals and “Can’t Kill the Devil” with Chuck Billy on vocals. A fabulous way to start the evening with the cast of guitarists beginning their rotation through each song and the crowd getting restless and starting to get rowdy in the mosh pit.

Now the cover songs started, and all were delivered with passion and aggression yet holding true to the originals . . . all started with “Leper Messiah” by Metallica with Chuck Billy handling vocals. Seeing different guitarists play together was possibly a once in a lifetime experience – Holt and Kisser, Skolnick and Demmel, then throw in Jeff Loomis from Arch Enemy and Dave Davidson from Revocation into the mix and there was no shortage of six-string shredding.

Drummer Mike Portnoy handled most of the drumming early on then was replaced with Overkill’s Jason Bittner for a killer version of “Wrecking Crew” with Bobby Blitz on vocals. Blitz then killed it on “Mother of Sin” – another thrashing Metal Allegiance original.

The first highlight of the night was John Bush on vocals playing two of his Anthrax songs from back when he was in that band – “What Doesn’t Die” and “Only” – two hard hitting songs that unfortunately don’t get the attention they deserve. The next highlight can be summed up in one word – SLAYER!

With Mark Osegueda on vocals, Dave Lombardo on drums, Gary Holt and Phil Demmel on guitars and Jack Gibson on bass, this group absolutely crushed three Slayer covers – “Postmortem”, “Raining Blood” then “Angel of Death”. The crowd was at its most active during these three songs and the band and crowd fed off each other’s energy. Gary Holt is a master string bender and he and Demmel (both having played with Slayer), delivered a memorable performance of these thrash classics.

Showing his vocal diversity, Osegueda next sang “Tom Sawyer”, a tribute to Neil Peart that had Peart’s friend and peer Mike Portnoy on drums. A touching tribute that had all pointing to the sky upon completion of the song – RIP Neil Peart.

The end of Metal Allegiance shows are always the most fun as all participants hit the stage and on this night a cover of Iron Maiden’s “Running Free” and Motorhead’s “Overkill” ended the night with everyone trading off vocals and riffs.

The entire 2-hour performance was EPIC . . . getting to see these thrash/heavy metal legends play together was beyond amazing – EVERY performance was a unique metal masterpiece.

The 2020 flowed from song to song as there was little to no “wait-time” in-between songs as the artists rotated on and off stage with ease. This was truly an epic night of heavy metal and it was wonderful to see the brotherhood and friendship come out on stage between all these musicians – lots of laughing, joking, high fives, just an amazing experience to see these performers honoring each other as well as some of their heavy metal heroes.

Each year Metal Allegiance puts together a show that tops the previous year’s and with that said, January 2021 cannot come fast enough.

Metal Allegiance Set-List:

The Accuser | Bound By Silence | Can’t Kill the Devil | Leper Messiah (Metallica cover) | Exciter (Judas Priest cover) | The Toxic Waltz (Exodus cover) | Princess of The Night (Saxon cover) | Refuse/Resist (Sepultura cover) | Wrecking Crew (Overkill cover) | Mother of Sin | Let Darkness Fall | Lights Out (UFO cover) | What Doesn’t Die (Anthrax cover) | Only (Anthrax cover) | Postmortem (Slayer cover) | Raining Blood (Slayer cover) | Angel of Death (Slayer cover) | Tom Sawyer (Rush cover) | Pledge of Allegiance | Running Free (Iron Maiden cover) | Overkill (Motörhead cover)

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