Metal Allegiance @ House of Blues Anaheim – 01/25/2018
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, Exodus and many more and play some of their own music mixed in with hard rock and heavy metal covers from other classic bands. They assembled in 2015 to record an album of original tracks and album number two is scheduled for a 2018 release. The band does very limited live shows due to the schedules of all the different band members but all gathered in Anaheim at The House of Blues on Thursday night January 25 with a killer lineup that was surely to be an epic night of music.
For the last couple years Metal Allegiance has performed in late January, coinciding with the annual NAMM show (National Association of Music Merchants trade show) which is what draws all the musicians into this same location. This year Los Angeles based heavy hitters Edge of Paradise and horror punk mastermind Wednesday 13 opened the show, both of which delivered a kick-ass set leading up to the Metal Allegiance members hitting the stage.
For this show Metal Allegiance had announced the following performers:
Vocalists: Chuck Billy (Testament) | Mark Osegueda (Death Angel) | Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (Overkill) | John Bush (Armored Saint) | Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil)
Guitar Players: Andreas Kisser (Sepultura) | Gary Holt (Exodus/Slayer) | Alex Skolnick (Testament)
Bass Players: David Ellefson (Megadeth), Mark Menghi (Metal Allegiance)
Drummers: Mike Portnoy (Winery Dogs/Sons of Apollo)
Absent this year were Metal Allegiance regulars Scott Ian and Charlie Benante from Anthrax who are currently on tour with Killswitch Engage.
The night kicked off with “Hit the Lights” by Metallica with Chuck Billy on vocals, Mark Menghi on bass and Andreas Kisser on guitar and Mike Portnoy who sat in on drums for the entire show. What’s immediately obvious with a show like this is seeing and hearing these musicians play songs from bands who are their peers which obviously is a sign of respect and admiration. Chuck Billy held the vocals on a Metal Allegiance original track before Mark Osegueda and Gary Holt came out to play an ultra heavy version of Slayer’s “Mandatory Suicide”.
Chuck Billy and Mark Osegueda have been long time participants of Metal Allegiance and they do an amazing job on vocals but on this night, Anaheim was in for a treat as Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth from Overkill and John Bush (former Anthrax) and Armored Saint vocalist were in the house and both took this show to a new level. Ellsworth addressed the crowd with his New Jersey accent and stated “We are going to jam so much metal up your ass tonight, you will be shitting roofing nails for a week”. Ellsworth played a killer rendition of Overkill’s “Elimination” followed by a brand-new Metal Allegiance song played for the first time live “Mother of Sin”.
John Bush replaced Ellsworth on vocals and seemed extremely pumped to be onstage participating in this show and boy did he give all in attendance a surprise as he played a song he stated he had not sang live in 15 years . . . the Anthrax song “A Room for One More” and he nailed it – what a GREAT song and a testament to how good the Bush era Anthrax music is. Bush’s voice sounded as strong and powerful as ever. Chuck Billy later joined Bush for a vocal duo on a cover of UFO’s “Lights Out”. At this point you realize what you are seeing is possibly a once in a lifetime show – when will you ever see Chuck Billy singing with John Bush again . . .
The guitarists have been rotating between Alex Skolnick, Andreas Kisser and Gary Holt – three of the premiere thrash guitarists and over all best guitar players out there along with David Ellefson taking turns with Mark Menghi on bass all while Mike Portnoy was behind his massive drumkit all night pounding away. Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil joined Mark Osegueda for a duet on “Scars” and two late show highlights were John Bush taking vocals on Iron Maiden’s “Prowler” with Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper) on guitar and Bobby Ellsworth on vocals for the Exodus classic “Bonded by Blood”.
This show seemed to flow much better than previous Metal Allegiance shows as there was little to no “wait-time” in-between songs as the artists rotated on and off stage with ease. As anticipated there was an encore (Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast”) that had ALL the performers onstage sharing lead vocals and guitar solos. 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 2019 cannot come fast enough. Be on the lookout for Metal Allegiance 2 when it is released in 2018 as it is sure to be a scorcher.
Metal Allegiance Set List:
Hit The Lights | Can’t Kill The Devil | Mandatory Suicide | Fast As A Shark | Grinder | Elimination | Mother of Sin | Room For One More | Bound By Silence | Lights Out | Into The Pit | Refuse/Resist | Scars | Sabbath Bloody Sabbath | Prowler | Bonded By Blood | Metal Militia | Pledge Of Allegiance | Number Of The Beast