A Metal Allegiance unites at House of Blues Anaheim, CA 1-21-15

A Metal Allegiance unites at House of Blues Anaheim, CA 1-21-15

Metal Allegiance, loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior or of an individual to a group or cause. It once seemed as unattainable as a dream. One remembers waking up in a cold sweat with a vision of all of his or her favorite Metal moguls working together in collaboration on one stage to bring life to the seemingly forgotten Metal music of the past.  As Metal fans have asked for more and audiences have been heard, that dream has now become reality in unity of a new Metal Allegiance. Emerging after Megadeth dropped off of Motorhead’s Motorboat in 2014, an all-star band joined forces to take their place, and Metal Allegiance delivered to fans what seemed to be a one-time-only show — but here there are again in 2015.

Fans were thrilled to learn that Metal Allegiance would kick off NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) week in Anaheim, California with a grand performance at the House of Blues on Thursday January 21st. While not the same lineup that appeared on the Motorboat, this iteration of the super-group  is still one hell of an assemblage of past and current Heavy Metal icons. The current Metal Allegiance consists of the genre luminaries Scott Ian, Frank Bello, and Charlie Benante of Anthrax, Chuck Billy and Alex Skolnick of Testament, Rex Brown of Pantera, Chris Broderick and David Ellefson of Megadeth, Gary Holt of Exodus and Slayer, Andreas Kisser of Sepultura, Mark Osegueda  of Death Angel, Mike Portnoy  of The Winery Dogs, Troy Sanders  of Mastodon, and John Tempesta of The Cult.

Jose Mangin of Sirius XM’s Liquid Metal was the evening’s host, and he was more than ready to get this crowd revved up. After a brief getting-to- know-you chit-chat, he yelled, “Who the hell is ready to mosh?” and the crowd made it known that they wanted their Metal stars on the stage. However, before the evening could get underway, Jackson Guitars announced a give-away of a custom guitar that showcased the Metal Allegiance shielded Knight and autographs by the Metal Masters featured at the show. Mangin spotted a little kid in the crowd hoisted up on his father’s shoulders, and awarded him the coveted axe. They brought the kid on stage and gave him the guitar, which assuredly the father will enjoy for a long time too. After a brief exit, Mangin returned to further hype the crowd up with the assistance of four beautiful Jagermeister ladies scantily dressed in spiked shorts and Jagermeister tanks. Mangin poured a shot of Jager, raised it in the air as if it were an offering to the Metal Gods, made a toast, and the festivities were underway.

Onto the stage was none other than Scott Ian. In the fashion of Speaking Words, Ian’s successful 2014 spoken-word event, the Metal god/raconteur shared stories about his legendary career. Since the October 2014 publication of his autobiography, I’m The Man: The Story Of That Guy From Anthrax, Ian has been performing these spoken-word events around the globe in support of the release. The fans loved it and showed their support by joining in, yelling back, and offering up some good-natured heckling. Ian loved it as much as the fans, raising a drink in the air, and saying, “Buckle up, ’cause you are in for a ride.”

The lights went dim, smoke started to fill the stage, and the Allegiance was summoned. Silhouettes appeared, and Sanders, Ian, Bello, and Benante were off and running, performing songs “March of the S.O.D,” “Sargent D and the S.O.D,” and “Freddy Krueger” by Stormtroopers Of Death. The crowd was amped up with fists pumping and horns raised in the air to show their approval for the performers. A few members exited the stage and a few more members of the Allegiance entered: Osegueda, Skolnick, and Ellefson. They played a mighty blast of some Judas Priest tunes like “Rapid Fire” and one hell of a version of “Victim of Changes.” For the latter, which stayed true the original version, Broderick and Brown joined in. Fans were in complete awe watching this collection of Metal greats perform such musical magic.

The night was far from over as Metal Allegiance was just getting started. Osegueda was quickly joined by Holt, Kisser, Ellefson, Portnoy, and Steve Souza. Beginning with some classic Accept songs such as “Fast as a Shark” and “Balls to the Wall,” they moved on to Black Sabbath, covering songs that featured both Ozzy Osborne and Ronnie James Dio. With band members constantly changing, it was a bit hard to keep up with who was present, but one thing that was not difficult to keep track of was the music! It sounded incredible and was rendered with absolute brilliance and mastery. The Allegiance went on to cover Thin Lizzy’s “Cold Sweat,” UFO’s “Lights Out,” and Rainbow’s “Stargazer” as as well “Kill the Kill,” original bass player Jimmy Bain on stage.  As if that was not enough excitement other Metal favorites such as Exodus’ “Piranha,” Sepultura’s “Attitude,” “Refuse/Resist,” and “Territory,” while Iron Maiden’s “Murder in the Rue Morgue” and “Revelations” followed with a slew of Van Halen classics before KISS’ “I Love it Loud” was the which saw the stage filled with member after member of Metal Allegiance.

As the evening continued, fans saw a rotating cast of musicians coming and going, high-fiving each other in camaraderie and sheer joy. Somehow it seemed as if these Metal Allegiance musicians had longed to play with each other, to somehow test the boundaries not only of their own individual abilities, but to push each other a bit further and lend mastery to the great Metal classics of their collective past. A number of phrases come to mind when considering the talent that hit the stage that night, phrases along the lines of, “Wow” or “simply unbelievable.” However, many of those lucky enough to actually see this magnificent spectacle were at a loss for words, standing in awe and complete amazement. After they picked their jaws up off the floor and cleaned off the sweat that was streaming from their bodies, what they finally managed to say was, “More please. We would like some more.” Even though Metal Allegiance performed to a jam packed House of Blues crowd for over three hours the fans demanded more.  Fortunately this is not the end of the alliance of stars as they will be appearing on ShipRocked cruise which launches out of Miami, Florida on Monday February 2nd.   Those who are scheduled to hitch a ride aboard the boat will not only get more Metal Allegiance. A special announcement is forthcoming, so fans wait and see what it could possibly be. Could it be more Metal icons joining, could it be a full tour, could it be a broadcast of the concert? No one knows just yet, but all that can be said is that anyone who has the chance to see this should run, not walk, and join the Allegiance.

 

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Rick Triana
rickptriana@gmail.com
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