ALLEGIANCE – D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n (RE-ISSUE)
OUT 24TH August 2016
ALLEGIANCE Line up:
Conrad Higson | Vocals
Jason Stone | Guitar, Keyboards
Tony Campo | Guitar
David Harrison | Bass
Glenn Butcher | Drums
There’s something a little strange about reviewing an album that was released 22 years ago, but when I was offered this classic I couldn’t resist. Allegiance are not only one of the best bands Perth has ever produced, they’re one of the best bands this country has produced. Born in 1990, Allegiance set out to fill the thrash metal void that existed in West Australia (and Australia in general) at the time. The live music scene was entirely different to what it is today and was almost completely saturated with cover bands, where you’d walk into any number of pubs and hear yet another AC/DC or Angles cover. As someone who was there I can tell you it was a time where real musical creativity was stifled. But never fear music lovers, Allegiance was there to save the day!
Armed with a fistful of original songs, they released two demos on cassette: Make The Pledge in 1991 and Torn Between Two Worlds in 1992. The Sandgropers’ intentions were clear. They were going to take over Australia and then the world. By 1994 they were ready for the big time, releasing their debut album D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n followed soon after by their second and final album Skinman.
Spoiler alert! World domination did not follow as by 1997 Allegiance were all but done. That, however, is a story for another day. This is an album review, not a history lesson, so I shall move on.
So here we are 22 years later and D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n has been re-released and better yet, remastered. There’s a choice between the CD/DVD Mediabook or the limited to 200 vinyl LP. At the time of writing this review there were only around 60 LPs left. With my original cassette copy of D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n long gone (but not forgotten), it’s almost impossible to compare the differences between the two, not least of all the reviewers copy arrived as a digital download, something barely dreamed of in 1994. What I can tell you is pressing play and listening to this album again was like meeting an old friend, someone you shared many good times with, drinking beer and raising hell.
The new introduction is made via the first track, surprisingly titled ‘Intro’. It’s a little over a minute of atmospheric industrial sounds, leading you by the ear gently into Allegiance. Just as you’re happy to follow along you get smashed in the face with ‘Chaos Dies’. This is what we came for: crunching guitars, thundering drums, frantic bass and gravelly vocals. Conrad Higson’s vocals are instantly recognisable, like a cross between Lemmy and James Hetfield, and a perfect fit for the West Australian thrash metal legends.
The music is equal parts brutal and complex, peppered with clever timing changes and often off-kilter rhythms. There’s no four part harmonies here, just thrash metal as its best. The album builds and builds, each song stronger than the next. Try as I might I can’t find one weak track on the album. As a fan, one who unashamedly played the cassette until it stretched, warbled and finally died, I expected to hear something different from the music I loved as a 23 year old. With age comes cynicism, especially in the music world, becoming somewhat jaded and probably harder to impress. I’ve heard a lot of new local (and international) bands who have failed to impress, but Allegiance are still impressive. This album could be released today and would shoot straight to the top of the iTunes metal charts, just as it did on the charts in the mid 90’s. The remaster has breathed new life into it, not that it needed much help, with the strength of ball tearers like ‘Torn Between Two Worlds’ and ‘Morally Justified’ just to name a couple, this album bleeds thrash metal.
If you’re getting reacquainted with these (not quite gone) and not forgotten legends or you’re discovering them for the first time jump onto one of the links below and experience Allegiance. You won’t regret it!
2. Chaos Dies
3. One Step Beyond
4. Hate Frenzy
5. Torn Between Two Worlds
7. Morally Justified
8. Path Of Lies
9. Dealt The Cruel Hand
10. Downward Spiral
11. Twisted Minds
** You can follow the history of the band through the eyes of the fans in a dedicated Facebook page for Allegiance featuring long lost photos, rare videos, flyers and reviews from back in the day. Head to –> https://www.facebook.com/BringBackALLEGIANCE/