Metal Allegiance – Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty
Released: September 7th, 2018
Alex Skolnick // Guitarist/Producer
Mark Menghi // Bassist/Producer
Mike Portnoy // Drums
David Ellefson // Bass
Just three years after their impressive, self titled debut album, Metal Allegiance will be releasing their sophomore album, Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty, on September 7 via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Beginning as a celebration of heavy metal, Metal Allegiance has returned with it’s four core members – David Ellefson (Megadeth), Alex Skolnick (Testament), Mike Portnoy (Winery Dogs, ex-Dream Theatre) and Mark Menghi, to bring you one of the tightest albums to date.
The list of musicians for Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty include Trevor Strnad (THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER), John Bush (ARMORED SAINT), Bobby “BLITZ” Ellsworth (OVERKILL), Mark Tornillo (ACCEPT), Nita Strauss (ALICE COOPER), Max Cavalera (SOULFLY), Joe Satriani, Floor Jansen (NIGHTWISH), Johan Hegg (AMON AMARTH). It also marks the return of Mark Osegueda (DEATH ANGEL), Andreas Kisser (SEPULTURA), and Troy Sanders (MASTODON). Unlike the first album, with it’s vast array of guests and sound, Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty, has reduced in size of guests, but is in no way a reduction in quality. In fact, it’s resulted in a more controlled, mature sound. Exemplifying the chemistry between heavy metals dream team. Not to be confused, I thoroughly enjoyed the first album and it’s versatility. Volume II, is however, definitely more thrash focused, with no covers.
Lyrically, the album anchors on America’s society and the entrapment within the system. Something relatable to anyone listening. It’s worth noting, the album cover art that is reflective of each song on the album, was done by the talented Marcelo Vasco. Well known for his art on album covers for bands such as Slayer, Kreator, Soulfly, Machine Head and many more. From the initial press of the play button, my body was overcome with a warm excitement running through me.
‘The Accuser‘ (feat. Trevor Strnad) was a great kick-start to the album. Finger tapping and tasty licks immediately grabbed hold of me, before battering me with the pounding percussions of Portnoy. Trevor’s vocals have strayed from the typical death growls one would associate with The Black Dahlia Murder, taking on a gruff, almost early Araya style. As a Slayer enthusiast, this pleased me immensely. The fullness of John Bush‘s throat could not be mistaken in Bound By Silence, whose lyrics were inspired by a late night conversation Menghi had in a bar, with a terminally ill Vietnam veteran. With the addition of some serious arse kicking grooves, it’s certain to be a crowd pleaser.
‘Mother of Sin’ is all kinds of delicious and the definite stand out for me. From the husky vox of Bobby Blitz (Overkill) to the brilliant combination from Portnoy and Skolnick. Fueled with face melting guitar solos, this is one brilliant culmination of musicianship and the epitome of thrash! A rolling drum solo leads into ‘Terminal Illusion‘. Incorporating the gritty vox of Mark Tornillo (Accept), giving the track a largely epic vibe. Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth) brings that extra heaviness with his vocals, that you don’t even realise are missing, until you hear ‘King with a Paper Crown‘. ‘Voodoo of the Godsend‘ takes the listener on a tribal journey, with a fitting reunion of Max Cavalera and Andreas Kisser. Although Cavalera and Kisser weren’t in the same room at the same time, it’s good to see them put aside their differences to create this memorable track. Cavalera states the idea for the song title came from an African Head Charge album called Voodoo of the Godsent. Not indicative of MA’s style of song, that leaves you feeling haunted.
A bell toll from the NY Stock Exchange opens and ends the song ‘Liars and Thieves‘, seeing the return of Troy Sanders (Mastodon). The only singer, along with Mark Osegueda (Death Angel) who is the unofficial voice of Metal Allegiance, to contribute on both albums. A great track with some spoken word and chants incorporated in among it’s thrash brutality. You’d be forgiven for thinking this particular track was two individual songs, with the changeover mid song. A smooth bass riff by Ellefson leads into Impulse Control, with Mark Osegueda taking charge on vocals. Although a technically sound song and Osegueda’s vocals are faultless (he’s one of my favourites), I found the rhyming of the word control, a bit overdone. My only critique on the entire album. Easy to overlook with the calibre of the song and the album.
Concluding with a two part succession, Osegueda is called on to lead vocals again, in ‘Power Drunk Majesty (Part 1)‘, followed by the only female guest vocalist on the album, Floor Jansen (Nightwish). Although I’m rather picky with my choice of female vox, Floor was utterly amazing, with her versatile vocal range, that left you wanting more. There’s undoubtedly something for everyone on this album, and will definitely be a regular on my playlist.
If I need to give it a score out of ten, I’d give it an easy 8.5
Metal Allegiance – Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty tracklisting
1. The Accuser (feat. Trevor Strnad)
2. Bound by Silence (feat. John Bush)
3. Mother of Sin (feat. Bobby Blitz)
4. Terminal Illusion (feat. Mark Tornillo)
5. King with a Paper Crown (feat. Johan Hegg)
6. Voodoo of the Godsend (feat. Max Cavalera)
7. Liars & Thieves (feat. Troy Sanders)
8. Impulse Control (feat. Mark Osegueda)
9. Power Drunk Majesty (Part I) (feat. Mark Osegueda)
10 Power Drunk Majesty (Part II) (feat. Floor Jansen)