Metal Allegiance is an American supergroup made up of Mark Menghi, ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick, and Megadeth bassist David Ellefson. The group’s newest album, Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty, features a who’s who of metal vocalists, each contributing to a different track. The project is very interesting in concept, as it gives fans a chance to hear some of their favourite musicians performing outside of their usual wheelhouse. Power Drunk Majesty has some standout moments, but the album is quite inconsistent.
Power Drunk Majesty begins with “The Accuser,” which features The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad. It’s a hard-hitting crossover metal tune and an interesting choice for Strnad, who holds his own despite being outside of melodic death metal territory. Some other highlights on the album include the song “Mother of Sin,” which features a Bay Area thrash instrumental underneath the over-the-top vocals of Overkill’s Bobby Blitz, and the more melodic/prog closing track “Power Drunk Majesty (Part II),” featuring Nightwish’s Floor Jansen. My favourite track on Power Drunk Majesty is “Voodoo of the Godsend.” Featuring Soulfly’s Max Cavalera, the song contains a heavy tribal beat, reminiscent of Roots-era Sepultura, and what I feel is Metal Allegiance’s strongest chorus on this project.
Despite the strong points, Power Drunk Majesty has some serious flaws. Some of the vocal features just do not fit the music that Metal Allegiance are offering up. Although I was a fan of the clean singing that popped up later in the song, the deep growls of Amon Amarth’s Johan Hegg seem really out of place on “King with a Paper Crown.” And then there’s the cringe-worthy rhyme scheme on “Impulse Control:”
“Sinking in my soul. Fell into a hole. Hanging from a pole. Impulse control.”
I’m not sure if Death Angel’s Mark Osegueda is responsible for the song’s lyrics, but someone could’ve put a little more effort into them. Worst of all, at least for me, Metal Allegiance seem married to the idea that every song needs at least one over-the-top, self-indulgent guitar solo. Yes, Alex Skolnick is an extremely talented guitarist, but the novelty wore off quick.
Metal Allegiance is more interesting to me in concept than in practice. The idea that you could hear members of The Black Dahlia Murder, Mastodon, and Soulfly on the same album would be a dream come true for some metalheads. Power Drunk Majesty has some great moments, but they’re not exactly littered across the album. The concept of Metal Allegiance seems to me like something that would lend itself a lot better to a live show than a whole album.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Mike Milito