Metal Life Show Review: Metal Allegiance LA 2015
Metal Allegiance kicked off NAMM week ceremoniously, as dozens of “vintage” metal lovers gathered to the House of Blues in downtown Disney for a night of timeless tunes played by the pioneers and gods of all things heavy. What made this event slightly more unique than the Metal Masters clinics held in Hollywood a few years back was that this set was much more highly attributed to the timeless classics of heavy rock, from Rainbow and Paul Dianno-era Iron Maiden to UFO and Thin Lizzy. Every audience member and musician alike opened their hearts, bodies, and minds to pledge allegiance to the metal.
Though I mentioned many classics were performed, I will be mentioning throughout this review that there were many heavy-as-fuck tunes to be had. Hardcore fans everywhere were bursting at the seams upon the “March of the SOD.” Troy Sanders joined the three kinetic souls of Anthrax (Ian, Bello, Benante), and his charisma—although peculiar—matched the energy of the renowned hardcore outfit’s greatest anthems like “Sargent D” and “Freddy Krueger.”
This wouldn’t be a proper show review if I didn’t give Mark Osegueda, vocalist of Death Angel, some major props for his performances. I don’t want to be the guy who has to pull of “Victim of Changes” and “Stargazer” in the same night. But Osegueda marched through the challenge, which came with the peaks and valleys that come with attempting Priest and Dio vocals respectively. He even admitted he messed up a few times, but his tribute was genuine nonetheless. Watching Chuck Billy dominate the Sepultura covers of “Refuse, Resist” and “Attitude” felt so right, it’s a wonder he’s not doing Sepultura/Testament double duty. I mean, if Gary Holt can do it, can’t anyone?! Seeing Zetro on stage for the first time (for me, at least) was a dream come true, and his contributions to “Balls to the Wall” and his leads in “Highway to Hell” were so attitudinal, and I could just watch a whole Zetro set, ok, Metal Allegiance promoters? Thank you!!
Guitar maniacs were kept hypnotized all night. Skolnick made his grand entrance for the night with his rendition of “Rapid Fire.” He opened “Diary of a Madman” with that familiar acoustic introduction that was as authentically played as it was passionate. But once he was joined by Chris Broderick, the dimensions of “Diary” as well as “Victim of Changes” expanded vastly. Badass squad Andreas Kisser and Gary Holt amplified the ferocity of “Piranha” and “Attitude” by miles [note: Holt did not play in the latter].
The bass players and drum lords were the pulse of the night, as Rex Brown, Dave Ellefson, Frank Bello, Rainbow’s Jimmy Bain, Charlie Benante, Mike Portnoy, and John Tempesta provided the vivid backdrops that no other musician that night could have done without. Bello was bouncing around to “Diary of a Madman,” which cracked me up; Dave Ellefson ironically never seemed to break a sweat during “Cold Sweat” or “Kill the King”; and Mike Portnoy’s never-ending intensity lit up the whole place. Jamming and singing along to heavy metal history was an amazing experience, and a kickass way to start my first ever journey through NAMM.