Metal Allegiance Live at Bloodstock 2016

Metal Allegiance 08“Supergroups” come and go, some deserve the prefix “super”, while others frankly don’t. Well as far as CackBlabbath is concerned Metal Allegiance are one of those which definitely does deserve that tag. Their debut album was on repeat here at CB towers for ages and their recent Tribute E.P. Fallen Heroes only served to further whet our appetite for their main stage appointment at Bloodstock Open Air..

OK, there may have been the odd disagreement on the merits of their cover of The Eagles Life In In The Fast Lane but still, this was going to be good.

Metal Allegiance has a constantly varying lineup, and today they’d pulled in a big name behind the kit. Mike Portnoy played drums on the E.P. but the logo on the drum kit showed that for this show they’d borrowed Charlie Benante from Anthrax, who was pulling a double shift.

The band arrive on stage and immediately tell the expectant crowd exactly what they’re all about “We are Metal Allegiance, a group of friends who get together to play music”.

And we’re the Bloodstock crowd, a group of friends who got together to listen to music.

And drink.

Things get underway with one of the band’s own tracks, the anthemic Can’t Kill The Devil which suffers from sound issues at the start but soon gets itself sorted out ans the band settle into it and really start enjoying themselves. Mark Menghi is the main man behind the project and it must have been fun for him to be facing the Bloodstock faithful on his first trip to the UK.

Metal Allegiance 02Metal Allegiance are an unashamed celebration of all things Metal, and their homage to the genre continued with Menghi belting out the distinctive bassline to Iron Maiden’s Wrathchild. Maybe not the most obvious Maiden song to cover but no one seemed to mind..

Cue much headbanging.

Next up we’re taken “Back to the birthplace of Metal”, for a song by “a band called Black Sabbath”. This was another not-that-obvious choice for a cover version but Into The Void got a thrashier makeover with guitar god Alex Skolnick coming forward to lay down a cracking solo in the middle.

This was just about the perfect soundtrack to a summers afternoon, but Death Angel’s Mark Osegueda was taking no chances.. staying hydrated from what looked suspiciously like a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin.

It’s not all metal though, with David Bowie’s Suffragette City making a rare appearance at a heavy metal festival. The covers so far had been well chosen, but the way they blasted through this one was something else and it lifted things to a whole new level.

Metal Allegiance 05How to top that? Well how about bringing on another guitar god to trade licks with Skolnick? Oseguada said they needed to “heavy things up”, so who better than Gary Holt to help them do that. The sight of Holt and Skolnick standing side by side letting rip during Iron Fist was one of the enduring images of the festival, a proper “you had to be there” moment.

Holt stuck around for Fast As A Shark before taking his bow and heading off to get ready for the small matter of his headline performance later that evening with Slayer.

The covers finished with a tribute to the man the Bloodstock main stage is named in honour of. Again avoiding the obvious, Metal Allegiance treated us to Heaven And Hell which was, once again, a damn fine choice. The set is brought to a close with “A song about unity”, Pledge Of Allegiance.

Metal Allegiance were amazing at Bloodstock. The band are clearly loving what they do and the tracks they chose to cover were not the obvious ones, which kept things interesting.

Alex Skolnick is a guitarist who can turn his hand to just about anything and the huge grin he had on his face as the band took it’s bow spoke volumes…

That was a whole lot of fun !!!