The first Metal Allegiance album showed that even an album with so many guests could hold itself together as a cohesive piece of work, thanks to solid material and good songwriting. If there was a flaw, it was that it often sounded too much like a Testament album with a bunch of guest vocalists, albeit a pretty decent one.
With their second full length release, Portnoy, Ellefson, Skolnick and Menghi change tack slightly, expanding the terms of reference while toning down on the guest list. And while it’s far from a concept album, there is certainly a political bent as they tackle the current climate of fear and corruption in high places.
Like before, the use of different singers on each track adds to the diversity, with the band taking on the personality closest to the vocalist handling each one, hence taking a dip in death metal territory in the opener as Trevor Strnd lets rip all over it. The John Bush-voiced “Bound by Silence” has a rock groove like anything Bush sings best on; with Bobby Blitz tearing his lungs out, “Mother of Sin” is possessed of that near-chaotic thrash style of Overkill. Co-written with Max Cavalera, “Voodoo of the Godsend” is typically sparse, raw guitars and tribal drumming with the Brazilian’s bleeding-throat vocals.
Elsewhere, however, the band try some other guises to equally solid effect. “Liars & Thieves” sounds like a lost Psalm 69-era Ministry cut featuring a somewhat restrained performance from Troy Sanders and Floor Jansen adds a majestic touch to Part 2 of the title suite, turning in one of her best performances in a long time. It’s almost as if working with the Metal Allegiance team makes everyone bring their A-game: there isn’t a bad cut on here, just good politically-astute metal all the way.
- The Accuser
- Bound by Silence
- Mother of Sin
- Terminal Illusion
- King With a Paper Crown
- Voodoo of the Godsend
- Liars & Thieves
- Impulse Control
- Power Drunk Majesty (Part I)
- Power Drunk Majesty (Part II)