Metal Allegiance – Fallen Heroes
Release Date: August 12, 2016
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
Metal Allegiance, the somewhat “super” group featuring Alex Skolnick (Testament), Mark Menghi (bass), and Mike Portnoy (drums), was formed as a kind of “tribute” to all things metal and served as a collaborative for these three (and Megadeth’s Dave “Junior” Ellifson). This time around, Ellifson is out of the mix but Skolnick, Menghi, and Portnoy recruited a few metal friends to be guest vocalists on a tribute EP entitled “Fallen Heroes.” The results? Well, I’ll sum it up in three words: Lifeless, uninspired, and soulless. Now before you go throwing shit at me, let me just say that I’m a huge fan of Skolnick. Always have been and always will be. I just don’t feel that this particular “project” embodies much soul at all and that is very apparent on this EP.
Kicking things off with a tribute to Lemmy, Metal Allegiance’s take on the Motorhead classic, “Iron Fist” doesn’t stray much, if any, from the original. I mean, why fuck with perfection right? I was actually pretty surprised at Mastodon’s Troy Sanders’ vocals but again, it just sounded like him doing Lemmy. It didn’t suck but if I want to hear “Iron Fist”, I’ll go listen to the original. The second track, their take on the David Bowie classic “Suffragette City” just lacked anything great. Even as much as I love Death Angel and lead singer Mark Osegueda, he just sounds absolutely lifeless and bored while musically, the song was stripped of any groove or feel that the original had. As for Alissa White-Gluz’s take on the Eagles’ “Life in the Fast Lane”, well, you just can’t polish a turd. It’s a shitty song to begin with and this “metal” take on it was virtually un-listenable.
When it comes to “tribute” albums like this, they are always going to be hit or miss. Part of me hates them because why would I want to hear subpar covers of songs but at the same time, sometimes you strike gold as these bands do something really great with them and make them something truly great to listen to. With tribute albums, you are either going to knock it out of the park like Jorn’s DIO album or the Black Sabbath Nativity in Black tribute or you’re just going to strike out like Metal Allegiance did . On Fallen Heroes, it’s strike one, strike two, and strike three, and back to the dugout kids. No more metal for you.