What better way to kick off NAMM weekend than with the annual Metal Allegiance at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California. They currently have two albums out, Metal Allegiance (2015) and Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty (2018). The Metal Allegiance involves many talented musicians from various bands that come together to form supergroups. The group includes: Gary Holt (ex-Slayer, Exodus), Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), Alex Skolnick (Testament), Chuck Billy (Testament), John Bush (Armored Saint), Mark Osegueda (Death Angel), Troy Sanders (Mastodon), David Davidson (Revocation), Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy), Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater), Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer, Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies), Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (Overkill), Jason Bittner (ex-Shadows Fall, Overkill), Jack Gibson (Exodus), and Mark Menghi (founder). With so much talent on one stage, things were bound to get wild. The opening acts for the show were Trauma, Weapons of Anew, and Exmortus. The venue was nicely packed with metalheads hungry for some shredding and head banging.
Exmortus released their fifth studio album The Sound of Steel in 2018 and released their newest EP Legions of the Undead in 2019. Exmortus came out and were cheered on as they started with Slave to the Sword. Exmortus is just what the crowd needed; face-melting guitars and ear-pounding drums. The next track was Foe Hammer followed by a brand new track from their latest EP, Swallow Your Soul. It’s no secret that Exmortus takes inspiration from classical music and so what better way to show their inspirations than by doing a cover of one of the most famous pieces, a metal rendition of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (Act 3). Being that they were the opening act, Exmortus had a very short set. Ending the show would be a metal cover of Foreplay by classic rock band Boston which turns into their usual ending song, Metal Is King. The mosh stayed wild the whole time and it’s amazing seeing a band like Exmortus carry the torch in the name of metal.
The Metal Allegiance was next and the crowd was more than ready for all the mayhem that was about to ensue. Out first came out the host for the night which was WWE Superstar Erick Rowan. After a quick introduction, Rowan left and made room for the first group of Metal Allegiance and started their show with The Accuser from their latest album. Seeing all those talented musicians on stage was a thing of beauty and it was only matched by the non-stop mosh pit in the middle of the floor. Metal Allegiance next played Bound By Silence followed by Can’t Kill the Devil. The fourth song was a Metallica cover of Leper Messiah. The first group of musicians were finished and made room for some new members. Metal Allegiance started to perform covers which is what their performances are known for. Those covers included Exciter (Judas Priest), Toxic Waltz (Exodus), Refuse/Resist (Sepultura), Only (Anthrax), and Lights Out (UFO). One of the highlights of the event was when legendary metal drummer Dave Lombardo came out to perform some Slayer covers. The first cover was Postmortem. Things were sped up after when Metal Allegiance performed Raining Blood and ended the Slayer covers with Angel of Death. Osegueda took a small break to talk about the passing of Rush drummer Neil Peart whose death impacted musicians all over the world. As a tribute to one of the most respected and greatest drummers of all time, all the members of Metal Allegiance came out and played a cover of Tom Sawyer. Nearing the end of the show, all the members of Metal Allegiance stayed on stage for the last couple of songs. The last two songs were Running Free (Iron Maiden) and Overkill (Motörhead ). It was an amazing sight seeing all those talented musicians sharing the stage, something you’ll only see at Metal Allegiance. An event like this only happens once a year so if you’re ever in the area, be sure to check it out!