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METAL ALLEGIANCE In Los Angeles, CA With Photos!

By Francisco Zamudio, Metal X Candy 2.0
Wednesday, February 7, 2024 @ 8:31 AM

At House Of Blues Anaheim With QUOR, HELD HOSTAGE And DIETH On January 25th

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All Photos By Thomas Delgado/@forthehorderpod/@batforcetom

It's 2024 and we just rang in the new year. Concerts have been happening at a historical and record-breaking rate for the last couple of years, absolutely raping our wallets (in a good and bad way) and tons of festivals and co-headlined shows are continuously being announced. Within that, somehow a large handful of some of the most iconic names in Metal today and yesterday managed to put together an all-star band by the name of METAL ALLEGIANCE. The names of those involved reads like the who's who of some of the best Metal bands out there. Just to name a few we got Bobby Blitz of OVERKILL, Troy Sanders of MASTODON, John Bush of ARMORED SAINT (formerly ANTHRAX), Alex Skolnick of TESTAMENT, Mike Portnoy of (once again) DREAM THEATER - and that is only the tip of the iceberg that many in So-Cal collided into on a Thursday in January during another historical event, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MUSIC MERCHANTS, otherwise affectionately known as NAMM. There were many events happening and revolving around NAMM (such as the Annual METAL HALL OF FAME that I also covered. Recap coming soon) and the METAL ALLEGIANCE show at the House OF Blues has become a regular occurrence during this rockstar-partied filled weekend.

Before the main show, there were a few openers to warm up the crowd that slowly trickled in. QUOR, HELD HOSTAGE and David Ellefson's DEITH. Of the 3, I have to say the one that really had me rocking out was HELD HOSTAGE. Good ol'fashioned Rock with lyrics that really sucked me in. Their last album that was released in 2022 featured an appearance by newly inducted Metal HoFer Tim "Ripper" Owens. Known as "Great American Rock", perhaps some would call it "dad rock", they were quite enjoyable to hear. The song "Turn The Lights On" (EPIC, 2019) that had me and my buddy Thomas (who also provides photos for KNAC.COM) rolling, and I mean that in a good way because this song rocked!

Another of the groups warming up the crowd was a band that featured David Ellefson (ex-MEGADETH) on bass. Ellefson was just getting a real hectic week and weekend started as he had performed a couple of nites prior at that one Hollywood Jam, the Wednesday at the Metal HoF I keep mentioning, plus other appearances he had going on at NAMM. He had some energy in his pocket for the band DIETH who was a real heavy hitting groove-oriented band with a bit of Thrash sprinkled in. I mean c'mon, it's David Ellefson on bass! Of course you're gonna have some Thrash in your sound.

The Metal Jam of all jams had begun. Here is the flow of the nite that was just one hit after another after another with great guests participating in this year's 10th Anniversary show. Starting out the nite was John Bush with an original MA song "The Accuser" taken from Power Drunk Majesty Vol. II (2018) featuring Mark Menghi on bass, Mike Portnoy on drums and Phil Demmel, Alex Skolnick and Andreas Kisser all sharing guitar duties. What a fkn start! John then introduced Chuck Billy, joined by Ellefson, to play "Can't Kill The Devil" from the self-titled debut from 2015. From here more great classics kept rolling. JUDAS PRIEST's "Rapid Fire" with Bobby Blitz on the mic along with Gary Holt and Wayne Lozinak (HATEBREED) and Chris Poland on guitars, with David Ellefson on bass and Bran Dailor on drums. Amazing to see Poland still shredding on stage! Next on the setlist was "Wrecking Crew" so naturally Bobby would stay on the mic along with Doc Coyle on guitar and Chris Kontos (FORBIDDEN, ex-MACHINE HEAD) on drums. One of many highlights was catching Poland and Ellefson tear it up on "Wake Up Dead" with Troy Sanders (MASTODON) and Phil Demmel.

A few more MA originals were sprinkled into the set with "Liars & Thieves", "Let Darkness Fall" and "Mother of Sin". One great pick on the set that was a favorite for me was John Bush singing RAINBOW's "Kill The King", with Gary Holt and Phil Demmel on guitar. We got 3/5's of TESTAMENT when Chuck and Alex were joined by their new drummer, along with Doc and NERVOSA bassist Hel Pyre, to perform "The Preacher". Next was one half of MASTODON for their hit "Blood And Thunder" with Troy back on bass as well as vocals and joined by former DEICIDE guitarist Chris Cannella, with Holt and Coyle also dueling on guitars. Next was John Bush to belt out his most recognized ANTHRAX favorite "Only" with Dailor, Ellefson, Coyle, Kisser and Demmel.

After another original in that of "Pledge Your Allegiance", the rest of the set consisted of more great choice covers. "Damage Inc" with Chuck on Vocals, "Damage Case" and closed out the nite with the amazing cut "Iron Maiden" where EVERYONE (except Bobby for some odd reason) came on stage to perform.

So for what has to truly be THE ultimate jam of Metal Jams, METAL ALLEGIANCE is exactly that. The unity of many great talents in Metal who set their ego aside and are more than glad to get together and perform covers that even they admit to listening to growing up. Congrats to Mike Portnoy and crew for 10 years of MA, bringing the fans an entertaining show, showcasing some amazing talent, playing random songs not-their-own and adding more fun to an already jam-packed NAMM.

Check out some more pics from the show!
All Photos By Thomas Delgado/@forthehorderpod/@batforcetom

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