Support from Exmortus and Weapons Of Anew
NAMM 2020 – House Of Blues – Anaheim, CA – 1/16/20
Review/Pictures: Diane Lynn
The night was perfect for a mass gathering of metal heads at the Anaheim House of Blues. Winter NAMM 2020 was getting into full swing and with several events happening around the city, yet it seemed THIS was the place to be!
Metal fans young and old flocked to see some of the top names in metal jamming together on stage and the musicians that make up Metal Allegiance didn’t disappoint.
The line outside started early with rockers coming from near and far. Even a few only into town for the NAMM show were lining up early and I noticed several that were using translators to purchase their tickets. Those who had “Meet and Greet” tickets for Metal Allegiance were lining up with items to have signed and excitedly talking about meeting their favorite player.
All stand and Pledge allegiance to Metal Allegiance! This was an abundance of talented musicians doing what they do best packed into about a 90-minute set.
Metal Allegiance is a gathering of some of the best in heavy metal music. The mastermind of this “Super Group” band is bassist Mark Menghi who brought this all together back in 2014 and they have become a power packed touring band since.
My four songs in the pit was an experience in itself. With so many great names on stage it was hard to stage focused and figure out where to turn my attention to first. The key players and constant members of the band include Mark Menghi on Bass, David Ellefson on Bass, Alex Skolnick on Guitar and Mike Portnoy on Drums. Since there is not a permanent singer for Metal Allegiance, they invite some of the best in the metal business to join them on stage. During my time in the pit I had the pleasure of having Bobby Blitz (Overkill) belting out vocals. What a killer experience hearing Bobby and the rest of the band covering song such as “Exciter” by Judas Priest, “Toxic Waltz” by Exodus and “Princess of the Night” by Saxon.
Watching the musicians change every few songs was exciting for me as having never seen the band perform before I wasn’t sure who to expect to come out on stage next.
In addition to the Core 4 of Metal Allegiance this night was made up of a long list of greats such as
Dave Davidson (Revocation)
Andreas Kisser (Sepultura)
Gary Holt (Exodus, Slayer)
Jack Gibson (Exodus)
Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy)
Chuck Billy (Testament)
John Bush (Armored Saint)
Troy Sanders (Mastodon)
Bobby Blitz (Overkill)
Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies)
Jason Bittner (Overkill)
Phil Demmel (Machine Head)
…and the list goes on and on.
The time spent changing up guitarist or bassist was only seconds no real down time which was nice for the fans. Everyone knew where to take their place and their gear was ready for each player when they walked out on stage. But it was also about the music and having fun playing it! Fists were bumped and high fives were exchanged, you could tell they were all having a great time on stage.
The show was well rounded with their song choices.
Bound By Silence
Can’t Kill the Devil
Leper Messiah (Metallica cover)
Exciter (Judas Priest cover)
The Toxic Waltz (Exodus cover)
Princess of The Night (Saxon cover)
Refuse/Resist (Sepultura cover)
Wrecking Crew (Overkill cover)
Mother of Sin
Let Darkness Fall
Lights Out (UFO cover)
What Doesn’t Die (Anthrax cover)
Only (Anthrax cover)
Postmortem (Slayer cover)
Raining Blood (Slayer cover)
Angel of Death (Slayer cover)
Tom Sawyer (Rush cover)
Pledge of Allegiance
Running Free (Iron Maiden cover)
Overkill (Motörhead cover)
Ending this evening of metal greatness, the guys paid tribute on of the greatest drummers in rock history, Neil Peart. Hearing Metal Allegiance play “Tom Sawyer” by Rush brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. They rounded it out with another tribute to the one and only Lemmy.
Their cover of “Overkill” during the encore was perfect! What an awesome night of metal and I’m so thankful that I was lucky enough to have witnessed it!
I caught two of the three openers to warm us up, Exmortus,and Weapons of Anew. Both brought their own style of metal to the stage.
I’ve always love being floored by opening bands and this was the night for it!
Weapons Of Anew
Weapons of Anew had a great start to their set, the crowd was eagerly waiting for this band to get started and when they hit the stage, they lit it up! They quickly brought the energy of the venue to an exceptional high!
A small glitch off stage mid-way through their set caused some technical difficulties which had them endure a few moments of down time, but singer Ray West did his best to keep the large crowd focused with some fun banter with a few of the front row fans. After just a few long moments the band was able to finish their set and fans gave them a roaring applause at the end.
Even with the short pause this band from New Jersey nailed it! I hope their musical journey brings them back to So. Cal. again soon!
Weapons of Anew:
Ray West – Vocals
Freddy Ordine – Guitar
Stefan Reno Cutrupi – Bass
Chris Manfre – Drums
Exmortus must be living and breathing heavy metal because the Whittier California natives hit the stage like a tornado and didn’t stop for the entire eight song set. This band worked together perfectly! Each player was an intricate piece to the killer performance they brought to the stage. The crowd was in a frenzy at the end and I left the pit on an energy high wondering what had just hit me!
Exmortus was entirely new to me but after the set they performed I’ll be looking forward to catching them again soon!
Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez – Vocals and Guitar
Chase Becker – Guitar
Cody Nunez – Bass
Adrian Aguilar – Drums
Weapons Of Anew