2016 has been a right bitch so far, hasn’t it? Things didn’t start well when we lost the mighty Lemmy just before the beginning of the year (not long after Scott Weiland passed) and less than 2 weeks later David Bowie departed. The year’s assault on the world of Rock wasn’t over though – Eagles founding member Glenn Frey succumbed to complications following surgery, and January wasn’t even over yet. And things weren’t limited to Rock music though, as the Grim Reaper was also busy in the world of the Thespian – it was when Frank Kelly (Father Ted’s ‘Father Jack’) went in February that Feck off 2016 entered my vocabulary.
On this Fallen Heroes EP Metal Allegiance, the metal supergroup made up of the core members Alex Skolnick, Mike Portnoy and Mark Menghi, have united again to bring us their tribute to Lemmy, Bowie and Frey in the form of their covers of “Iron Fist”, “Suffragette City” and “Life in the Fast Lane”. Once again making use of the guest vocalist role, used to great affect on last year’s Metal Allegiance release, it delivers…for the most part.
First up, “Iron Fist” with Mastodon vocalist/bass player Troy Sanders taking on the role of Lemmy, so no pressure there then. And with his deep vocal, he easily handles this song. But forget about the vocals for a moment – star of the show on this track is easily Mike Portnoy. Once you’ve listened to the song for the first time, go back for a second listen and concentrate on the drumming.
Next, we’ve got Death Angel’s Mark Osgueda channelling his inner Bowie on my favourite Bowie song. Ever since I heard that they were covering this, I’ve been looking forward to hearing the results and have been hoping for a cover that does what a cover should do and that is remind you of the original but have your own stamp on it. And it’s perfect – easily the best of the 3 songs on here, it brings a broad smile to the face as Osgueda delivers the Wham bam thank you ma’am lyric towards the end. Love it – and the great choice of vocalist.
Finally, we get to “Life in the Fast Lane” with Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz delivering a great vocal performance, with a little bit of sleaze. Unfortunately there is something not quite right about the music, with the drums sounding muted. It’s a good cover, but doesn’t deliver on the level of the previous 2 songs.
All in all, it’s a great EP and worth parting with some spends upon its release on August 12th.