There was a time for me when Halloween weekend meant figuring out a costume and getting together with friends. Sadly Halloween weekend has become amateur hour for drinking alcohol so I leave my costume fun for New York Comic Con and pray for a good concert to attend. This year my prayers were answered by the metal gods when Metal Allegiance announced they’d be playing Black Sabbath’s self titled debut album in its entirety at Brooklyn Bowl.
Before getting into the show I must say that Brooklyn Bowl is definitely a hidden gem right now in Brooklyn. A bowling alley with a live music venue section and restaurant definitely says New York City. The music can be heard all throughout the building and the restaurant area is more of a lounge setting so you feel comfortable no matter where you are. Just stay away from the Chocolate Milkshake as I’m guessing they use organic gluten free chocolate ice cream because there was nothing chocolate about it as I’d hoped to fuel up on sugar for a night of rockin’.
As I drank my mediocre Chocolate Milkshake and MamaTurbo enjoyed some overpriced but tasty appetizers the bands began for the evening. Normally I’d freak out but again the design and layout of Brooklyn Bowl allowed me to hear Jackpipe bring their heavy riffs and unique lyrics to those in attendance early. I truly wish I could’ve seen the faces of the hipsters and millennials faces during their songs “Douchebag” and “Welcome To NY” as both songs are equally full of heavy grooves and lyrics that aren’t exactly safe for work unless you’ve got headphones.
Following them was Magus Beast, a power metal powerhouse from New York, with a bit of a change to their line up for the night that my ear caught from the lounge area. Filling in for Rob Scauri on vocals was George Tsalikis who the metal fans and I know best as the power voice behind Zandelle. When you are friends with someone as long as I’ve known George you recognize their voice even when you haven’t seen each other in a few years. He was the perfect fit for the night during their set as they cranked through a solid set that included their self titled song as an amazing version of Anthrax’s “Medusa”.
At this point MamaTurbo had finished her appetizers and I’d had my fill of a mediocre Chocolate Shake to follow the masses for Judas Priestess. Despite interviewing and becoming friends with their singer Militia Vox and playing their music on my show, I had yet to see them live. And I can say they definitely live up to the hype. These ladies absolutely ooze metal on stage. They do Judas Priest songs as if THEY were theirs and not just a tribute. Opening up with “Judas Rising” immediately took the crowd to the full intensity and turned this intimate venue of about 300 people into a miniature arena. I myself got so into their set that before I knew it they hit their last song which was perfectly setup with help from the crowd and drummer Hillary Blaze – “Painkiller” having the right level of energy to leave the crowd wanting more and ready for the nights main event.
At this point MamaTurbo and I moved from our spot in front of the stage to the side for a better viewing point (and less likely of my wheelchair getting repeatedly bumped) for Metal Allegiance to perform the landmark album Black Sabbath in its entirety. For this particular show the lineup of Metal Allegiance was Mark Menghi, Mike Portnoy, Alex Skolnick, and on vocals Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth of Overkill.
Earlier in the night Mark Menghi told me to be in for a surprise as they’d be getting “dressed up” to perform. Well that was true, for the most part, as they came out on stage to begin “Black Sabbath” with Mark Menghi face shaved all but a Geezer Butler like mustache and wig, Alex Skolnick wearing a Tony Iommi like mustache, Bobby “Blitz” wearing an Ozzy Osbourne like cape (which looked more vampire than Ozzy), and Mike Portnoy being the only one not in costume because who’d really notice behind the kit. The mood was definitely set as they crowd fully embraced it.
First thing to notice is Blitz’s vocals ability fits perfectly into Black Sabbath. Not in the sense of perfect imitation but in the style that we expect when we hear Sabbath. His unique style just fits.
Of course rolling through Black Sabbath meant “The Wizard” followed the opener and I’ve never heard it sound as loud or as intense as I did at this show and I saw Black Sabbath live twice before they retired. Maybe it was the intimacy of the venue or maybe it was the intensity that Mike Portnoy put into it. Regardless the Brooklyn Bowl was rockin’ and hard.
For me the next song was a big moment because of the bass solo in “Behind The Walls Of Sleep” because it truly gave Mark Menghi the chance to shine in the spotlight. He’s become known as the creator of Metal Allegiance but when going around the scene and talking bands with people I find he’s all too often forgotten about because he’s the one member not from a globally known band. Well he shined in the bass solo spotlight like a newly cut diamond in the summer sun making that solo his own with still paying tribute to the original set down by Geezer Butler.
After finishing up with Black Sabbath they continued to homage to the band that many consider the founding fathers of metal with “Symptom Of The Universe”, “Electric Funeral”, and more until closing with a duo of songs that literally had the floor shaking. “Supernaut” and then “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, which every one sang along to was the perfect was to close out the night on a high.
Needless to say Metal Allegiance found their way to make Halloween weekend belong to the metal masses who gathered for an amazing night in Brooklyn to pay homage to band from England who continues to teach generations about metal whenever Black Sabbath is played.
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