Fun fact: The Western Front website grew from a website for Allegiance, to one to help promote all local metal acts (thanks to Clayton Tonge and David Innes).
With the upcoming reunion show, we figured a feature was in order, especially for those that never got to witness them as it is an opportunity which should not be missed by any local metal fans.
Allegiance were one of the biggest metal acts in Australia’s history, and dominated in the mid to late 90s. According to Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, they “gained international acclaim and interest from several key figures in the heavy metal world. [Their] tight sound mixed the heavy riffs and complexities of San Francisco Bay Area thrash bands like Metallica, Testament, Slayer and Exodus with a touch of Sepultura.”
Allegiance were formed in Perth in 1990 as a thrash metal group by Tony Campo on guitar, Dave Harrison on bass guitar, Steve Hidden on guitar, Conrad Higson on drums and John Mihos on lead vocals. After a few months of performing Mihos left and Higson switched to lead vocals, Glenn Butcher replaced Dave Barry on drums and Jason Stone replaced Hidden on guitar.
In 1991 they recorded their first EP “Make The Pledge” which sold 2000 copies, and the band won the Most Popular Band category at the West Australian Music Industry Awards (WAMI Awards) for that year.
In February 1992 they played at the annual Bindoon Rock outdoor concert festival for the first time to a crowd of 10 000 people. In March they released their second EP, Torn Between Two Worlds, on a seven-track cassette. The recording featured improved production and song writing, which demonstrated the band’s progress. The EP sold 3500 copies, won the 1992 local industry award for most popular WA cassette. It was praised as one of the most impressive tapes of 1992 by magazines, fanzines and radio shows in places like Japan, Argentina, Poland, Greece, Cyprus, Lithuania, Germany, Canada, United States and the United Kingdom.
They performed in the eastern states, establishing their reputation as a live act outside their home state, and went on to win a number of band competitions and awards. This included being ranked in the top bands in Hot Metal Magazine’s annual readers poll and again winning the Most Popular Band category at the 1992 WAMI Awards.
Allegiance continued touring including a second appearance at the annual, Bindoon Rock festival, the national Big Day Out festival, as well as touring nationally supporting Kreator, Fear Factory and Rob Halford’s new band, Fight. Halford had taken an interest in the band, making statements in the international metal press claiming Allegiance to be a dynamite band. His company, Entertainment Management Advisory Services (EMAS), were managing the band to increase international exposure.
Their debut album, D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n, was recorded in Australia by American producer, Dave Pinsky in 1994. They had met Pinsky whilst supporting the Beastie Boys with whom he was working. The album was mastered in the Netherlands by Attie Bauw who has worked with both Fight and Judas Priest.
The album was released and although it received no mainstream radio or video exposure, it went straight into the W.A. mainstream ARIA chart at No. 1 and remained in the top 5 for 3 weeks. The band continued touring with their own headlining Destitution Tour across state capitals and then touring nationally with Australian hard rock band, The Poor. The D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n album topped local metal charts in the country and has been one of the best selling, home grown, hard music releases in many years.
Allegiance appeared on the cover of HM magazine. D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n started to receive positive reviews in the overseas metal press including a rating of KKKK by UK publication, Kerrang!. They shot two music videos which aired on several music video programs. In November the band recorded Time To React – Live!, a special live recording at the ABC’s JJJ studios to an audience of die hard Allegiance fans. It contains no overdubs and shows the uncompromising raw power of the band in the live environment. (See below).
In 1995 they toured with big names such as Slayer, Biohazard, Machine Head and Channel Zero. They also appeared at the Big Day Out concert festivals in both Australia and New Zealand. At this stage, Allegiance were the undisputed biggest metal band in the country.
In 1996 the band started work on their next album, Skinman. The album showed a progression in Allegiance’s sound but still retaining raw power that made them popular in the first place. It was released in November through the Mercury label and debuted on the ARIA charts at No. 11.
In 1997 the band was continuing to tour, playing shows and festivals with many big name international bands. However, tension between band members began to arise which eventually led to them disbanding.
They did the odd reunion show in the early 2000s and showed their popularity had not dipped, and over the years there have been calls from fans for them to come back again, including a “Bring Back Allegiance” facebook group.
This paid off and a reunion concert was slated, but due to covid restrictions had to be moved and rescheduled a number of times. Finally, it is upon us, and October 22, 2022 marks the date when people can witness them in action again.
Reunion event page:
Allegiance Resurrection FB page:
Allegiance fan FB page:
Time To React… Live (Recorded at ABC Studios)
Destitution music video
Morally Justified music video