Sound: Adrenaline Mob formed in early 2011 as a supergroup and played their first gig in June of that year and released an EP around the same time. They released details about their first full length studio album on New Years Eve in 2011, as well as cover art and the release date of March 13, 2012. The original members were Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) on drums, Russell Allen (Symphony X) on vocals, and Mike Orlando (independent artist) on guitar. They were soon joined by Paul DiLeo (Fozzy) on bass and Rich Ward (Fozzy, Stuck Mojo) on rhythm guitar. After recording the album, they saw Paul DiLeo and Rich Ward leave the band due to responsibilities to Fozzy. They brought in John Moyer (Disturbed) to take over bass duties.
My impression of their music, really, is they sound similar to Avenged Sevenfold mixed with Shinedown. Their music comes across more as hard rock than metal to my ears, though they have been labeled as heavy metal. The guitar work, vocals and drums are all impressive but the end product doesn't seem to really gel in the best possible way. I have followed the whole business with Mike Portnoy and Dream Theater, the drama with Avenged Sevenfold and then the formation of Adrenaline Mob. I want to like them as a band, but before I got a chance to hear them I just kept hearing the label 'metal' attached to them, and then when I finally got around to listening to their stuff they really just come off as radio friendly heavy rock. // 7
Lyrics: Russell Allen really has a pretty good voice, and it really fits well into a context for hard rock. His vocal delivery is impeccable and at times very impressive. I still think I prefer his vocal work with Symphony X, but his voice fits surprisingly well with Adrenaline Mob, as well. The vocal performance is by far my favorite part of the album.
The lyrics themselves fit with the music, but don't especially stand out to me either. As an example, here are some lyrics from "Psychosane": "Heavy thunder blows my mind/ Knocks me senseless all the time/ The sound of lightning screams/ I hear them melt my brain/ Lord I'm going psychosane". As a further example, some lyrics from "Undaunted": "You're all over my face/ this is your place/ you wannabe/ You're running your big mouth/ You're going to get knocked out/ You Wannabe". So again, the lyrics are okay. They're not great and they're not terrible but at times they do go into the realm of being a little cheesy. They still fit well within the music and the end product. I would have rating this section better if the lyrics didn't have a tendency to get cheesy. // 8
Overall Impression: I followed all of the drama with Mike Portnoy during his departure from Dream Theater and then the whole debacle with Avenged Sevenfold. I've watched Mike Portnoy destroy his reputation and then slowly start rehab-ing his public image. I've not really taken sides in either of these situations, but I really started rooting for him just because of him becoming an underdog in the whole situation he created for himself. I want to like Adrenaline Mob and I want to like the album "Omerta". I think if I could approach the album fresh expecting it to be a hard rock album instead of a 'metal' album I might have come out this side of listening to it with a much more positive opinion. My plan now is to let the album go for a while and then try it again fresh in a week or two when I'm in the mood for some hard rock instead of metal. Also, as a side note and a point of frustration for me, the guitarist Mike Orlando throws more pinch harmonics into his riffs than Zakk Wylde and it begins to seem excessive.
My favorite songs on the album is probably "Feelin Me" and "Undaunted". My least favorite song on the album would have to be "Psychosane", but this may just be because I've heard it so much. Overall, I think as long as you listen to this album expecting a hard rock album instead of a metal album it isn't bad. It does NOT sound like Dream Theater and it does NOT sound like Avenged Sevenfold. Maybe it will grow on me, who knows. For me, the future holds waiting for the release of the new Flying Colors album (Mike Portnoy's other project) which is not a metal album either, but at least I'll know that going in. // 7
- Brandon East (c) 2012