Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Adrenaline Mob - We The People (2017)

When drummer Mike Portnoy left Adrenaline Mob back in 2013, he stated that one of the main reasons was that the band did not move fast enough, which has always seemed like an odd explanation to me. I mean, the band did release two EPs and an album during those first two years, and the following two after Mike's departure, the band released another full length record and a cover/acoustic compilation. These are only speculations, but I might think the real reason to why Mike left was that he knew where the band was heading, and he did not like the sight of that future, not one bit.

You see, Adrenaline Mob looks like a pretty interesting new power house on the surface, and the debut "Omertá" delivered some promise, but when you take a closer look, you will see that this is the reincarnation of nu-metal, only with older guys at the helm, together with an attitude that would make Limp Bizkit look like they had no self esteem (something the sophomore effort "Men of Honor" showed more than enough). It is a band that has parents trying to play the music that their kids are into, and it is pretty obvious how that ends up sounding like.

Which leads me to their third release, entitled "We The People", an album that is more of the things that has made Adrenaline Mob what they are today. It got attitude, crunchy Mike Orlando riffs, a soaring Russell Allen, and a mixed bag of lyric messages, from political criticism to... waving hands like we just don't care? Just wow there. It is easy to say from the start that if you found their previous two efforts obnoxious, then you will not change your mind over this one.

To be honest, even if you did enjoy the last two albums, you might have a hard time swallowing "We The People", because it is jam packed with 13 songs that spans just over an hour of play time. This is a type of music that is at its best in small sample sizes, some edgy cockiness is actually pretty from time to time, but too much of it can do a lot of harm, like turning you into an asshole. So be careful if you are going to listen to this album in its entirety, take care.

Okay, I should go back to being a nice reviewer now, but it is hard to find good things in an album that is made by great musicians playing music that just is not worthy of their talent. Mike Orlando is a fantastic shredder and knows how to work that guitar, but he feels a little sloppy here, recycling several riffs from previous AM songs. And Russell Allen, oh god how the mighty have fallen. He do deliver some great vocals here, but it just feels so wrong to see him sing (with passion) to this music. In fact, it seems like he is more committed to "The Mob" than to Symphony X at the moment, which there could be other reasons to why (heard that guitarist Michael James Romeo is planning a solo record), but it is still weird.

As for the songs, there are few positive stand outs, despite there being 13 of them. I really like "The Killer's Inside" though, it got some killer riffs and a nice, smooth flow to it, while "Chasing Dragons" is a pretty nice song about drug addiction. "Lords of Thunder" is interesting as well, having some calmer bits to show some variety at least. There are still far more lows on "We The People" though, like the overly macho opening track "King of The Ring", which is basically a bragging song, with small snippets from previous Mob songs. Then we have "Raise 'Em Up" and "What You're Made of", two very cheerful songs that does not seem to fit at all in the album (and no, it is not because they are of high quality, that is not the case). Finally, somehow the band found a way to cram in a meaningless cover of Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell", a good song that is not getting the respect it deserves here.

So despite all of the negative things I have said about "We The People", I still think it is a more consistent record than "Men of Honor", which barely makes it better. I say barely because I think "Men of Honor" had some more memorable tunes, something the band could have continued building on, which they did not. The ultimate question I have though is if we really need an Adrenaline Mob today? Not really, both Mike and Russell have other projects that are simply better, and there are tons of other artists and albums that are both deeper and more interesting. So Portnoy might have made a smart move when leaving, because The Mob certainly does not rule.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Killer's Inside, Chasing Dragons

Rating: 4,5/10 Bleeding Hands


More reviews of Adrenaline Mob
Men of Honor

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