“Adrenaline Mob” CD REVIEW by Adam McCann
“We The People” Century Media Records 2017
One nation, under mob
In the past 25 years, it can be easily asserted that Russell Allen has generally one of the best voices of this generation, Allen is up there with the likes of Jørn Lande and Tobias Sammet and since arriving on the scene with Symphony X in 1995, Allen has forged a career as one of the most formidable voices in heavy metal. As well as Symphony X, Allen is also a member of Dutch progressive metal group, Star One as well as one half of Allen/Lande among others. In 2011, Allen began working with former Dream Theater drummer, Mike Portnoy on a new project, this became known as Adrenaline Mob and although Portnoy has since departed, Adrenaline Mob released their 3rd album, ‘We The People’ on June 2nd, 2017.
‘We The People’ smashes into action with ‘King of the Ring’, the song which was chosen to represent the album with a music video. Beginning with various samples, the most prominent of which being the famous ‘get up’ quote from ‘Rocky’, before pummelling into a riff that will grab you instantly. Allen’s voice is recognisable from the off as he delivers the mantra of ‘I’m the king of these roped walls’ as the pounding rhythm section of David Zablidowsky’s bass and Jordan Cannata’s drums, deliver a blow by blow, intertwining, ducking and weaving around Allen’s vocals as Adrenaline Mob guide you around the heavyweight title bout.
Whatever side of the fence that you sit on politically, it is clear in the USA that things have certainly been stirred up and these feelings have made their way onto the aptly titled ‘We The People’. Adrenaline Mob have stated on more than one occasion that they support neither the right nor left in their music, regardless of their own opinions, but beneath the surface, discontent is bubbling away in the Adrenaline Mob camp with attacks focused more importantly on the media for their over sensualisation of politics, by turning elections and dissent into a pageantry with some rather scathing lyrics during the title track, ‘Ignorance & Greed’, ‘Violent State of Mind’ and ‘Blind Leading the Blind’. However, there is a credit here for the music to Mike Orlando, Orlando has written some fantastic riffs, coupled with the craftsmanship and when partnered with Allen for lyrics, it goes a long way to giving ‘We The People’ the fun and replayability which the album demands.
Although ‘We The People’ hits home with its commercially accessible hard rock stomping, there are songs on the album which show the dynamism of Adrenaline Mob; ‘Bleeding Hands’, ‘Blind Leading the Blind’ and the obvious single ‘Chasing Dragons’ are a welcome change of pace to ‘We The People’ and prevents the album from being rather one dimensional. In fact, these three songs are the peaks of ‘We The People’ with ‘Blind Leading the Blind’ providing one of the best vocal performances by Allen on the entire album.
However, from peaks to troughs, following ‘Chasing Dragons’, are three very rather unimportant songs that rather sully ‘We The People’. ‘Til the Head Explodes’, ‘What You’re Made Of’ and ‘Raise ‘Em Up’ are possibly nothing more than filler and take their influences from outside the Adrenaline Mob sphere. ‘Til the Head Explodes’ features a heavy distortion chorus, whilst Allen screams: ‘It’ll eat you alive” reminiscent of Limp Bizkit’s 2003 single ‘Eat You Alive’, whereas ‘What You’re Made Of’ borrows part of the music from Rage Against the Machine’s hit song ‘Killing in the Name Of’. However, sadly, the albums major clunker is the song built almost entirely for the live environment, ‘Raise ‘Em Up’, a song that would be better suited to Volbeat, with Allen even imitating Michael Poulson in the vocal delivery.
The peaks massively outweigh the troughs and ‘We The People’ is a lot of fun to listen to, even the songs which pale in comparison to the rest of the album have enough of the foot tapping and chorus hooks to overlook their poorer quality and goes to show the effort and experience that has gone into the making of ‘We The People’. 7/10
Adam McCann / MHF Magazine
This review is dedicated to David Zablidowsky who tragically passed away following the completion of ‘We The People’.