Demo EP (Self -Released)
Unless you have been living under a rock or been in a coma like Captain America was for the last 70 years, one of the stories of 2011 has been the fallout from Mike Portnoy’s messy departure from DREAM THEATER. Still being played out in the media after splitting nearly a year ago, there has been no shortage of drama. We watched the very public dismay of Portnoy unfold as DREAM THEATER has opted to continue on without him, eventually settling on Mike Mangini as his replacement. As his former band prepares to release their next record soon, Mike has licked his wounds and released the first material from his new band ADRENALINE MOB in the form of a self released EP (Dear Tunecore, you totally suck ass!). The band is a super-group of name players who will have to live up to their legendary reputations even more in light of these circumstances. The potential for greatness is definitely there, but the band has a ways to go to get there.
The first song is a driving, blues based active rock/power-groove type of song named “Psychosane”. When I heard the main riff for the first time I immediately thought of PUYA, but the band is going for a BLACK LABEL SOCIETY/PANTERA/EXHORDER type of vibe. Lead singer Russell Allen of SYMPHONY X (who also produced) even channels Phil Anselmo and Kyle Thomas to an extent throughout most of the album and the results are mixed. Allen is a naturally great singer, but his attempts to butch it up here left me a little flat. The track itself is solid with a great guitar solo from the gifted Mike Orlando (SONIC STOMP). As you’d expect from any Portnoy recording the drums are powerful and have his patented slick fills and rolls. The second song “Believe Me” is a little tighter. Another boogie rock stomper, Allen uses his more trademark dynamic vocalizing and power to great effect this time. Orlando just shreds his face off on another couple of harmonized solos in the vein of DIMEBAG DARRELL. Orlando is one of the premier axe-men in the game today and this band could be a launching pad to even bigger things for him. He has preposterous dexterity, sick lead skills and a lyrical style in the tradition of all the gods of guitar. In addition to some terrific Portnoy double-kick work, bassist Paul DiLeo drops in some fine walking bass lines and fills. There is no questioning the talent of this group which also includes guitarist Rich Ward (STUCK MOJO/FOZZY). Lyrically and melodically it is the strongest track here also. “Hit The Wall” is the most realized song and has rock and thrash overtones. The fast driving beat is prime territory for the legendary drummer to get his metal ya-yas out. Allen kills the vocals here with an excellent performance displaying the full extent of his talents. After raging on overdrive for ¾ of the track, the song breaks down into a DOWN style sludge jam and it sounds pretty impressive. “Down To The Floor” continues the kitchen sink riff approach. There are some interesting spacey sound effects going on during the verse that will hook your ear. The major-key change in the chorus is a classic rock staple that screams early 1980′s to be sure. Another short Orlando lead calls to mind EDDIE VAN HALEN at his youngest and best. As the band has done live, the album closes with a cover of “The Mob Rules” as a tribute to RONNIE JAMES DIO. Allen certainly does a heartwarming DIO impression and the cover is note for note perfect. I suspect most of the originals are even more killer sounding in a live setting. I hope more time spent with the whole band writing together will make the full length album in 2012 worth the wait.
ADRENALINE MOB. Photo by Joe LaRusso.
Keith (Keefy) Chachkes