By Carl Begai
Call it a safe bet that a fair number of progressive metal fans feel slighted by having two giants of the genre – vocalist Russell Allen (Symphony X) and Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) – slamming down ton of bricks modern-edged metal with nary a 5/8 time signature or widdly keyboard flourish in sight. Nope, this is feelgood freight train mayhem minus the seatbelts done up old school, with the dynamic prog duo and guitarist Mike Orlando relying on musicality rather than gutteral aggression and the same old boring-ass downtuned chords to get their message across. Allen is a monster right out of the gate, his melodic bellow on lead-off tracks ‘Undaunted’ and ‘Psychosane’ laying the groundwork for some of the strongest material of his career (and wiping those damn Allen/Lande albums from memory). Orlando was either schooled in Stuck Mojo, or the band’s guitarist Rich Ward – who was in Adrenaline Mob for about 5 minutes – made a lasting impression on his songwriting. When it comes down to the groove crunch, and there’s plenty of it, Orlando’s shred is also an echo of Zakk Wylde, giving folks a welcome taste of Black Label Society. With Portnoy providing the backbone for the Allen/Orlando-penned tunes, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Adrenaline Mob’s overall sound is far and away from your average balls-out 4/4 metal band.
It’s interesting to note that for all the pounding and punishment served up on Omertá, tracks like ‘Indifferent’ and ‘All On The Line’ could do well on commercial radio avenues or at least attract folks weaned on the whole Three Doors Down / Shinedown hype machine. Meanwhile, the Mob’s cover of Duran Duran’s ‘Come Undone’ (featuring Halestorm vocalist Lzzy Hale turning in a stellar guest spot) is a scorching top-notch update on the original hit, with more than enough bite to scare away your average programming director.
In the end it’s the heavier tracks like ‘Undaunted’, ‘Feelin’ Me’, ‘Down To The Floor’, ‘Psychosane’, ‘Hit The Wall’ and ‘Freight Train’ that leave a lasting impression. Allen is in clearly his element, while Orlando is a beast destined to become a much bigger name as Adrenaline Mob chugs forward. And even though Portnoy could have phoned in his performance, you get the impression he had a stupid amount of fun crushing heads rather than sorting through a mountain of prog metal details to get to the end.