Music, My Stories

Adrenaline Mob

“Men Of Honour” is a really good solid hard rock / heavy metal album in the same vein as all of the great hard rock albums of this genre from the Eighties. And that is what Adrenaline Mob essentially is. Seasoned professionals collaborating on a hard rock project. For some reason they remind me of Night Ranger.

The debut album “Omerta” was number 4 on my list for releases in 2012. I hold the vocal talents of Russell Allen and the guitar talents of Mike Orlando in high regard. Add to those talents the powerhouse drumming from Mike Portnoy on the first album (and the two EPs) and of course the mighty AJ Pero appears on the second album. As a Twisted Sister fan, this is a great thing to see happen. And finally John Moyer from Disturbed is providing the bottom end.

Listening to “Men Of Honour”, it comes across as a band having fun and man it rocks hard and it is saturated with groove.

In the U.S, Soundscan tells us that it sold 3,600 copies in its first week of release. Seriously does anyone care about the sales. Go on Spotify. You will see that with all the songs combined, Adrenaline Mob has racked up a total stream count of 98,177 streams. On YouTube, the “Come On Get Up” (LYRIC VIDEO) on the Century Media Records has had 184,489 views. The “Mob Is Back” and “Feel The Adrenaline” lyric videos are both over 50,000 views each.

Of course compared to the numbers that the mainstream pop artists are getting, it pales, however Adrenaline Mob are not trying to do battle with Imagine Dragons or One Republic. They want to be kings of their hard rock niche.

I had heard of Mike Orlando but I never knew any of his music. He is like that star guard that slips under the radar, doing his thing. “The Mob Is Back” has that Eddie Van Halen “Eruption” thing for the first minute before it moves into the actual song. Remember the era when bands used to write songs purely for the rock n roll show instead of the charts. Well, this is one such song. It is a live song. A song to let our hair down to and rock away.

“Turn out the lights, we are all here tonight, We came to throw down, the Mob’s back in town.”

I don’t know what to call Orlando’s guitar style. One term I have for it is “Technical Chaos”. He has the chops, but he plays more with improvised abandonment then precision and I like that.

How good is the bridge like part in “Come On And Get Up”. The part I am talking about has the following lyrics;

This is the bed you made
You got one foot in the grave
And you’re slowly dying
Now here’s where you make your stand
Cause your life is in your hands
And there’s no denying
So quit your crying

It’s the arena rock like chorus (and it is a bridge) intertwined with the current modern rock radio verses.

“Dearly Departed” keeps the momentum going. The vocal phrasing reminds me of the great Ronnie James Dio. The track starts off with power, full of attitude and then when they hit the chorus, it’s like Russell Allen is kneeling at the altar and testifying.

When it’s time to die
You can cry your heart out when you’re lying face down
The chords they never lie
Don’t tell me that you’re sorry
‘Cause no-one else is sorrier than me

Adrenaline Mob are a band that will make their money from touring and merchandise. They know that and that is why they write songs specifically for the live show. It is their own niche radio station.

Century Media is their North American and European label. They do great work for metal and rock in general, however I still think they are a label that doesn’t get the current recording business. For example, Century Media did all the things that worked two decades ago.

The album had two different release dates for the US and Europe. Corporate Deals got organised for album streams and track streams. Back in the day, these used to be radio promo singles. Lyric Videos (aka Music Videos) got released in the lead up.

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Music

Mike Portnoy

I am a Dream Theater fan. If you look at the original pressing of Lifting Shadows, my name is in that book. I am one of those super fans. If you look at all the bootleg Ytse Jam recordings released, I have them all, the CD’s and DVD’s. I have all of their albums, all of their video releases, DVD releases, as well as single editions. I even purchased their fan club editions from EBAY for $50 a pop. I saw Dream Theater in Australia on the two tours they did and I saw John Petrucci (with Mike Portnoy on drums) on the G3 tour with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani.

I am a fan of Dream Theater because of the songs. That is why I purchased their products, their merchandise and that is why I paid to watch them live. It is a well-known fact that all the band members have technique and chops. Other bands have come out with greater technical abilities, however if the songs are not there, then no one cares.

It was Pull Me Under that caught my attention. It was the music. Music comes from the guitar, keyboards and the bass. Drums don’t create music. Drums provide a beat. So I have no idea why Mike Portnoy thought he was the star of Dream Theater and bigger than the band. He is just a drummer. That’s it. When is he going to realise that people do not come to watch him drum. People come to the show to hear music. Strip away all the music, all you have is a beat. Dream Theater is a sum of its parts. Together, they created stand out genre defining progressive rock/metal albums.

I don’t really know what part Portnoy could have played in writing the music. I am sure his ideas where more about arranging or approving what riffs made it and what didn’t. His lyrics didn’t hit the mark either. Regardless, he is just a drummer. Even someone as big as Tommy Lee, can’t go out alone. It’s not the same. He tried it and he realised that his home sweet home is Motley Crue. An exception to the rule is Phil Collins and Dave Grohl. They are artists, not just drummers.

I really like what Adrenaline Mob does. It’s just good old heavy metal/rock. It sounds pure, it sounds nostalgic, it sounds fresh and it sounds epic. More importantly, the songs are there. They have the riffs that stand out, and the catchy vocal melodies provided by THE DON. It is a great package. To me Adrenaline Mob is a big thumbs up. Even the recent Coverta EP, had a cover of High Wire from Badlands one of the all-time biggest underrated bands. Badlands featured the talents of Jake E Lee post Ozzy and the masterful voice of Ray Gillen.

However, Flying Colors was complete garbage. Is there any chance I can get my money back on that one? I don’t know how they sat around in the studio, creating that album and looked at each other saying, these songs are great. I understand, Portnoy is trying to sow the seeds on a few different projects, however this one just didn’t grow.

So I get in my inbox the latest news from Mike Portnoy, another band he is kicking off , post his departure from Dream Theater. This one is called The Winery Dogs, featuring Billy Sheehan on bass and Richie Kotzen on guitars/vocals with Portnoy on drums. This is the project that was supposed to feature John Sykes. The song was called Elevate. I checked it out on YouTube. I don’t mind it, but I don’t like it.

First, Richie Kotzen can’t sing. He can mimic other voices made popular by real singers. In this song he sounds like Chris Cornell during the Audioslave era.

Secondly, as a guitarist that writes music Richie Kotzen hasn’t written a good song. Okay I lied. I liked what he did with Poison on Native Tongue, giving Poison a very bluesy soul feel, however his solo albums (the ones with the singing) are lame, and the work he did with Mr Big after Paul Gilbert left was also lame.

Thirdly they are all trying to show that they are skilful, that they can shred, that they can play. Hello, its 2013. Everyone can play these days. The grunge and nu metal days are over. Hell you have a six year old playing Sweet Child O Mine on YouTube, where even the songwriter was blown away.

New bands starting off these days have killer guitar players. Look at the stuff that Synester Gates and Zacky Vengeance come up with, the Trivium guys, the Bullet For My Valentine guys and so on.

Mike thought his career would skyrocket and that he was the man. Guess what Mike. You are just a drummer. You best bet is to go back to Dream Theater however from the press that happened when you left, I don’t think that will happen.

So your next bet, is to focus on Adrenaline Mob and deliver to the world, an album that can rival Black Sabbath’s – Heaven and Hell, Metallica’s – Black, AC/DC’s – Back In Black, Led Zeppelin’s – Physical Graffiti, Whitesnake’s – 1987 and Aerosmith’s – Get A Grip. The musicians are there and the talent is there. Stop spreading yourself too thin. Focus on one and get it right. I know you can. It takes time. Look at how long you persisted with Dream Theater. It’s back to those days again

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