Adrenaline Mob – Men of Honor (Century Media)Tuesday, 18th February 2014
Is it possible that somewhere in Middletown, New Jersey, Michael Romeo is laughing diabolically when he hears the drivel that is Adrenaline Mob? After all, it’s hard to forget Russell Allen’s lone solo venture, 2005’s Atomic Soul, which totally bombed. Adrenaline Mob are infinitely more dumbed-down and Affliction clothing-ready than that album, so what does that make Men of Honor? It’s probably not worth bothering, as the band’s sophomore album comes precariously close to being a rung below Five Finger Death Punch, who proudly hold court as faux metal’s resident jesters.
An important point of mention is that Allen is one of metal’s best singers, something that doesn’t need to be stressed to the Symphony X crowd who regularly fawn over “Smoke and Mirrors” and “The Divine Wings of Tragedy,” and rightfully so. Here, Allen is diluted, lame-brained, and totally miscast as a tough guy vocalist. Some of these songs are really bad, and not in a good way; “Come on Get Up” is poor MMA entrance music, the sappy balladry “Behind These Eyes” is a rough go, and “Feel the Adrenaline” is about driving fast cars. ‘Nuff said. How one man can go from complex, cerebral and enlightening lyrical concepts in Symphony X over to this has to be one of the more confounding happenings in metal. At least James LaBrie surrounds himself with reputable metal players; Allen has an underutilized shredder in Mike Orlando, nu metal castoff in John Moyer, and Twisted Sister drummer AJ Pero in the ranks. Blah.
The fact that Mike Portnoy’s exit from the group hasn’t even been brought up until now should suggest the porous and unlistenable nature of Men of Honor. It’s an album that definitely walks-the-walk, and talks-the-talk…but it’s all jive. FFDP, your move.