bill bodkin reviews the first full-length album from the metal supergroup …
It’s not easy being a metal fan these days. Electro-pop, hip-hop, dubstep and hipster swag clog the collective mindset of the music-going populace. And let’s face it, the genre hasn’t done too many favors for itself in the past decade or so. For those of us who grew up on the scintillating speed metal of the Big 4 and then came of age to thunder and groove of Pantera and Life Of Agony, the past 10 years have been tortuous. We’ve been force fed unhealthy amounts of turgid nu-metal retreads and the nuclear waste of death metal bands that all have the same unintelligible guttural vocals.
Luckily, things are a little brighter for those of us who still cling to the devil-horned, hellbent-for-leather, testosterone-fueled heavy metal of the days of yore. Today, March 13, the thick veil of metal mediocrity gets lifted as Adrenaline Mob unleashes their first full-length record, Omerta, on the masses.
Omerta fits in perfectly for those of us who found solace in Black Label Society’s Order Of The Black in 2010 and Anthrax’s Worship Music in 2011. Omerta is hard, it’s heavy, it kicks ass for days — yet, there’s still a sense of melody, groove, harmony and musicality to it. Yes, one could use this album as the soundtrack to a rage-fueled workout session in the gym or a way to channel your day’s worth of anger and aggression. But the album also has a soul to it, it has some more intimate, more personal moments to it. And it’s something metal fans can sincerely appreciate.
For instance, you are bombarded with a heavy, heavy, metal assault with the first two tracks — ‘Undaunted’ and the absolutely awesome ‘Psychosane.’ I mean ,the thunder they bring down on ‘Psychosane’ is absolutely soul stirring — you can feel the adrenaline rush on the first bone-crunching riff. But then the band beautifully and subtly transitions to a more melodic sound on ‘Indifferent’ and then lets the melody fly on ‘All On The Line.’ On this track, the guitars are less aggressive, but the solo-ing is so much crisper and pronounced. Lead singer Russell Allen’s vocal skill is really showcased here. On the first couple tracks. you get more of a fierce, aggressive, vicious style of singing. On ‘All On The Line,’ he shows his tremendous range — wonderfully and tastefully reaching the heavens with his high notes and at times he evokes an almost Dave Grohl-esque tonality. It’s brilliant.
And one cannot talk about Adrenaline Mob without talking about its backbone, Mike Portnoy. What’s so great about his work on the record is that he not only anchors the band’s sound with his brilliant drumming, but for those of us who’ve followed him forever, it’s crazy to see that this guy can adapt to any style. It’s not all crazy time signatures and intricate, near mathematically preposterous music structure. Granted, he still incorporates a lot insane drumming technique on the record, but it’s so tastefully done, it just seamlessly blends into Adrenaline Mob’s sound.
So, after all is said and done and the final track has played, the question is simple: Is Omerta a must-buy for heavy metal fans? The answer is a resounding …. HELL YEAH m/
Check out Bill Bodkin’s interview with Mike Portnoy, drummer for Adrenaline Mob.