Watch this video and tell me this band isn’t made of awesome.
There are several reasons why you’ll probably have a hard time:
(1) Adrenaline Mob is a heavy metal supergroup consisting of Symphony X vocalist Russell Allen and Dream Theater ex-drummer Mike Portnoy. These guys are pretty much icons within the world of metal, and are just excellent at what they do.
(2) Their guitarist is “one of the best kept secrets in the guitar/rock world” Mike Orlando. I mean, watch him take that guitar to the cleaner’s, during the solo.
(3) The song is just plain cool. Come on, guys.
I featured these guys under Epic Song of the Week a while ago with their live cover of Black Sabbath‘s “The Mob Rules”. They’ve just put out a new single which, I’ll be honest, rocks my metaphorical socks. The song “Indifferent” is in equal parts pounding heavy metal with ridiculous guitar licks, and a more melodic contemporary rock sound, particularly during the chorus. It’s a brilliant single, and I hope it’s not the only one that the band release in promotion for their recently-released album, Omertà. I’m looking forward to hearing what exactly they have to offer. (Until then, of course, YouTube will provide me with a selectable offering.)
The critics have received it less than enthusiastically, though. Orlando’s guitar solos are deemed to be too aggressive or not melodic enough; Portnoy’s playing isn’t complex enough; Allen doesn’t use enough of his vocal range… all these complaints run along the same lines, as though the reviewers were expecting everything that these musicians are capable of, rather than what they actually wanted to do.
Adrenaline Mob simply went with a pretty standard “heavy metal” album, adding their own little touches, of course. Unfortunately in the eyes of the nay-sayers, Allen and Portnoy both come from the more progressive brand of metal and rock, a genre that often features strange meters, 10-minute-plus songs, and incredibly technical playing styles. But you won’t find any of that on this album, with the possible exception of how ludicrous Orlando’s shredding is.
So, to me, it seems rather immature and downright lazy of the critics to be whining about what isn’t on the album.
“Waaaahhh. This supergroup has a guy from Symphony X and a guy from Dream Theater but it doesn’t sound anything like those bands.”
Well, that’s your problem. I personally don’t give two halves of a fuck what these guys do – hell, Adrenaline Mob could have formed a Morris-dancing troop for all I care. I respect them for their collective ability and their attitudes towards the production of music that a lot of people can enjoy.
Genre should merely be a means of categorizing music, and shouldn’t matter a jot in the world of music composition, and yet somehow it manages to instigate flamewars faster than a Spitfire over an Australian bush. It’s almost like if a band or artist tries to combine genres, or do something even slightly different to what’s expected, the average critic’s frail, robotic mind just breaks, what with them having over-sensitized themselves to the separate genres and the limitations that come with them to such an extent that they don’t even seem to want to review that band or artist.
“Oh, it’s not what I expected, therefore I was disappointed. You will be, too.”
That’s not a review. That’s a whine.
Musicians really shouldn’t be constricted by expectations of genre or style. Why don’t critics just forego the technicalities and just talk about the music? The songwriting. The tones set. The lyrics. The imagery.
So what if the boys in Adrenaline Mob have simply decided to take a slightly different approach to rocking people’s socks off? Deviation and difference should be applauded in the world of music – that’s what gives the art its freedom.
Oh, and while I’m on the subject, for God’s sake leave Portnoy alone about Dream Theater. It’s been nearly two years now since he left them, but everyone seems to want to get him to say that they kicked him out or something and now he hates them and thinks he’s wasted the last 25 years with that band. You’re like a bunch of heckling tabloid journalists trying to get a politician or celebrity to say something vaguely racist so you can run with it in your snivelling little column. Grow up and move on.