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Friday, June 9, 2017

993. Adrenaline Mob / We the People. 2017. 4/5

Adrenaline Mob’s sound is different from what the individuals in the band have done before with the other bands they are a part of. Here there is a real heavy groove about the guitars, the drums thump along in rhythm and the vocals are overall in a lower register with the attitude turned up to eleven. This was what the project was striving for when it was first conceived, to have these individuals come together to do a traditional heavy metal album rather than the various styles of the other bands they were a part of. I thought the first album was terrific not just because of the people involved in the project but because they pushed themselves and produced an album that was indeed different from their other bands. The follow up album I was less enthusiastic about because it felt like they were trying too hard. Here on We the People though it feels like they have that right balance back again, and the difference again rises to the top.

Russell Allen and Mike Orlando have this time brought in bassist David Zablidowsky and drummer Jordan Cannata to join them, and both are impressive here. As are the opening three tracks to the album. “King of the Ring” is a solid opener, and followed by the hard hitting title track “We the People” and the mid-tempo but surprisingly catchy “The Killer’s Inside” these three songs happily set the record straight on the direction the album is heading.
“Bleeding Hands” may not technically be a ballad, but it certainly covers that territory both lyrically and musically for the most part. I’m sure I could be argued about this falling into that genre, but peel back the thin outer layer of harder drums and guitar solo and what you have here is a rock ballad, and you just aren’t going to drag me in playing material like this. It’s a shame to have the album hijacked after a solid beginning. “Chasing Dragons” is a redeemer following it, with a much more pleasing vocal remedy from Russell, driven along by those double kick drums and solid rhythm from the guitar and bass.
The run of songs through the middle of the album are where the strength of this band lies in my opinion, and especially where this album shows off its worth. “Til the Head Explodes”, “What You’re Made Of” and “Raise ‘Em Up” all have that Orlando groove that he likes to perpetuate, but both the drums and the bass are stylistically able to individualise themselves so that they are noteworthy and relevant. While “Til the Head explodes” sits into its mid-tempo, “What You’re Made Of “ busts out at a pleasingly faster pace without compromising the heavy sound (this is a ripper), and “Raise “Em Up” wants to be the anthem track of the album. Then in “Ignorance & Greed” Russell really utilises every part of his vocal range that he can, starting off as a deep growl, into his normal mid-range vocals before then reaching for the heights (but not the limits) of his higher range capacity. The rhythm track is low end and a really heavy thump to it, before coming to the final minute of the track where it slows to a hard and heavy hand while Mike Orlando solo’s over the top. Terrific song.
Whereas “Bleeding Hands” acts as the front bookend to these great middle album tracks, “Blind Leading the Blind” acts as the end bookend. Like the first track it is not what you would consider an out-and-out ballad, with the heavy drum parts morphing well with Russell’s hard edged vocals rather than a ballad-like soft vocal track, but it does have a slower feel to the song that evokes those kind of emotions listening to the track, and a solo that could almost fit into those types of tracks that you know I’m talking about – though it is also a bit edgier than those would be. As I said, I think those two songs frame the better part of the album with what comes between them.
“Violent State of Mind” returns to the heavier equation, and is the site of some indulgence from Orlando at the end of the song. “Lords of Thunder” almost feels like two styles of tracks sewn together, with the heavier chunking in the chorus lightening up during the verses. This gives the song two distinct sounds, one where the verses appear to be driven by Russell’s vocals in the same way he does for other bands with that beautiful soaring voices, into the heavier harder sound he generally uses with Adrenaline mob tracks. I love Orlando’s solo here to. Another great track.
It wouldn’t be Adrenaline Mob without a cover song somewhere in the mix, and this time they have taken on Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” with gusto. Now while you are never likely to find anyone who can replicate the awesome energy of Billy Idol’s vocals and Stevie Stevens’ guitar on the original version, this is a fun and raucous version that ends the album on an upward note, and is worthy of the praise of ‘tribute’.

This is a terrific return to form for the band. The sound here again has been refined and matured before letting it loose and seeing what it can produce. The band sounds fantastic, and Russell’s vocals top it off. Welcome back Adrenaline Mob, it’s good to hear you out and about again.

Rating:  “You look surprised as hell to see this ugly face”.  4/5

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