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3.50 | 14 ratings | 5 reviews
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EP · 2011


1. Psychosane
2. Believe Me
3. Hit The Wall
4. Down To The Floor
5. The Mob Rules


- Russell Allen / vocals
- Mike Orlando / guitars
- Rich Ward / guitars
- Paul DiLeo / bass
- Mike Portnoy / drums

About this release

Released August 9, 2011. Available for purchase in digital format at iTunes and Amazon. Also available in CD format, which may be obtained at the group's shows or bought on the Adrenaline Mob official web page.

Thanks to Time Signature for the addition and adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

I was ecstatic when this band announced their formation to the world. Mike Portnoy, formerly of Dream Theater, Russell Allen from Symphony X, and 'The Duke' Rich Ward from Fozzy and Stuck Mojo. Three of my musical heroes in one group. As a long-time fan of all of these guys' respective bands, this line-up seemed incredible!

So what is the music like? It's hard and heavy, and as the name of the band suggests, they're all high-octane, energetic metal tracks, but with five songs, at around 25 minutes (one of them a Black Sabbath cover), there's just nothing here to really reach out and grab me by the throat. Most of the music was written by guitarist Mike Orlando (who I'd never heard of before this band), and whilst he is an absolutely insane shredder, this EP is still pretty bland all-round.

Since this was A-Mob's first official release, we just need to see it for what it is; nothing more than a sample of what this band are doing. And in that regard, not only is it more than passable, but there's certainly potential here for some great things, if they could just polish up their sound a bit.

All musical criticisms aside though, my biggest gripe with this release is simply that Rich Ward didn't actually write or record on it. It took me four years to find a copy of this CD, and it cost me £22 to have it sent from Florida to the UK, and after all the excitement of owning a physical copy of the EP (which was only released through the band prior to the release of their first album), I was gutted when I found out that The Duke's only involvement was posing for the promotional photos.

Still, despite the musical content being pretty generic, the collector in me is still glad to finally own the CD. But that's all this is, something for collectors.
Adrenaline Mob is the self-titled debut EP from this US group which includes among its members former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and Symphony X singer Russell Allen. Despite the major connections to those progressive metal acts the Adrenaline Mob sound is more firmly rooted in traditional heavy metal values. The five track EP features four original songs and a cover of Black Sabbath’s The Mob Rules to round it off.

While the music sits rooted in traditional heavy and/or hard rock values at its heart, there are also leanings towards groove metal within the guitar riffs. This is the sort of thing that is designed to make you bang your head rather than impress you with any sort of complexity, which is relatively absent in their sound and surprisingly so since both Portnoy and Allen were/are in two of the biggest names in progressive metal but I guess that’s a good thing in a way, since the sound breaks away from what fans of these guys have come to expect.

In comparison the other guys in the group are relatively unknown. In fact the only one of the three I have heard of before is guitarist Rich Ward (Fozzy, Stuck Mojo), though only through the fact that I’ve seen him live. It’s not surprising though really as despite the two big names Adrenaline Mob is not supergroup, and Mike Portnoy wasn’t actually one of the founders. They’re clearly a solid unit though, as this EP proves.

However although these are solid songs I just fail to be totally blown away by them. Russell Allen delivers a top notch classic heavy metal vocal, not unlike the late Ronnie James Dio, and the performance is skilled all round, but I just don’t hear anything that really sets Adrenaline Mob apart from other heavy metal acts. They’ll get attention due to the two big names involved here, but for me they’re going to have to up their game a bit and deliver something a bit more memorable. I dislike the tone of the lead guitars as well, although the playing itself is quite fitting to the songs, the production could use some tweaking.

While the first three tracks fit the same sort of template, fourth offering Down to the Floor spices up the EP a bit with a change in pace. It’s less groove and more hard rock with lyrically hooks to boot. Nice for a bit of variation, but it’s actually my least favourite track here. The best of the originals in my opinion is Believe Me. The Black Sabbath cover is however, perhaps unfortunately, the one that really got my head nodding.

But hey despite my complaints this is only an EP and their first release together besides, so I’m hoping that when they put out a full album they’ll be ready to blow us all away with some great classic heavy metal.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scored at 7.2/10)
Despite the fact that this EP features members of legendary prog metal acts like Dream Theater and Symphony X, the music on Adrenaline Mob's debut release is far from anything we've come to expect from these progressively-inclined musicians. Groovy riffs, commanding vocals, and an old-school heavy metal attitude are the name of the game here, and if you're expecting anything even mildly prog-oriented, prepare for the disappointment of a lifetime. This relatively short EP brings groove-oriented thrash metal acts like Pantera to mind, and Russell Allen's raw vocal delivery sounds remarkably like the late Ronnie James Dio - his powerful singing style suits the music perfectly and all four instrumentalists are also clearly talented, without ever showing off with flashy solos and long instrumental runs. The grooves on this album are just so infectious, and songs like "Believe Me" and "Hit the Wall" contain some of the most powerful metal riffing you'll hear this year. Adrenaline Mob's take on Black Sabbath's classic "The Mob Rules" is also exceptionally well done, and the whole 22-minute EP is powerful and effective.

Adrenaline Mob may not have broken many boundaries with this debut EP, but their style of groove-oriented heavy metal is sure to please fans of the genre. And, of course, when it's this professionally-crafted, there's very little not to like. If you're in search of some throwback metal that isn't all too challenging, this EP is an easy recommendation. I'd say 3.5 stars are fair here. I'd like to see a bit more variation and originality on Adrenaline Mob's future efforts, but this is generally an excellent debut release that is sure to make plenty of waves throughout the metal community.
Time Signature
The mob rules...

Genre: groovy heavy metal

Some of Adrenaline Mob's members may have backgrounds on some of the most prolific progressive metal bands of all time, but this EP is not a progressive metal release, so if you expect odd time signatures galore, long tracks, complex compositions and lush soundscapes, you are in for the disappointment of a lifetime.

You see, this is straight up hard rocking heavy metal, and it is groovy as fuck. Oh, and it is awesome. The rhythm guitars are rock steady and crushingly groovy, while the guitar solos are truly fretboard- and ear-ripping. Russell Allen's powerful voice makes any male listener's cojones shrink a size or two; he really belongs to the same league as vocalists like Ronnie James Dio and Graham Bonnett. Mike Portnoy's drumming is rock solid and perhaps more straight ahead than what his fans might be used to, while Paul DiLeo's bass provides the bottom that makes it all come together (the bass is not as prominent in the mix, as I think it should be, but it is audible, and, at times, it has the same sort of edge to it as the bass on Iron Maiden's debut album, which - needless to say - is very nice).

The four original tracks all emphasize groove, and the verses are typically based on groovy riffage, while the choruses are more melodic, and you can also expect some super groovy breakdowns. There is also a brilliant cover version of the Black Sabbath classic 'The Mob Rules' - a great conclusion to a journey through the groovy land of big cojones.

There are a lot of groovy metal bands out there, but many of them sound like second or third rate Pantera clones. But not Adrenaline Mob, and this slab of groovy metal is some of the best groove metal I've heard since Pantera's "Cowboys from Hell" and "Vulgar Display of Power" and Invocator's "Dying to Live". Adrenaline Mob are not as thrashy as Pantera or as progressive as Invocator, but they are just as groovy and have definitely earned a place in the upper echelon of groovy heavy metal.

Fans of groovy heavy metal should definitely check this release out... it might even make you want to mosh around in your living room.

Members reviews

Coffin Joe
...For all you psychosane grooveheads out there...

The expectations for this release can be measured on an astronomical scale. When you have both Portnoy of Dream Theater & Allen of Symphony X joining forces, you are damn right to expect something freakin' awesome.

Yes, the EP is insanely good! So you can go purchase it now, and skip the rest of the review if you like.

If you are still reading on, what can you expect from this ep? Portnoy & Allen is smart enough not to release a progressive record. Instead, you get the heaviest groove metal recorded in a very long time. The throne of groove metal have not been claimed since Pantera disbanded. Sure, there's a lot of wanna be Pantera bands out there, but it's a genre in dire need of some new adrenaline! Adrenaline Mob more than delivers, and could easily be crowned the new kings of groove metal. Every track is a solid groove-fest. Tightly played & paying homage to the roots of groove metal, while still pushing the genre forward. Russels voice is spot on, and he really adds another level to the music - I would go so far as comparing him to the likes of Ronnie James Dio! Portnoy holds back on his progressive drumming, delivering solid rock drumming instead, which only underlines the bands effort to play infectious groove-metal & not prog. metal.

I can only really complain about one thing - the fact we only get 5 tracks, is not nearly enough to satisfy my hunger for more.

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  • Unitron
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