Russell Allen alluded to the fact that he might be working with Mike Portnoy when I interviewed him late last year. A few days later it was announced that he, Mr. Portnoy and Mike Orlando would be working together. Most of the negative press that has come up is that these three individuals did not put a monster prog album out that will rival what Dream Theather is currently doing, the DT-Slayer if you will. I’m sure that would have been cool, but considering Allen is in Symphony X, recently worked on a Lande/Allen album, and was part of the latest Star One project, why add another prog project to the list? He also mentioned that they had something really cool/special in mind, and he hoped that it would all work out.
That it has, for as much as people (me included) ask for things to be original, different, etc., sometimes something much simpler, and straight to the point gets the point across better. This album, is heavy, has plenty of groove, and enough individualism that it all works, and does a good job at creating enough spaces to highlight each of the players talents.
Russell Allen who has really come into his own with this and the new Symphony X album, although he’s always been a powerhouse, 2011 has brought the best out of him. Another pleasant surprise was that Richard Ward is involved in the project, possibly the most underrated guitarist of his generation; he has constantly put his stamp, his vibe, his tone on everything he’s touched, this EP being no different. Paul DiLeo could be considered the unknown commodity of the group, but he comes across like a monster and fits in perfectly. Mike Orlando provides the right amount of spice to the mix, providing some blazing fretwork, and adds a completely different style to what Mr. Ward brings to the table. And Mike Portnoy? Everyone was waiting to see what he was going to bring to the table after leaving Dream Theater. Yes, I know he was with Avenged Sevenfold for a bit, but that wasn’t “his project”. People where waiting for “his new project”. Could he have gone hog wild on this to show what he’s capable of? Could have set out to put his old bandmates to shame? Yes, and yes, but would that of benefited the music? Seriously, what was he supposed to do, become the Vinnie Vincent of drumming? His playing is spot on, it is complex where it needs to be, and simple where the song calls for things to be straight forward.
The EP consists of five tracks, four original tracks, and the Black Sabbath cover, Mob Rules.
What’s important with this EP is that it works, it’s solid, and it’s entertaining. It could have been more complex, and it could have been boring and really sucked! But it doesn’t, and if this is any indication of the full length, well I can’t wait for it to come out.
On a side note, is it any coincidence that Dream Theater released their single On The Backs Of Angels the same day as the Adrenaline Mob EP? Hmmm, makes you wonder doesn’t it?