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CD review: Adrenaline Mob make crime pay on 'Men of Honor'

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For what was supposed to be a part-time gig for these guys, Adrenaline Mob has turned into something of a full-time job. So much so that original drummer, Mike Portnoy bid the band of brothers adieu last year to focus on his 14 other projects. After an EP in 2011, the mob dropped its debut, “Omerta” in 2012, followed by the “Coverta” covers EP last year, and now its sophomore effort, “Men of Honor“, which the band self-produced.

Joining the brotherhood of vocalist Russell Allen (Symphony X), bassist John Moyer (Disturbed) and guitarist Mike Orlando is Twisted Sister skin-crusher, A.J. Pero. Where Portnoy was about finesse, Pero is about knocking teeth out with brass knuckles. That alone gives “Men of Honor” a more powerful feel than “Omerta“, and I say that with all due respect to Master Mike.

The album blows open the doors of the arena with a massive show-starter intro, before Adrenaline Mob does what its namesake suggests and engages in criminality… However, they do it with ball-outs, in-your-grill energy and oomph. The intro turns into “The Mob is Back”, which is the most testosterone infused, groove and knuckle Nickelback song never recorded. Yes, I said it. Metal elitists can kiss my distortion pedal.

“Come On Get Up” sounds remarkably like Sevendust tapping Chad Kroeger’s girlfriend in a my-chest-is-hairier-than-yours sort of way. It hooks you and reels you in for a back alley bruising. The thievery continues with the amp’d up, Foo Fighters-on-steroids track, “Dearly Departed”. Moyer’s bass thumps so powerfully, standing too close to the speakers could cause sterility.

This trio of tracks sets up what “Men of Honor” has in store; a bombastic, throbbing riff-fest with a truckload of commercial appeal and a thunderous rhythm section that can triturate your marrow. If an accessible hard rock record is not what you were hoping for, you’ll likely hate this record, but it is a damn fine slab of ear spunk.

Orlando’s fretwork on “Behind These Eyes” is gorgeous. “Let it Go” is a beefy, chest-pounder, and “Feel the Adrenaline” has plenty of nitrous-powered groove and some filthy vocals by Allen. In fact, Russell hands every track its ass on this record.

On and on the record goes with one air-drum frenzy, riff-fueled, meat and potatoes heavy rock and roll track after another. It is what one would expect from an elite group like Adrenaline Mob. Listening to “Men of Honor” there is a sense of putting on your favorite classic band t-shirt and broken-in jeans: There may not be much new here, but what you get is fulfilling and makes you remember what you love about hard rock. The album goes from pedal-down metal to emotive and poignant moments flawlessly, and it flows with seamless continuity and soaring individual performances. In short, “Men of Honor” kills it!

Rating: 8.8/10

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