Adrenaline Mob, the newest in a line of metal supergroups made their debut last night at the Hiro Ballroom, an intimate Japanese themed club that is more known for its dance scene than its metal scene. The group, which consists of Symphony X frontman Russell Allen, former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, guitarist Mike Orlando, Fozzy and Stuck Mojo guitarist Rich Ward and Nena/Lauryn Hill bassist Paul DiLeo. The project had been kept under wraps, with the exception of a 97 second teaser on the bands Facebook page, and some quotes from Allen and Orlando that the band was more straightforward than the progessive metal that Portnoy and Allen are known for. So to debut all their material live was a bold move for not only the band, but the audience as well to attend something they’ve never fully heard.
In addition, the band requested that the press and the audience not to take pictures of record any music, to not ruin the surprise for people who couldn’t attend that night. The intimate space was comfortably full when “That Metal Show” host, Eddie Trunk took the stage at 8:30 not only singing the band’s praises but re-emphasizing no recording. The band did have their own photographers and camera people to record the show, possibly for a DVD release.
When the band took the stage, the opened up with a rousing rendition of the “The Mob Rules” , a song from the Ronnie James Dio-era Black Sabbath release “Mob Rules“, before going onto their album.
Energy wise, the guys were incredible, Allen was covered in sweat and interacted with the audience well, singing at excited audience members and taking control of the small stage. Orlando defintely looked like he was in another realm while soloing , Ward and DiLeo matched him well as they ran across the stage, and smiling the whole time and Portnoy, while not doing any of the super technicial prog drumming he’s known for managed to keep the hard rock drumming at a steady, pummeling pace.
Which brings us to the actual music. The band is a blueprint for radio friendly metal – solos and drumming that crunch but don’t go to long, and songs about aggression, fast cars and having fun, with a few a couple ballads thrown in for good measure. Russell Allen‘s desciption of the band is very accurate:
[Adrenaline Mob is] a straight-up rock band with just rock songs — kind of like an edgy, modern kind of sound… almost like Rob Zombie meets Black Label Society meets Disturbed, with Dio singing.
The crowd seemed to be responsive to the band, with the first few rows throwing up horns and cheering loudly but, there were sections of the crowd that looked perplexed and not as interested as their peers in the front. After a cover of Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” Portnoy annouced that they had performed the entire album, and then went into some more covers, including Dio‘s “Stand Up and Shout” and ending the night with Black Sabbath‘s famous “War Pigs.”
It’s rather hard to judge a band on one show, and impossable to give a real verdict until there are songs that can be sat down and listened to. It does raise some questions…Will fans of the two biggest acts in progessive metal today accept this album? Will this band live up to the hype surrounding them? Only time will tell. Check back with the Metal Examiner for more news and reviews!