Adrenaline Mob_Men of HonorUmm, I’ll be honest with you. I really wasn’t looking forward to this album. As much as I worship Sir Russell Allen (Symphony X, Allen/Lande) and his golden pipes of steel, I really hate this hard rock/nu-metal side project he has going on with friends. Their Omerta debut was a painfully shallow, cringe-inducing foray into Disturbed styled nu-metal mixed with grungy barroom rock and it really didn’t work, even with Allen on vocals and Little Lord Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment) on drums. It was an exercise in mental (and metal) anguish hearing Mr. Allen sing along with simple, brain-dead, staccato riffs that belonged on a P.O.D. album and the material even veered into Nickelback territory (no, really).

Men of Honor replaces Portnoy with A.J. Pero (Twisted Sister and long forgotten, but far better Cities) on drums, and the band now operates with sole guitarist Mike Orlando. Does it matter? Scarcely. Though a bit better and having a few respectable songs and one legitimately good one, like it’s predecessor, it’s dragged down by low rent, third-rate garage band songs that sound like Nickelback meets Pantera meets Disturbed. And yes, that sounds every bit as awful as you imagine.

I’ll be a well mannered fanboy and focus on the good stuff first. “Dearly Departed” is a highly enjoyable hard rock/metal tune with a great vibe and a hooky chorus. It manages to sound tough and manly without being cartoonish and it plays into Allen’s strength and lets him sell the material. It would almost fit on the Allen/Lande albums, but it’s a bit too heavy and mean spirited. “Crystal Clear” is a well written acoustic ballad with a first-rate performance by Allen. Less convincing, but still good is the overwrought power ballad “Behind These Eyes.” In the hands of a lesser vocalist, this sappy concoction wouldn’t win over a teenage girl, but Allen invests so much earnest sincerity in his vocals, it actually works.

Adrenaline Mob_2014The rest of Men of Honor is either complete total shit or stuff I never want to hear again. Included in the former are such disasters as “Mob is Back,” which sounds almost exactly like Nickelback‘s “Burn it to the Ground” as played by Godsmack; the Pantera wannabe “Come On, Get Up,” where Allen regularly admonishes you to “man up” and “grow some balls” as rudimentary nu-metal riffs assault your self esteem. Also spectacularly awful is “Let It Go” which has P.O.D. written all over it in crayon, and last but worst, “House of Lies” where the band stoops to cock rock on steroids and Allen sings winners like “I wanna fuck you til you scream my name out loud” and “come on baby, drive me crazy, take me for a ride.” Say it ain’t so Russell!

This is clearly a case of talented musicians stuck with terrible material of their own dubious choosing. Russell can sing the moon down, but since this is supposed to be heavy, angry music, he gets relegated to shouting and snarling 90% of the time. He has a powerful rasp, but for whatever reason, it just doesn’t convince me and I can’t get into it. The riffing by Mike Orlando is mostly tired garbage that sounds exactly like Disturbed or any other nu-metal act you care to name. It’s monotonous, simplistic and strives to be nothing more than high school weightlifting music. On the plus side, he can bust out some surprisingly good solos when he wants.

As much as I get a musician’s need to branch out from their main act and do what they like, Adrenaline Mob just isn’t producing consistently good material. There are flashes of quality, but they get drowned in a sea of pablum. Men of Honor is better than Omerta, but it’s certainly not a good album and I can’t seem to adjust to saying that in relation to a Russell Allen project. Where’s my copy of Divine Wings of Tragedy when I really need it?

Rating: 2.0/5.0
Label: Century Media Records
Websites:  |
Release Dates: EU: 2014.24.02  |  NA: 02.18.2014

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  • Donmuath

    Is it just me or does Dearly Departed sound a lot like Foo Fighters -The Pretender.

    • pfcreltne

      Definitely, that is spot on (other than the chorus).

    • Yep, lot’s of Foo in there!

  • Madam__X

    Wow after hearing the title track, I expected more from this album! Count me disappointed.

  • Luís Pedro Coutinho

    I thought AMG would enjoy this release

  • hawkmoon666

    I worship Russell but honest to god I can’t understand the fucking meaning of this “project”. The music is terrible quality-wise and, most of all, stylistically. They handpicked the worst out of 00’s alternative – a fuckin bad choice to begin with – and, just to be sure to fuck it all up properly, they sprayed everything with this mafia concept which is just SO.DAMN.OLD.

    The whole thing to me screamed “Mike Portnoy” to high heaven but I gotta reconsider. He might actually be the only one with a clear perspective around here, seeing how he bolted. Smart move.

    It’s not like this is gonna make any kind of real money. So, what’s the fucking meaning of this? Mid-life crisis, really? Some guys buy a Harley, some others start to play music that was “cool” when they were 30?

  • BaboonKing

    I listened to some Adrenaline Mob songs when their debut came out, and yeah, “not producing consistently good material” sounds about right. Russell is an amazing singer, but even he couldn’t save the uninspired, trite material. Will be giving this one a pass.

  • Zadion

    This is so embarrassing the review is difficult to read. I can’t even imagine how embarrassing the album is.

  • pfcreltne

    Disturbed + Pantera + Nickelback is exactly right, and the only song I’ve heard (Come On, Get Up. IN YOUR FACE) really is that awful. Steel Druhm, I feel sorry that you had to listen to the entire thing for this review. A 2.0 rating is charitable.

    • Thanks for the support! If it wasn’t for liking 2 songs a lot, I would have been less charitable.

  • Jón Aldará

    C’mon Dr. Druhm, a you’re/your mistake? Your better than that ;)

    Anyway, I’m really happy to know that there are people out there who dislike Adrenaline Mob as much as I do. I’ve been thinking that I just didn’t ‘get it’. But to be honest, Russel Allen has fallen from my graces, in a way. The only of his performances I’ve enjoyed outside of Symphony X are the Ayreon/Star One guest spots. Allen/Lande didn’t tickle my fancy and this shit is insufferable. Hell, even the last two SX-albums have almost exclusively utilized his barking, groove-rock style, which aren’t as effective when they’re everywhere all the time.

    Long story short: Allen is still a great singer, probably just getting better and better. But that bluesy growly style seems to be his comfort zone nowadays, and my longing for the more expansive proggy melodies grows with each year.

    • Write as much junk as I do and mistakes will be made. No shame!

      • Realkman666

        This is Call of Juarez The Cartel levels of cringe, man. xD

    • I love Allen’s growly performances on Symphony X’s stuff. But that’s just me, I guess.

      • Madam__X

        I enjoy them too, and he was amazing live! Symphony X have taken a spot as one of my favorite live bands.

      • I love those, but here he’s trying to do Pantera vocals and it doesn’t work.

      • Jón Aldará

        I like them as well. But his persistent use of them gets monotonous and makes songs sound samey, is all I’m saying. Oh well, I was raised on Divine Wings, V and The Odyssey and the magic of those albums are what made me love SX.

        • V is the best, and he sounds better there. I just love him on Paradise Lost.

        • Christofer

          Awesome trio of albums that. Both Divine Wings and Odyssey are on my personal top-10-of-all-time-list.

  • Christofer

    Oh Russell. Why can´t you sing like you did on the early Symphony X-albums anymore? I really miss that.

    • Kalsten

      I think that he is really an outstanding singer when in Symphony X, but rather mediocre when in his other project, including Allen/Lande.

      I really like how he sings nowadays, but for some reason, he only shines when supported by Michael Romeo’s songs. Maybe a bromance there? They seem to complement each other perfectly.

  • Owch! That’s too bad.

  • I just can’t believe Terrestrials was given the same score than this.

  • Realkman666

    Disturbed… P.O.D… Nickelback… Twisted Sister… “man up” and “grow some balls”…

    That’s some cold shit, mang.

  • Mike Eckman

    2.0 is generous. This album is terrible. Russell Wilson, you should be ashamed of yourself. I could see if he wanted to make just a straight up, retro, rock and roll/hard rock record like Airbourne or something, but this doesnt even have that ‘balls to the wall’ attitude or sound. I give it a 1 / 5.

    • Give a guy a Super Bowl ring and he thinks he’s a nu-metal god.

    • Give the guy a Super Bowl ring and he thinks he’s a nu-metal god.

      • FutureBeyondSatan

        Next year he will be singing the anthem at CenturyLink Stadium.

    • I’m agreein’. Steel Druhm overrated this sucker. But, we all know that Mr. Druhm is a good soul who means well.

  • Steve

    V: The New Mythology Suite has some of the best metal vocals i’ve ever heard, the vocals are so mesmerising and beautiful at times so hearing Russell doing nothing but snarl and shout is such a huge waste, it’s like taking your new Porche on the school run.

    Even recent Symphony X albums are much more straight forward metal that don’t utilise Russell’s voice as well as they should. Nothing would please me more than hearing him on proper prog material again.