Adrenaline Mob - ‘Dearly Departed’ EP (Century Media) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Mark Ashby   
Monday, 02 February 2015 03:40

Adrenaline Mob artworkHaving exploded onto the metal scene in 2011, “supergroup” (and regular readers will know how much I dislike that term and the connotations that come with it) Adrenaline Mob have endured something of a revolving door of members in their short existence. In their four short years, they have gone through two drummers – with Mike Portnoy doing what seems to be a characteristic trick, and bailing out after one album and tour, to be replaced by Twisted Sister’s AJ Pero – and three bassists – Fozzy’s Paul Di Leo initially being replaced by Disturbed’s John Moyer, who then left last year (which was also marked by the band being involved in an horrific van accident) to be replaced by the relatively unknown Erik Leonhardt – leaving vocalist Russell Allen and guitarist Mike Orlando the only constant factors.

 

What else seems to be constant is the pattern of AM’s recording output: EP followed by album followed by EP, with the cycle being followed with the release of this new EP, the follow up – almost exactly 12 months to the day afterwards – to last year’s ‘Men Of Honor’ opus.   And, in some ways, ‘Dearly Departed’ is also a follow-up to 2013’s ‘Covertà’ EP, as it contains three covers (four if you count an eight-minute Black Sabbath which dominates the middle section): we have interpretations of the Pat Travers classic ‘Snortin’ Whiskey’, the Charlie Daniels Band’s iconic ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’ and Queen’s immortal and often overlooked ‘Tie Your Mother Down’, as well as acoustic versions of tracks from the ‘Omertà’ and ‘Men Of Honor’, an unreleased track from the latter sessions and a new edit of the title track… So, basically, a single with a bunch of what, in the good old-days would have been referred to as “bonus tracks”? Or a release about which the band couldn’t make up their minds what they wanted it to be: a covers EP with a few recorded original songs, or an EP of recorded songs with a few covers chucked in? Or, with nine tracks clocking in at just shy of 42 minutes running time, what should have been two separate EPs welded together into a mish-mash of an album?

 

Whatever the band’s reasoning behind this project, the answer is very definitely the last one, as ‘Dearly Departed’ just cannot make up its mind… It starts off well enough, with the aforementioned ‘Snortin’ Whiskey’, which is suitably rowdy with a by turns fiery and grunting performance from Orlando and a suitably dense and dirty vocal from Allen, backed with a powerful and highly professional performance from Pero and new recruit Leonhardt. There’s not much that needs said about the pursuant title track – a decent enough, hard-driving slice of classic hard rock, here simply re-edited for radio airplay: but, then things go horribly wrong… ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’ can best be described as pedestrian; featuring a decent, suitably growling vocal, it lacks the passion of the original and the substitution of the violin solos with needless power metal style guitar wankfests just grates and sounds completely out of place amid what is going on around it.

 

The first of the acoustic tracks, ‘Crystal Clear’, offers a pleasant respite from the madness, with Allen’s voice rich, passionate and fully availing of the stripped back format, before the epic ‘Sabbath Medley’ just leaves you with a feeling of “why the fuck did they bother”. To say that the performances (apart from Pero’s drumming) are pedestrian and the interpretations of the songs are unimaginative is somewhat of an understatement. Fortunately, ‘Whatever Gets You Through The Night’ (the aforementioned unreleased song from the ‘Men Of Honor’ sessions) redeems things somewhat, being a good old-fashioned pedal-to-the-metal sleaze-infused hard (cock) rocker – and the strongest song on this otherwise patchy release. The remaining two acoustic tracks, again both taken from ‘MOH’, are beautifully done, showing off both the depth of Orlando’s picking skills and the true richness and range of Allen’s voice, both of which are just wasted on the cover versions.

 

Closer ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ is pedestrian, if professional, and definitely not in the same cheeky class as the Lemmy/Nugent version, and it summarizes the feeling of indecision which this confused, ultimately unfulfilled offering evokes. An EP made up of the cover versions would have made an interesting curio for diehard fans of the musicians involved, and the excellent acoustic re-interpretations, coupled with the title track and ‘Whatever Gets You Through The Night’, would have made an insightful and more appealing overall offering than what ultimately is a curate’s egg of an EP?album…

 

‘Dearly Departed’ is released on Century Media on February 9th 2015.

 

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