I'm not sure how a band with as much talent and as many reasons to like them has turned out to be so incredibly uninteresting, but that's exactly what Adrenaline Mob has become to me. I am one of the biggest fans there is of vocalist Russell Allen. Love his work in Symphony X. Love what he's done with Jorn Lande. Hell, I was probably the biggest fan going of his ATOMIC SOUL solo album. While I'm not a fan of drummer Mike Portnoy's previous band Dream Theater, I have nothing but respect of this guy's undeniable talent as one of the most elite drummers on the planet. Yet, try as I might, I cannot get into Adrenaline Mob at all. Their debut release was pretty average and unmemorable. They quickly followed that up with a covers album - bleh. Covers releases are as useless as tits on a chick I can't have or see because she's dating a close friend.
So, here we are with COVERTA - eight songs culled from the various metal influences of the members of the Adrenaline Mob. Certainly, the songs are decent enough and well played. Seeing a band finally recognize the greatness of Badlands by covering "High Wire" is the most excited I've been about a cover song since Bo Bice did an acapella version of Badland's "In A Dream" on American Idol many years ago. There are some moments here that are interesting, but overall, it's just another tired cash grab of cover songs. "Break On Through", the classic Doors song, sounds pretty cool and has some seriously fiery guitar provided by guitar great Mike Orlando. For his part, Allen sounds great and showcases a lot of diversity vocally. His voice morphs in and out of various styles. His cover of Heart's "Barracuda" is probably the most interesting of this release, as he sounds almost completely different than anything he's ever done before here. As for Portnoy, he's brilliant as he always is. The band's cover of Van Halen's "Romeo's Delight" is powerful, and has a very cool Led Zeppelin breakdown in the middle for good measure.
Ultimately, I can say on each and every one of the eight songs that they are musically solid. With this kind of talent in a band, it would be pretty hard to say anything but that. The real issue though is that there's just something missing here, and with their debut for that matter, that's distinct. I guess for guys like Portnoy and Allen who's bands are so highly defined to a specific niche genre as progressive metal is, doing an all out, straight up rock record might be fun to do. For the listener though, there's just nothing here to make anything they do special. Songs like "Kill The King" are so universally sterile compared to any other of the 9000 covers of this song, and this is like a microcosm of the band as a whole. Whatever gives a band that spark just isn't there. Their talent is so immense that they don't suck, but they are just not very memorable either.
PITRIFF RATING - 62/100 - Well recorded, well played, and some decent moments...and yet, this is a completely unnecessary, overly dull project from three of the better musicians on the planet today. Considering ICONOCLAST was my album of the year a few years ago, it's time for Allen to stop messing around with this and get back to his A band. It's also time for Portnoy to kiss and make up with Dream Theater. Whatever either decides to do, they need to do something because Adrenaline Mob isn't impacting with many. COVERTA isn't going to change that much either.