POSTED ON AUGUST 31, 2011:
Mike Portnoy returns to rock even harder with Adrenaline Mob
If the arrival of Adrenaline Mob comes as something of a surprise to you, you're not alone. When the band's self-titled debut EP dropped on August 9, it arrived from left field with little fanfare. Fans of progressive rock and heavy metal took immediate notice, however, when word got out that the band had arrived.
Fronted by Russell Allen of Symphony X with guitarist Mike Orlando, the addition of drummer Mike Portnoy (of Dream Theater and Avenged Sevenfold) gave the group an immediate weight and momentum, drawing fans from across the metal and hard rock genres with its pedigree. Even so, the project developed relatively quietly before making its live debut in New York City this past June.
Now that the group has released an introductory EP and hit the touring circuit, however, it is drawing attention at every turn for both its all-star lineup and high energy live shows.
When asking drummer Mike Portnoy how the band came together, he shared that "It really started with Mike Orlando and Russell Allen. They've been writing material for a couple of years now. Once my time with Dream Theater and Avenged Sevenfold came to an end, I had some time available and Russell called."
"He's an old friend," Portnoy continued, "and he asked if I'd be interested in being a part of it. I heard the music and loved it."
The lineup was then rounded out with bassist Paul DiLeo and another of Portnoy's friends, Chris Ward (of Stuck Mojo and Fozzy) on guitar. The band went to work in the studio and released a five song EP that gave a quick snapshot of the band's riff heavy approach to metal and hard rock roughly a month ago.
When asking Portnoy about the disc, he explained that initially "releasing an EP wasn't part of the master plan. We recorded a full album. All along, the plan was to wait and release it in early 2012, and then Godsmack called and offered us a tour spot opening for them."
"We didn't want to go out without a product, so we fast lined it to get the EP done and have something for our fans when we got to the shows."
On the Road.
The EP is a hard-hitting, five track disc of hard rock and heavy metal that lets each of the members' talents shine without getting lost in the mix. Although "Psychosane" may be more representative of what fans expect of the band with its heavy tone, metal guitar and frenetic pace, it's not necessarily the best track on the disc. Instead, "Believe Me" stands out as the song that could grab some radio attention with a big vocal hook to match the song's heavy guitar groove without losing any of the band's initial punch.
The band's live energy is also hinted at with a cover of Black Sabbath's "Mob Rules." Although it was recorded in the studio, it still has a live feel and feels as if it was recorded off the cuff in front of a small audience.
While out on tour with Godsmack, playing arenas and larger venues, the band filled its days off with club shows, giving it a chance to headline some shows and connect with fans on a more personal level.
The practice of filling in dates with smaller shows isn't anything foreign to Portnoy, who explained that Dream Theater did the same thing when touring with Iron Maiden. "We were playing arenas with Maiden and we'd fill in the other dates with our own shows."
When asked to compare the shows on the current tour, Portnoy said that "It's a very different vibe playing in front of someone else's audience, but it's cool because you get to play in front of a lot of people and try to win them over. Then at our shows, people know who we are and we get to play for them in a more intimate environment."
"This is different, though," he continued. "Instead of being a veteran band, this is a new band and we're building our audience from scratch. And it's very different from our previous bands."
Although Adrenaline Mob still plans on releasing a full album at the beginning of 2012, the opportunity to tour with Godsmack was too good to pass up. According to Portnoy, this is the perfect time to see Adrenaline Mob because "this is kind of an introductory tour. It's your chance to see the band in its embryonic state. It's our very first time out on the road with this band and if you see us now, you can say you saw us in the very beginning. We're looking forward to getting out and playing and connecting with the fans."
Adrenaline Mob stops in Tulsa for a headline show at The Marquee this Tuesday night, September 6, as part of a series of club shows the band has booked following its run opening for Godsmack. Anyone who has followed Portnoy in Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment and Avenged Sevenfold won't want to miss this show as he opens the next chapter in an already impressive career. The inclusion of Symphony X's Russell Allen and Stuck Mojo/Fozzy guitarist Rich Ward crates an all-star lineup for the fledgling band.
Although Adrenaline Mob is still in what Portnoy referred to as the band's "embryonic stage", the band has also been out long enough to get its road legs and really lock into its live groove and chemistry, making this a can't miss club show for hard rock and metal fans.
Doors open at 6:30pm with groove oriented, progressive rock act Aformatic and modern rockers R.L. Jones opening the show and giving it a well-rounded, yet hard hitting punch. The show starts at 7pm and tickets are still available for $12 in advance or $15 at the door.
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