Adrenaline Mob have been described as a super-group with current links to Symphony X and Trans-Siberian Orchestra and past ones to Dream Theater, Disturbed, Twisted Sister and a whole host of others. It’s more than a side project as it’s their third album, they’ve headlined tours in Europe and the US, and have supported Godsmack and Avenged Sevenfold. I confess to being concerned when I read that this album was political and influenced by last year’s presidential election campaign, but I was more encouraged to read “the songs are more like a story” and “music is supposed to bring people together”.
Musically, I was encouraged too when I heard the big and brash opener “King of the Ring”. There was a tinge of nu-metallers Disturbed in there. Flowery and deep guitar work and clarity of sound characterise the next hard rock anthem, which is the title track of the album. I could see this being a favourite at a festival or concert with its chorus providing the anthem. This is helped along nicely by Russell Allen (Symphony X)’s vocals. “The Killer’s Inside” is again the classic American rock track, but the vocals are vivid, the riff is colourful and it’s a great catchy song, taking it beyond the banal to something memorable. The production quality of this album is excellent, a bit like when you’ve spent all day at a festival listening to bands and then the headliner comes on, at which point you think “I didn’t think the sound quality could be this good”. This isn’t my favourite style of music but I cannot fault the technical excellence of it in any way.
“Bleeding Hands” is a decent enough, emotive song, almost too smooth for its own good. Don’t ask me to be excited by it, though. I preferred the power-metal orientated “Chasing Dragons”, complete with the cheesy line: “You wound up chasing dragons over mountains flying high, but they left you here to die”. My radar was set on heavyish prog rock. The depth and sophistication of the instrumentals were impressive, there’s no denying that. I couldn’t help thinking of Sebastian Bach as I heard these pumping hard rock songs. “Everybody raise your hands in the air, raise ‘em up like you just don’t care”, goes the line of “Raise ‘Em Up”. This was the most banal song I’d heard so far. I could picture packed-out arenas in the US, and the energy of the crowd. The best bits were the guitar riffs and solo. The drum packed plenty of power too. The rumbling rhythm of “Ignorance and Greed” was first class, and made a good song even better. There’s no doubt that Russell Allen’s vocals add power to an already powerful mix. “Blind Leading The Blind” was accordingly raised from the ordinary to a song, which cannot be ignored. It’s a notable crowd-pleaser on a crowd-pleasing album. After the dirty rock of the mainly unremarkable “Violent State of Mind”, other than the momentary choral reminder of “You Spin Me Right Round” and a dazzling bass solo, “Lords of Thunder” takes us into uncharted dark symphonic territory. I’m not sure what this achieved, as the song changes direction and bursts into a power metal ballad, complete with statutory trite lyrics. A mark of a quality band is its ability to cover another artist’s song, and Adrenaline Mob do this in style with a cover of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell”. Just as Children of Bodom did with their excellent version of the same song, Adrenaline Mob are true to their own heavy rock style and don’t try to be too clever with it.
I can imagine that a live audience would appreciate this more than I did when listening to “We Are People” in my front room. I appreciated the quality of production more than some of the content but I put that down to me. It’s not really my cup of tea. In its favour, there’s no question that all in all “We Are People” is a good collection of anthemic songs, enhanced by the outstanding instrumental technique and the sound mix.
(8/10 Andrew Doherty)