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I stand undaunted - 95%

extremesymphony, January 7th, 2013

Biding an adieu to Dream Theater, Mike Protnoy teams up with Symphony X vocalist Russell Allen for his music venture that is Adrenaline Mob. Looking at all the drama that was enfolded on Portnoy’s departure from his iconic band, this was one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Adrenaline Mob is a big departure in sound from both Dream Theater and Symphony X, whose fans are expected to flock in to see what Protnoy does after his break up with the band. To put it simply, Omerta is a groove metal album much in the vein of Pantera Vulgar Display Of Power. While this might not seem to be a very good thing to begin with, musically the album presents the sub-genre in its most enjoyable form.

The highlight of the album are the vocals. Russell Allen is in the form of his life here perfectly adding spite and anger to his voice with the 'tuff guy shouting' that is predominantly seen in this sub-genre. His fiery snarls and growls breathe life into the compositions and add an angry atmosphere throughout the record. Mike Portnoy takes a step down from his technical show off he had so very perfected in Dream Theater and rightly so. Where his style suited Dream Theater's progressive, technically showy and complex songs to the T, it would very much be at odds here with these simplistic and straightforward compositions. Portnoy proves he is not just any appreciation hungry, showy and any random kit banging monkey but a clever musician who knows when to step down and take a back seat. The songs are typical groove metal songs with very good quality of riffs and choruses written making this album highly consistent. The songs are short, to the point and the choruses are catchy enough to be appreciated at the first listen itself. The bass doesn't play any big part here, but Mike Orlando should certainly be given credit for his fantastic guitar work here which though being nothing special technically, is of a very high caliber just because it is executed just as well as it is composed. Where this album succeeds is where most groove metal records fail, in the riffs and the choruses. While most albums in the sub genre try to create a more angry atmosphere and toughness than their last record, Omerta here contains a good focus on catchy and enjoyable melodies and tunes, which though may not be a constant sledgehammer of anger, prove to be enjoyable as a whole.

The album contains 11 tracks with a fairly high consistency. The first six tracks are absolute gems featuring stellar composition throughout. I would like to single out Indifferent and All On The Line as being the best tracks. All On the Line is among the softer tracks and one of the finest ballads I have heard in recent times. Indifferent has a very catchy chorus and some very good transitions between softer and harsher parts. Undaunted, Psychosane, Hit The Wall, Feelin' Me, Freight Train are all quality groove metal tracks with excellent choruses and a great harsh and angry atmosphere about them. Angel Sky is a quality ballad, not quite on the plane with All On The Line, but is an enjoyable rack track. The album loses its steam between Come Undone and Down To The Floor all of which are among the album's lows. Fortunately the lows are not that low and are quite enjoyable in themselves.

The album received quite a lot of flag on being compared with the works Dream Theater and Symphony X with whom this band shares two of its members. True it is far removed from the works of those two said bands but then this certainly does not mean that it is bad music, does it? Bottom-line; this album is a must listen for fans of groove metal and also highly recommended for fans of other sub-genres with a hope that this might change your opinion and a complex about groove metal.