This one could be fun.... to write.
Of all the side-projects and new bands that have come out in the last however many years, one of them has stood out from the pack as the weirdest, and worst, of them all. Originally featuring Russell Allen of Symphony X and Allen/Lande fame, along with Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater and Transatlantic fame, Adrenaline Mob was a brain-dead bro rock band that turned two forty-something prog legends into stuttering frat boys who still think it's amazing that the woman in the pen loses her clothes when you tip it upside down.
Portnoy wisely left the group after they got the three good songs out of their system, but the Mob continues on, killing brain cells of any who dare listen. And with this album's cover pointing toward a political bent, oh my could this be a disaster.
"King Of The Ring" opens the album up the only way it knows how, with a stomping two note riff and Russell barking in his worst tone of voice. Couple that with writing that leads to nothing resembling a catchy chorus, and you get a song that is a sad parody of Five Finger Death Punch, who are already one of the worst bands on the scene. Why these middle-aged men want to sound like people who likely think face tattoos are cool is one of life's great mysteries.
Mike Orlando is a talented guitarist, in the sense that he has the dexterity to shred solos when he wants to. He's not a particularly interesting rhythm player, which is the meat of a song, so he does the same thing most modern rock guitarists do by essentially turning their own band into the veggie-burger of music; a bland facsimile of something you might actually want.
But the brunt of the blame goes to Russell Allen, as always. Russell is one of the best singers in all of rock or metal. I mean that sincerely. His voice is astounding, when he decides to use it properly. Here, though, he displays yet again that he writes on the same level as a Michael Bay movie; making lots of noise is just as good as having something to say!
I don't fault Russell for not being a good songwriter. You don't have to be, but you have to be smart enough to know your strengths. If you can't write, you get someone to help you out. Adrenaline Mob doesn't have a single member who understands the rock part of hard rock. They're hard-headed, for sure, but they never rock. Rocking is about a lot more than having enough distortion on the guitars. It's an energy, an identity, and Adrenaline Mob fit it for concrete shoes.
Is "We The People" the worst album of the year? Well, that's hard to say. It's certainly a contender, and I penalize it highly for having people involved who should know better than to ever release it, let alone be proud of it. There are albums that have been more intolerable to sit through, but none where it was such an obvious facade of bro-hood that only makes the middle-aged men behind it look older and sadder. Adrenaline Mob is a mid-life crisis, and it doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon.