Review Summary: More like a talent circus than an Adrenaline Mob: Lots of skillful performances, but little discipline and even less songwriting.6 of 7 thought this review was well written
It is no secret that I did not like the Adrenaline Mob EP much. In my opinion, the EP was quickly thrown together, poorly produced, and very underwhelming in the songwriting department. While this full-length album is much better than the first taste of the Mob we got a couple of months ago, it's still not very good. The musicians are talented, and the actual sound of the album is good; unfortunately, the songs aren't. The project, as a whole, is completely lacking in any substance of maturity.
Regardless, the album starts off on a fairly good note. The first song, Undaunted, is a traditional hard-rock/metal offering, but at least it's got plenty of the promised "adrenaline" the Mob claims to have. The next song, Psychosane, is not bad either, and much better than the version we heard on the EP. Though I can't really pinpoint the difference between the two, the recording here just sounds tighter, more rehearsed, and better sounding. Still, it suffers from the horrendous spoken-word segment. I'm not sure who actually liked that, but Mike Portnoy for some reason does not seem to be able to accept what is perhaps the most common thing said about him since he stopped winning drummer awards: that he needs to step away from the microphone forever (No, Mike, it's not just 'internet trolls' that feel that way).
The best song on the album might be the third song, "Indifferent", which has sort of a classic metal vibe to it (think "Eden's Curse"). At no later point on the album do the Mob sound as sure of themselves and together as they do on "Indifferent", and after the song ends the album plummets in quality. It is as if Omerta follows that typical commercial album format' start hard with three solid songs, throw in a bunch of songs no-one will listen to more than once, and stick a potential single (Angel Eyes) somewhere in the mix near the end of the record. Unfortunately, little about the album is memorable, and when it is, it's often for the wrong reasons: because you hear some really strained vocals (Believe Me), or some really silly lyrics (Freight Train).
There's an undeniable level of talent here, but the end result is a Brooklyn circus. Russell Allen strains his vocals to sound tough and "metal", even more than he has on the last two Symphony X records. Sometimes it sounds good, and other times it sounds like he's trying to hard. Mike Orlando performs the same, or similar, sounding tap-solos over and over again, and never pulls it together to play something that someone who is not a shredder might appreciate. Mike is just there; he gives a good performance, but drums alone can't save the fact that the songs are just not good. The lyrics stink, frankly, and never move beyond the adolescent (I guess being a fan of the band means you consider hormonal teen-rage to be synonymous with 'adrenaline', though).
Given an outside songwriter and decent producer, the band might actually be able to do something interesting. But, as is, they're just as average as average metal gets. This, as sports fans know well, is what happens when you assemble a lot of talent together without a thought for discipline, direction, or maturity.