“…. and you’ll let me play mediocre hard rock?” sobbed the pathetic figure sat by the side of the road, tattered trainers absorbing rainwater from the gutter. “I don’t have to play poly-rhythms any more?”
“Yes”, Russell reassured him, “I haven’t broken a sweat since we started.” Pulling himself to his feet, he dusted the basketball jersey off & climbed into the idling camper van.
“Ok but we get to cover Duran Duran!” he yelped excitedly. “And I want ice cream!”
Orlando grinned smugly. “Whatever you want, Michael. Now, we just need to go round Fozzy’s house & see if any of them are free.”
Remember Godsmack? No, well, Adrenaline Mob do. Not only do they remember them but it appears they might have erected a small shrine to them in their practice space & written “I <3 Sully Erna” on the back of their maths jotter. Opener Undaunted is taken straight from the late nineties school of defiant songs about an unspecified threat (possibly puberty) all set to Baby’s First Metal Riff ™. Were it not for the pedigree involved, they’d get themselves a C- & a note saying “must try harder” but we aren’t talking about some fresh-faced buffoons who just bought their first Stratocaster knock off. No, Portnoy regularly occupies the top spot in WURLDZBESTDUMMIST lists & Russell Allen can have both his balls in my mouth whenever he wants because he did this. Things slump even further with the abysmal Psychosane which appears to have been penned as the theme tune for a UFC fighter whose gimmick I can only assume is looking a bit like Zakk Wylde. There is no excuse for the lack of creativity on show here.
In fact, the album peaks on a Duran Duran cover & that is a phrase I never thought I’d utter. Regardless of what you think of Halestorm (in my case, it was “who?”), Lizzy Hale can sing & she plays off well against Allen turning Simon Le Bon’s adult contemporary classic into something for children. At least it is a change of pace from the middle of the road Black Label-isms. Elsewhere, we get the prerequisite ballad, Angel Skies which thankfully doesn’t outstay its welcome & the guitar work remains tastefully restrained throughout.
Closer Freight Train offers you a brief glimmer of light before dashing your hopes of a Nitro cover against the cruel, hard rocks of a generic stop-start riff from a man who recently learnt the pinch harmonic as he injects them haphazardly all over the shop. Technical competence will never overcome shitty songwriting, Mr Orlando. The sooner you learn this, the better off we will all be.
From the terrible Godfather inspired logo to the cover artwork (mobsters & cigarettes & skulls & shit), everything about this package stinks of a product well past its sell-by date. The most fun you can have with this album is to count the number of times big Russ screams “motherfuckin’” & then consult my catchily named “If you use the word Motherfuckin’ more than 0 times, you can fuck off” chart. Inexcusably average, this is the musical equivalent of fat guy wearing a Tap Out shirt.