Review: We the People Need to talk about We the People

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Are you ready for this? Judging by your lack of New Balance, jorts, and mall-kiosk sunglasses I’d say you’re not quite there, but let’s jump in anyway.

Back in 2012 when I heard that Mike Portnoy and Russell Allen were teaming up on a record, I was admittedly pretty intrigued despite my slow transition away from their root bands. Two giants of the genre were bound to do something at least mildly interesting, no? I won’t get into my feelings upon hearing my first taste of Adrenaline Mob (zero, I had zero feelings) but their third LP We the People recently fell into my lap and something about it called to me. Maybe it was the comically unsubtle cover art, or maybe it was my newfound love of telling waitresses I just met “I’ll have the usual”, but I needed to listen to this album.

“King of the Ring” opens up the album with 15 seconds of what I believe is an attempt to sound like switching stations on an old-timey radio, but it’s so weirdly done that I can’t figure out the purpose. Luckily that is over quickly and we move on to the first of many big stomping riffs. What’s weird about the song is that it’s four minutes of tuff guy music indistinguishable from Disturbed, but for 15 seconds before the final chorus, it flips to an actually catchy, almost power-metal section that is gone before it even gets going. Psst, Russell, your Symphony X is showing.

“Bleeding Hands” takes a turn for the country and bemoans how quickly life passes us by if we’re not paying attention. Like all good ballads, the lyrics dig really deep in the feels with lines like:

I had a good life in my hometown,
Yeah it was back in the good old days.

If you need some super generic motivation in your music and just can’t quite stomach the likes of Katy Perry, Pink, or Kelly Clarkson, maybe “What You’re Made Of” (or to fix that dangling preposition, “That of Which You are Made”, perhaps) will inspire you with the soaring:

Stand up and show me
What you’re made of
And tell ‘em what you need to say
Just stand up and shout it
Be all about it
Tell ‘em that you’re here to stay

(side note, the cheery way in which the “be all about it” line is sung literally made me chortle)

Amid the few songs with decently catchy riffs, there are total clunkers with no redeeming qualities like “Til the Head Explodes”, which is an anxiety-inducing sprint to nowhere and “Raise ‘Em Up”, where you guessed it, “‘Em” refers to your hands and we’re supposed to “wave them around like we just don’t care” (I feel like I’ve heard this expression before once or twice… or maybe on literally every pop song… I can’t remember). “Ignorance & Greed” is a metal song I guess, but even after just listening to it, I already forgot what it sounded like. Thirteen is just too many songs. There’s also a cover of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” because why not?

If you couldn’t tell by the album artwork, the album title, or the track names (you might want to get your eyes checked), the album is overtly political in nature. But don’t worry snowflakes, cucks, and tea-baggers, there isn’t even a whiff of a controversial statement within (they’d probably just blame it on the dog if there was). Sure, there’s anger all over the place, but like a 90-year-old man’s genitals, it stands for nothing. Corruption bad. Leaders useless. People need to fight back. Yadda yadda yadda. I understand not wanting to alienate parts of your audience, but if you’re going to make a political album, shouldn’t it at least attempt to speak some truth besides complaining about partisanship, incompetence, and other generic social issues?

Every song is comically predictable with a 4-5 minute runtime, 3ish repeats of the chorus, solos, and sing-songy refrains. On the plus side, at least Portnoy isn’t in the band anymore, so I never had to picture him making dumb faces to the camera after every fill and instead just heard some pretty solid drumming from newcomer Jordan Cannata (the previous drummer A.J. Pero sadly passed away in 2015 from a heart attack while on tour). Orlando’s guitar solos are rippingly fast (does every single song really need one though?) and Allen’s vocals can be excellent when he’s not trying to intimidate us like we’re wee children.

I can see how some people might like this. Maybe you’re sick of experimentation and just want some no-frills hard rock that isn’t overly bro-ish. Maybe cliche political outrage helps get you through the household chores that your nagging wife assigns. I’m not here to judge you. I will, however, judge the album.

2 Out ov 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

We the People is out this Friday via Century Media Records.

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  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    I’m not excited for this at all. The last time they were supposed to perform my area their former drummer died. AJ Pero is spinning in his grave knowing they continued without him and released such a bad album.

  • Howard Dean
  • Incredible how two musicians known for their prog bands with STELLAR early albums can combine to make generic butt rock garbage. Let us hearken to their early days. yeah it was back in the good ol days https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaN3pwBsRf8

    • Mosh Hoff

      Hey you mistakenly copied the link for overblown garbage, I think you meant to post this:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cO8QF–f80

      • Howard Dean
        • Mosh Hoff

          It legitimately creeps me out how Romeo stares into my soul in EVERY SINGLE PHOTO of him.

          • Howard Dean

            Yeah, dude creeps me the fuck out. He’s kind of like an anthropomorphized wild boar from some cartoon or some shit. Nightmare fodder.

          • Now you understand how I view Fabio from Rhapsody

          • Mosh Hoff

            Even with the eyeliner and goth pants?

          • He could show up wearing JNCOs and spray me with faygo and I would still love him

          • Mosh Hoff

            I’m legitimately thinking of going to an entire festival just so I can see him do Lamento Eroico with Rhapsody.

          • Seeing LT’s Rhapsody was as close as I’ve gotten so far and I still lost my mind in joy

          • Mosh Hoff

            I’d watch him and a backing track. They turned Staropoli into samples, just go all out and tour as Rhapsody by yourself.

          • I’m down. Just me, Fabio, and backing tracks. Luca’s mullet sits on the stage right.

          • Mosh Hoff

            Just five Macbooks, one with a mullet, another one with a cutoff vest, one with a bandanna…

          • I just couldn’t believe how incredible the songs are live.

            Also aren’t they touring through Spain for the farewell tour? You better go

          • Mosh Hoff

            Not really touring, it’s ONE show at a festival pretty far away where I’m only interested in like 5 bands 🙁

          • Do it for me. There are no plans as far as I’m aware for any US dates. I will never get to see my favorite band of all time with my favorite singer of all time.

          • Mosh Hoff

            I will try my damnest.

          • Mosh Hoff
        • Mosh Hoff
        • Mosh Hoff
        • Mosh Hoff
        • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

          Every thirty seconds I start crying and screaming ‘HE’S SOOOO CUTE!!!’. Double meaning, people; mainly cute in personality. No, just kidding. Drop dead sexy in personality. I seriously melt when I watch him live

          – BlueDandiCandiPieJam, 1 year ago

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        Upvote for DWoT.

      • Dumpster Lung

        Upvote for DWoT, downvote for dissing the Odyssey, zero net profit. (actually just kidding, I never downvote).

        Divine Wings might be my favorite. Hard to pick from the early stuff. But Odyssey rules, too, just not quite as hard.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      Coming from someone who enjoys all the Symphony X albums I’m ashamed of Russell Allen. At least Iconoclast was good.

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        Iconoclast is easily one of their worst tho.

    • Guacamole Jim

      Don’t listen to el mexican hombre de pueblo incorrecto. The Odyssey is a great album and a fantastic song.

      • Mosh Hoff

        If you like your grits with a side of boiled ham on white bread, it’s amazing.

  • I just want to know how the conversation with Mike and Russell started. “Hey man, are you tired of effort? Y’wanna just sound like Godsmack or some shit?” “Hell yeah, brother”

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      This is probably the case.

    • Howard Dean

      Over/under on the number of times they say the word “brother” when they are in the studio? 25? 100? ∞ (a.k.a. “none more brother”)?

    • I recently met Mike Lepond and the first thing my brain thought of to ask was “what the fuck is wrong with Russel Allen”

      I didn’t ask him

      • Mosh Hoff

        Oh that’s right he’s playing with RtB

        • They were amazing

          • Simon PhoenixKing Rising

            Second this. They absolutely crushed.

          • Singer sounds nothing like Eric Adams but it didn’t matter, he had incredible presence and was a great singer in his own right

          • Simon PhoenixKing Rising

            Pretty much. He managed to make even the creepy rapey bridge in Dark Avenger sound badass lol.

          • He could have made Pleasure Slave feel normal and okay

  • RustyShackleford

    You know to be fair that first record they did could’ve sucked so much more and is OKAY as far as boring mainstream buttrock goes. Everything since then, however, stinks more than a post-Taco Bell turd from the Dipshit-In-Chief. Yep.

    • Wait how did you manage to get the taco restaurant past the filter

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        I was wondering the same thing.

      • RustyShackleford

        Only non-posers can get away with it. Good luck.

  • 1349 DOES BETTER “CHASING DRAGONS” SONG THAN RELAXATION MOB!!!

    • Howard Dean

      GORAK SMASH!!!

      • ME GORAK™✓ᶜᵃᵛᵉᵐᵃⁿ

        BYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      Relaxation Mob has slain me with humor.

      • Dumpster Lung

        My only gripe with “Relaxation Mob” is that relaxation is an inherently enjoyable thing 😛

    • Simon PhoenixKing Rising

      I laughed way harder at this than I should’ve.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    I like skeletons in suits and hats so much that this artwork is almost acceptable, but the music is not my cup of tea.

  • Simon PhoenixKing Rising

    Oh bro-rock. Your consistency in unfunny blandness and refusal to die is almost on par with those stupid “crack open a cold one with the boys” memes.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      Yay, I’m not alone in hating the memes about cracking a cold one open with the boys!

  • Mosh Hoff

    I liked Godsmack better when they were in Prince of Persia.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYjZK_6i37M

  • Covfefe Kingston
  • This is maximum butt rock

  • Covfefe Kingston

    Step 1: Collect underpants.
    Step 2: Covfefe !!!
    Step 3: Profit!!!!!
    Finally we know what Step 2 is! That took decades.

  • Jack Bauer

    I WANT TO GET OFF MR PORTNOY’S WILD RIDE

  • Óðinn

    2 toilets. Generous…. Very generous.

    • Joaquin Stick

      TBH I actually changed it last minute to 1.5, but I think it didn’t save all the way before I left the screen. They got lucky.