Home School Valedictorian
Adelitis Way is poised to take metal-lite to a place it rarely goes; mainstream radio. Their release “Home School Valedictorian” is a tidy and slick release of eleven metal-pop songs that crackle with an incongruous mix of rock and roll rebellion and corporate satisfaction. This is a very safe release for any record company.
Adelitis Way will make Virgin’s shareholders as giddy as the teen-age girls who will surely buy the posters and wallpaper their bedrooms. They are pretty enough to have their own TV show – while being solid enough musicians to cut a record that is equal parts quality and commercial.
Rick DeJesus broods aggressively whether in front of the microphone or the camera. He delivers exactly what is expected of him. He brings powerhouse vocals which he doles out generously – but with some reservation. He knows there are more albums in store and he wants to save some pyrotechnics for later.
Trevor Stafford might the most versatile young drummer on record in a long time. His ability to direct and alter the rhythm section is one of the elements that keeps the quartet’s metal vibe front and center. Stafford knows his way around a kit and is not afraid to use every bit of hardware he has.
True to their radio-friendly-metal-lite sound, Derek Johnston’s bass playing gets no love at all. There are moments when his work comes through, but he is mostly non-existent on this disc. I don’t blame Johnston, this is the way of the walk for a lot of modern music. Bass players typically are underserved. Without them – there is precious little going on under the guitar attack of a modern rock band – but they rarely get mixed well enough to give them the respect they deserve.
Robert Zakaryan – might be the guitar player’s name on “Home School Valedictorian.” (The website says one thing- the FaceBook page says something else.) Whoever is playing the guitar is doing a fine job. There is nothing here that promises greatness – but he surely has all of the right rock and roll licks and fills and crunch. His work – like DeJesus voice – clearly defines Adelitis Way for better or for worse.
(According to their web site Adelitis Way became a quintet by adding guitarist Keith Wallen after recording the record. This review doesn’t reflect Wallen or any contribution he may have to the band down the road.)
Stand Out Tracks
I Wanna Be