POWERMAN 5000

"Builders of the Future" (Universal; 2014)

Reviewed by Snidermann

I thought I would never again see a new Powerman 5000 recording, but I was more than a little pleased when our esteemed editor, R. Scott Bolton, gave me a copy of the band's 2014 release "Builders of the Future."

I have to say that mid-way through the first spin, I was very happy to realize that Powerman 5000 is back and shining as bright as ever in every way possible. Nicely crafted tunes, quirky serious lyrics and more than a bit of trademark fun makes this album well worth the wait. Right from the start, I knew I was into the Powerman 5000 sci-fi metal groove.

It is a better world music-wise when Powerman 5000 has a new recording out and "Builders of the Future" ranks up there with their very best.

For more information, check out http://www.powerman5000.com

"Somewhere on the Other Side of Nowhere" (Mighty Loud; 2009)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Powerman 5000 continues to impress with their new release, "Somewhere On The Other Side Of Nowhere." From the first note, the band gives notice that they are back and with a bullet!

Spiderís unique vocal style drives this release into the stratosphere and the musical talent of the band makes PM5K and the new release simply one of the best I have heard all year. If you have heard any early Powerman 5000, you know that they sometimes have a strong rap influence. Thankfully, that has diminished over the years, but there is a rap-like cut here that is very cool and a nice change up.

I really like where the band is now days. I just hope we hear from them more often!

"Somewhere on the Other side of Nowhere" is fun, fantasy, horror and a few more musical avenues I have yet to explore. An enormously entertaining metal release!

For more information, check out http://myspace.com/powermann5000.

"Destroy What You Enjoy" (DRT; 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Powerman 5000 returns with yet another new line-up, another new record label and another new yet familiar sound. As they always have in the past, the band delivers another solid rock'n'roll record that sounds a little different than their previous releases but still sounds like Powerman 5000.

With only one intentional exception (the poignant "Miss America"), "Destroy What You Enjoy" dares you not to tap your foot or even occasionally bang your head along with the music. Hell, you can dance to most of it, if you want to. The quirky hooks and anthem-like themes are strong throughout this CD, the rhythms are fiery and buoyant, and Spider's dynamic and exuberant vocals give everything an additional kick.

Whereas "Destroy What You Enjoy" doesn't have that one track that just grabs your throat and holds on (as did "Transform" with "Action"), "Wild World" comes close, with its irresistible chorus and insightful lyrics. Other stand-out songs include the quirky "Now That's Rock 'N Roll," the punky "Enemies," and the driving "All My Friends Are Ghosts." The CD closes with the bluesy "Miss America" and its penetrating lyrics ("You might miss America when it's gone, when it's gone") and a live version of "Heroes and Villains."

I hope that "Destroy What You Enjoy" is successful enough to generate more Powerman 5000 CDs in the future. As much as I enjoy this and the band's previous CDs, I'm fascinated by where they'll go next.

Powerman 5000: Spider - vocals; Adrian Ost - drums; Siggy - bass; Johnny Heatley - guitar; Terry Corsa - guitar.

For more information, check out http://www.powerman5000.com

"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Vol. 1" (Megatronic; 2004)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Okay, Powerman 5000 fans, sit up and take notice. The band has released "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Vol. 1 Rare & Previously Unreleased '91-'96" (man, what a mouthful) on Megatronic Records (Spiderís label). That lengthy title says it all. This PM5K release is the band's evolution, the stuff that led up to the makings of the current sound, but this shit is raw and contains way more rap than the band's latest material. In fact, the band sounds more like Incubus or Kid Rock here than the current PM5K.

The music on this CD is released as is. It's loud, raw and in your face. It's kinda cool to see (hear) the road the band has taken to get where they are today. They make no bones about the old sound - it is what it is and, judging from the number in the title, I hope there is more to come. 

Fans of PM5K will love this stuff. It's like stepping into a time machine and finding one of today's best acts when they were just starting out. This CD simply solidifies and clarifies the band's history and gives fans something to dig into until the next new studio CD. 

Powerman 5000: Spider One - vocals; Adam 12 Williams - guitar; Al Pahanish - drums; Dorian Heartsong - bass. 

For more information, check out http://www.powerman5000.com

"Anyone for Doomsday?" (Megatronic; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Back in 2001, Powerman 5000 fans were stunned when it was reported that the band's CD, "Anyone for Doomsday?" was going to be shelved and never released while the band recorded an entirely new album in its place. Rumors ran rampant - the label didn't like the CD, the band didn't like the CD, the bandmembers hated each other's guts - and so on and so on. (For what it's worth, the band reported on their website that they just weren't thrilled with the end result and opted to postpone the release indefinitely).

Fortunately, a few review copies of "Anyone for Doomsday" had already been shipped to the press and, like magic, they began showing up on that bastion of lost music treasures, eBay. That's where I got my first copy and I didn't know what to expect when I popped it into my CD player. What could be so horrible about "Anyone for Doomsday?" that even the band didn't want it released?

I was stunned by what I heard. "Anyone for Doomsday" is perhaps Powerman 5000's strongest CD, taking the sound of the band's previous CD, "Tonight the Stars Revolt!" to an entirely new level of power and aggression.

So it was no surprise to me that, two years after it was originally supposed to be released, Powerman 5000 have finally given in and released "Anyone for Doomsday?" As stated in the CD liner, it was probably "Bombshell" and its huge success that drove the band to finally release this CD. Appearing on numerous movie soundtracks and as the theme song for the wrestling Dudley Boys, "Bombshell" - without appearing on an officially released PM5K album at that point - probably became the band's best-known hit.

But it isn't just "Bombshell" that makes "Anyone for Doomsday" such a damn good album. Overall, I'd say that "Doomsday" is heavier than the band's previous releases and, indeed, heavier than their follow-up, the unfairly maligned and unfortunately unsuccessful (sales-wise) "Transform" (wow, three "un's" in one sentence!). "Doomsday" also still leans heavily on that sci-fi foundation that the band laid out so carefully with the "Tonight" and so carefully avoided with "Transform." 

In addition to "Bombshell," "Doomsday" boasts what could be the heavy metal theme of the Thunderbirds: "Danger is Go!" "Tomorrow is Yesterday" is another great track, delivering power rock and real soul-felt lyrics. The final track, "The Future That Never Was," is an eerie, high-tech ballad the likes of which you probably haven't heard.

"Anyone for Doomsday" is one of the biggest mysteries I can think of in recent rock'n'roll history. What was the real reason this terrific album was shelved and who thought it was less-than-spectacular? Why was its release cancelled (delayed) when it seems that it would have given the band that much-needed momentum, momentum they lost in the time it took them to record and release the also-excellent "Transform"?

Hell, I dunno. But I do know this: "Anyone for Doomsday" is a great CD, and I can't imagine any fans of Powerman 5000, both early and later material, not liking every single track.

For more information, check out http://www.powerman5000.com

"Transform" (Dreamworks; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

First and foremost, I'd like to make it clear that I don't think Powerman 5000 needed to transform. The band had an incredible, original sound that wasn't classic rock, wasn't alternative and wasn't new metal and I really liked that. I also liked the sci-fi flavor the band added to their CDs. Hell, a little horror never hurt Rob Zombie, why should a little sci-fi hurt Powerman 5000. (And I love the first line of the CD: "I'm not a spaceman ... but on the other hand, I never really did fit in this world.")

With "Transform," and a couple of new band members, Powerman 5000 steps a little bit away from that sci-fi image, but not as much as you might imagine. And that's a good thing. The band has gone from Flash Gordon to George Orwell - "Transform" is darker and much more serious than "Tonight the Stars Revolt!" or "Anyone For Doomsday." The lyrics, when they want to be, are more complex and philosophical. Even a song called "Song About Nuthin'" speaks volumes with its emphasis on not containing any "message."

Musically, this is a Powerman 5000 album through and through. The CD begins with a couple of feisty rockers, "Theme To a Fake Revolution" and, my favorite, "Free," which is a song that you may not be sure of the first time you hear it but that you're hooked on from the second time on. As the album progresses, the songs seem to ... well, transform ... going from straight-forward rockers to darker Marilyn Manson-like tunes to a song that almost (almost) sounds like The Cars. Of course, this isn't unique to "Transform." The band's previous albums have done a little exploration of their own and "Transform" is no different.

I've read other reviews for this CD that were less than glowing and I don't get it. I'll take Powerman's fiery, jaunty rock'n'roll any day. I was a little concerned after learning that half of the band had been replaced but, after listening to "Transform," those concerns vanished. 

I just hope it's not another four years before we get another PM5K album.

By the way, "Transform" also contains videos of "Free" and "Action."

Powerman 5000: Spider One (Rob Zombies' brother) - vocals, Siggy Sjursen - bass; Mike Tempesta - guitar; Alan 12 Williams - guitar; Adrian Ost - drums. 

For more information, check out http://www.powerman5000.com

"Transform" (Dreamworks; 2003)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Powerman 5000 has become one of my favorite bands: straight to the point, no bullshit and totally fucking cool. 

"Transform" delivers a science fiction one-two punch that is straight out of an Arthur C. Clarke novel. Sick, twisted songs that have strong storylines or, in the case of one song ("Song About Nuthin'") have no storylines or real subject at all. 

Totally original music from one of today's great metal storytellers. This shit is fresh and alive with emotion. Completely unique metal music with a heavy blend of electronic sounds thrown in to make this CD even better. The songwriting throughout is good but sometimes tends to be repetitive. Other than that, this is as close to unusual metal perfection as there is.

Powerman 5000: Spider One (Rob Zombies' brother) - vocals, Siggy Sjursen - bass; Mike Tempesta - guitar; Alan 12 Williams - guitar; Adrian Ost - drums. 

For more information, check out http://www.powerman5000.com

"Tonight the Stars Revolt!" (Dreamworks; 1999)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Powerman 5000 are one of the most original metal bands to come around since Rob Zombie - which is interesting because Powerman vocalist Spider is Rob Zombie’s brother. The music is similar to Rob Zombie in places and listening to it made me think of early White Zombie releases. The music transforms you and takes you to different alternate realities: future, past and present. Awesome music that transcends logic and just lets you off where you want it to go. This CD is one of the very best produced CDs I have heard all year and it added an element to the music that is hard to describe. The CD cover and inside notes are nearly as fun to read as the CD is to listen to. The band does a dark and twisted version (I did not expect anything less) of the classic Cars hit "Let The Good Times Roll." Hell, yeah.

Powerman 5000 is Spider One, voices; AL3 drums; Dorian 27 bass; M33, guitar; Adam 12, guitar.

Check out Powerman 5000 at http://www.powerman5000.com.

"Tonight the Stars Revolt!" (Dreamworks; 1999)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Tonight The Stars Revolt!" is Powerman 5000's second CD and it's even better than their first. The band seems to have found their niche - a niche that is almost uncomfortably parallel to that of White/Rob Zombie, who just happens to be lead vocalist Spider's brother.

Almost uncomfortably, but not quite. "Tonight The Stars Revolt" is a unique CD throughout, focusing more on cheesy 50's sci-fi sleaze and classic science fiction literature than on the classic monster movies that Rob Zombie so loves. "Tonight the Stars Revolt" is heavy metal as it would be written and performed by Kurt Vonnegut, or perhaps his literary alter ego Kilgore Trout.

The album begins with a narrated quote from the works of J.P. Saticoy that sets the tone for the entire CD: "Spinning complacently in the darkness, covered and blinded by a blanket of little lives, false security has lulled the madness of this world into a slumber. WAKE UP!" (from Saticoy's "An Eye is Upon You," 1947). It then breaks into the driving, nearly hip-hop rhythm of "Supernova Goes Pop." Each song from here on in flows into the next, like chapters in a book. And this stuff is gonna be awesome live.

Powerman 5000 as a band are tighter here than on their debut release and Spider's vocals are more measured and better delivered. The songwriting is better as well; each song incorporates the CDs overall theme in its tone, rhythm and tempo.

"Tonight The Stars Revolt" is a hell of a CD. Fans of Rob Zombie's style will certainly enjoy it, especially Zombie's guest appearance on "Blast Off To Nowhere." Other guests include DJ Lethal, Ginger Fish and Malachai Throne.

Powerman 5000 is Spider One, voices; AL3 drums; Dorian 27 bass; M33, guitar; Adam 12, guitar.

Check out Powerman 5000 at http://www.powerman5000.com.

"True Force" (Center of the Earth; 1997)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Originally recorded back in 1994, Powerman 5000's "True Force" is more of an EP than a full-length CD, with seven songs and only 21:00 minutes of music. The CD, issued before the band's bigtime signing to Dreamworks Records, shows a band that really hasn't firmed up its sound yet. "True Force" fluctuates between heavy rock, nu-rock, rap/metal and moments of pure hiphop. 

It's not a bad CD, but it's not the kind of thing that would have caught your attention right away - something the band's next CDs did. But some of the elements herein made it over to subsequent records - Spider's unique vocal style, audio clips from movies interspersed between tracks, etc. And you can hear the direction that the band's music is leaning toward. It just hasn't got there yet.

Fans of Powerman 5000 will want to add "True Force" to their collection, if nothing more than as a piece of history and a record of the band's evolution. Others will be better off with "Tonight the Stars Revolt" or "Mega Kung Fu!! Radio." 

Powerman 5000: Spider - voice; Adam - guitar; Dorian - bass; Al - drums; Percussion - Jordan. 

For more information, check out http://www.powerman5000.com.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2014 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 18 Dec 2016 12:46:21 -0500.