Since first album The Blood-Splat Rating System was uncaged in 1995, it has been so easy to form a soft spot for the metal exploits of Powerman 5000 and all the reasons why are there blazing away in new album New Wave. Across nine studio full-lengths, the band has aroused and stirred the imagination in varyingly successful degrees but always left a potent impact on personal pleasure, their new offering hitting that mark with ease once again. Whether New Wave is their best proposition to date or indeed their most unique we will leave others to debate; as to whether it is one of their most exhilarating and addictive incitements there is nothing to question.
Though metal bred, Powerman 5000 has always felt as much punk rock in tone and attitude as any more recognisable punk ‘n’ roll proposals; an air which is at its most vocal within New Wave. The album opens with Footsteps and Voices, its electro instincts teasing and tempting as rhythms and vocal chants gather in the industrial background. In no time though, the track is strolling along with a muscular swagger, vocalist Spider One the ringmaster ready to share his spirit rousing rap as the rhythmic shuffle of drummer DJ Rattan and bassist Murv Douglas flirt with the electronic revelry. Like a fusion of Marilyn Manson and Hed (PE) but uniquely Powerman 5000, the track has the body bouncing and vocal chords hollering; its rock ‘n’ roll inescapable bait.
The following Hostage is just as manipulative, again bringing all its virulent aspects together before leaping into a contagious canter with biting beats aligned to compelling grooves and riffs cast by the guitars of Ty Oliver and Ryan Hernandez. Submission and involvement with its epidemic of enterprise and incitement is unavoidable and liberating as the track’s punk fervour takes hold before exhaustion soaked pleasure is passed onto and emulated by the band’s latest single. The warped love affair of Sid Vicious in a Dress lives up to its theme in sound, a psyche twisting infestation only leading to addiction as heavy grooves and rapacious riffery unites with the rapier swings of Rattan and Douglas’ bass grumble. As its predecessor, the song’s catchiness and ear arousing antics are viral, a toxic sonic trespass leading to dependency from which escape is not an option. There are plenty of familiar aspects to the track and all adding to its forceful persuasion upon body and spirit.
The electro waltz of David F**king Bowie is no mean spirit in stirring ears or appetite either, its gait and energy a calmer but lively instigator swiftly tempting forceful participation from vocal chords. Its celestial meanders allow a breath to be taken though equally it leads to a hankering to be back romping which the song subsequently provides before Spider stands centre stage to call on ears and his flock with Cult Leader. An anthemic hard rock meets glam punk roar again very difficult not to get caught up in it does lacks some of the unique sparks of its predecessors but leaves the listener wanting little.
The alluring balladry of No White Flags settles the charge of the album but not the rich attention it continues to earn; the song a tantalising mix of melodic alternative metal and heavy rock while Thank God is a gloriously irritable slab of nu-metal lined punk metal as raw and antagonistic as it is uncontrollably contagious. One minute plus of primal temptation it sets yet another lofty marker in the landscape of New Wave, one teased if not hit by successor Die on Your Feet, a song of typical yet openly individual Powerman 5000 enterprise carrying all their established traits in its scuzzy rock ‘n’ roll blaze.
Get a Life steals the passion next with its prowling Dope/Rob Zombie-esque taunting. The track hints at and flirts with an instinctive tempest but keeps it restrained to only further seduce. That volcanic eruption never does not really escape even as the song expels a more tempestuous energy and aggression in its riveting stalking, again though this only adding to its show stealing majesty.
The album concludes with Run for Your Life, an electro rock nurtured, groove swinging slice of infection which in no time has hips swaying as feet and spirit dance. At times there is whiff of Ministry before Al Jourgensen turned his synth pop industrial metal to the song which potently colours up the Powerman 5000 creative theatre working away on the imagination. As it departs with a clunky abruptness you wonder if the song was a late addition or originally meant as a hidden treat, or indeed maybe a clue from the band of things to come, but it is a welcome and thoroughly enjoyable addition which lingers as much as any other gem within New Wave, an album which declares Powerman 5000 as essential as they have ever been.
New Wave is out now via Pavement Music across most online stores.
Pete RingMaster 08/11/2017
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