5000 – Transform
The Hobo Review
The Los Angeles based quintet Powerman
5000 exploded onto the underground East Coast music scene with their indie
debut The Blood Splat Rating System back in 1995. Two years later, with
a move to Dreamworks Records, the self-proclaimed “action metal” group
put out a revamped and reenergized version of their debut under the name
of Mega Kung Fu Radio.
In 1997 the band released True Force which
was to further their already notorious status as popular cult music icons.
In 1999, donned in space suits and eerie hairstyles, the band created the
highly acclaimed Tonight When The Stars Revolt! and kicked off a tour with
several highly popular metal bands that was to leave fans worldwide hungry
With an army of loyal fans, Powerman prepared
to release their heaviest, darkest and loudest album yet, Anyone For Doomsday?
But on the 13th of August 2001, two weeks before the album was set to hit
the shelves – with a tour alongside Machine Head and Saliva already planned
– the released was cancelled by Spider, Powerman’s frontman.
Three months later, two founding members
Al and Dorian left the band. The stakes were now stacked even higher, already
Powerman seemed dead to the world. Spider commented on powerman5000.com
“It just didn’t feel right. I decided to go with my instinct and pulled
it off the shelves and told the other band members to do the same. A few
weeks later Al and Dorian left the band.”
After a three month break, the remnants
of Powerman started six months of conceptual writing. Spider commented
recently he felt stuck in the style the band had kept to for the past six
years, and felt he was ready to explore a new sound. He was not content
for Powerman 5000 to be known as “Rob Zombie’s little brother’s band”,
he wanted to earn his band the recognition it deserves.
First came a different approach to recording
the album. Instead of individually recording every instrument over Pro
Tools, and shoving in layers of textures and loops, the group has taken
a more traditional rock approach. The band recorded in a more conventional
style in an attempt to capture the sound and energy of the band live.
The tension has mounted on the shoulders
of the new Powerman. Four years after their last release, with their fans
shaking in anticipation, we can’t help but wonder, could the new album
possibly be worth the wait? Does the new album, produced by Joe Barresi
(Queens of the Stone Age, Pennywise) offer what it promises? Indeed it
Spider commented a few months ago on Mtv
“we stripped a lot of the artificial nature of the band we’re known for”.
This may be so, but don’t let this statement lead you astray, in my personal
opinion the band has taken the more likeable and powerful elements of its
music, and cranked up the aggression for one hell of an album.
Take the band’s single “Free” for example.
The clip shows the band completely stripped of any high tech electronics
and gimmicks, which symbolizes the CD’s evolution and progression. The
album’s focus is on the social and cultural issues which plague our world,
attempting to reach out to the many generations of teenagers forced to
become a categorized clothing advertisement.
“Theme To A Fake Revolution” gives reference
to a “battle won and lost with confusion”, that being the cultural war
which is currently being fought. “Make no mistake there is no solution”,
the band pounds out a heavy tribute to teens refusing to conform. Complete
with deep bottom end guitars - the harmonic subset of which a major feature
of the bands sound – and pounding drums, the first song on the album introduces
you to the new Powerman 5000; sticking to their roots but removing the
Next comes the single off the album which
fans should already be acquainted with, “Free”. Complete with catchy hooks,
and a smooth bottom-ended sound, the band rallies its fans to stand up
and be heard. The song Action follows in a slight quirk for the band, the
main guitar riff sounding more punk-orientated, perhaps forced by Spider’s
love of Joe Strummer.
“That’s Entertainment” brings an abstract
twist to the album, sounding something like a hybrid of early Orgy and
Marilyn Manson. The song lashes out at the pop music community “look at
all the pop stars thinking that they’re in charge/lets see who’s the biggest
“A Is For Apathy” follows up the thematic
line of the album. Spider comments “I’ve always written abstract lyrics
that I’m not completely happy with, finally on the album I’ve been able
to get the point, I’m really proud”.
From the cynical cry of “Top Of The World”,
to the blast from the past “Song About Nuthin”, to the more predictable
stylings of “Stereotype”, the band never fails to deliver track after track
of solid rock. The band manages to highlight their slightly more aggressive
andgrass-roots-rock sound while still producing a record that’s pure Powerman.
With the new album “Transform” we also
welcome two new band members: Siggy Siursen on the bass and Adrian Ost
on the drums. Ost was actually recommended years ago to replace the old
drummer, brought to Spider’s attention by Edsel Dope (from the band Dope)
during the Tonight When The Stars Revolt! tour.
The band seems to be as energetic and
excited about the release as the fans. Spider said of recording the album.
“I feel like I’m back in Boston in 1996 in a rehearsal space creating this
new monster and there are no rules.” The stripped down, no nonsense progression
of the band has produced – in my opinion – their best release to date.
For one of the most anticipated releases
of 2003, the boy’s have done us proud.
5000 – Transform
Assess The Mess
Theme To A Fake Revolution
A Is For Apathy
Top Of The World
Song About Nuthin’
I Knew It
Hey, That’s Right!
The Shape Of Things To Come
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