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Powerman 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 for more.
 
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 does.
 
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 gimmick.
 
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 whore”.
 
“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. 
 



CD Info 

Powerman 5000 – Transform 
Label: DreamWorks Records
Rating
 
Tracks:
Assess The Mess
Theme To A Fake Revolution
Free
Action
That’s Entertainment
A Is For Apathy
Transform
Top Of The World
Song About Nuthin’
Stereotype
I Knew It
Hey, That’s Right!
The Shape Of Things To Come
 
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online


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