Whenever a new album is released by a band, the biggest question for that band from their fans is, “Will the sound be different, or will it be the same?” Too often there is no telling an artist’s albums apart, all the songs sound the same. On the opposite end, too much change can alienate established fans. I have had a lot of fans ask me what to expect from POWERMAN 5000’s upcoming album New Wave (October 27, Pavement Entertainment). I can officially tell you to expect a heavier sound, packed with the same energy!
The album opens with “Footsteps and Voices”, a heavy track with Spider One rapping some of the lyrics, but the song is a heavy hitter that can hook anyone right out the gate. The next song was an instant favorite for me. “Hostage” hints at some classic horror punk mixed with rock. This is a track I NEED to see live! “Sid Vicious in a Dress” is the first single. The video is a fun watch, but has its moments that stick with you, making you want to see it again. Spider was bound to a chair for a long time during this video shoot, duct tape over his mouth, being tortured by Krsy Fox of Knee High Fox. Who doesn’t love a good torture scene though, hahaha!
“David Fucking Bowie” has a wonderful and fun 80’s feel, but mixed with a classic PM5K sound. We miss you Bowie! This leg warmer and big hair feel of a song leads back into modern times with one I know the fans will love. If you saw the Set to Stun Tour earlier this year, you heard the new song “Cult Leader.” The band wore those creepy emotionless masks, but the song is pure fun, leaving everyone in the crowd jumping, chanting, and dancing. This energy is what turned me onto the band back in 1999. This song was always a part of the set I looked forward to on tour.
“No White Flags” does a complete 180 and is a slow song. It reminds me of BUSH’S “Glycerine”, a fantastic song in its own way, and very deep. It took me a few listens before it settled in, so the same might happen with you. The overall theme is one of never giving up. “Thank God” is only 1:11, but it is classic speed rock. Expect speed beats and screaming, but fuck it, this is a fun, headbanging track that I am stoked to hear the band play live!
“Die on Your Feet” goes back to heavy rock, with the sound of a hammer anvil in the background. It amazes me that Spider is able to change the sound of the band, but still keep it so everyone knows a POWERMAN 5000 song when they hear it. “Get a Life” starts with a solo drum beat, leading into a song I could see in a zombie movie. It’s simple, but haunting and melodic.
The album closes out with “Run for Your Life.” When I first heard this song, I wondered why they’d end with it. The sound is raw and very 80’s. Why not go with something heavy? It then changes things up to a dance song with synths. Although I would have loved for the record to finish as heavy as it started, a wind down and fun song like this still makes me happy.
Overall New Wave is an enjoyable and energy-packed record. I think old fans will find aspects they enjoy, and the changes are an evolution to be appreciated. No one wants the same album over and over. I love seeing a band hit as many genres as Spider and Co. did!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Hostage”, “Sid Vicious In a Dress”, “Cult Leader”