Powerman 5000 have paved new roads for industrial rock over the years with their genre-blending of rock, metal, industrial, rap, and punk have been their forte since forming in 1991. Previous Powerman 5000 albums are fun with their energetic songs, lyrical shifts and the fluidity of riffs but New Wave (Pavement) tested my patience track after track. I caught a bit of a break with the fourth track, the shortest song ‘Thank God’ had more energy than the entire album… This 1 minute and 13 seconds slightly boosted my tolerance level for the album.
I was immediately intrigued, yet confused, when I saw the album artwork. I wasn’t sure if I was looking at a kid attempting to fashion a Halloween costume of Slipknot or if it was a creep attempting to conceal his identity on a dating site. I must admit, I see the punk and I see metal, but definitely not impressed.
I finally made it to ‘David Fucking Bowie’. If Bowie were here to listen to this song, I would discourage him from doing so. Bowie is a fucking legend! It could’ve been left at “Let’s dance like we are David Fucking Bowie, David Bowie, David Fucking Bowie.” because that’s all I heard. I listened to this several times and could not wrap my brain around the intentions of the song. It sounds like what Billy Idol’s career is made of. The guitars are muffled, but the vocals are dynamic (though dynamic does not equate to great in this song). This song took the cringe-worthiness of New Wave to a new level.
‘Footsteps and Voices’ sounds like they hijacked Sixx: AM’s instrumentals mashed it with Prophets of Rage’s new album’s rapping and sprinkled in Spider’s talk-style singing. ‘Tonal Carnage’ was the final product of this one. Sadly, ‘Hostages’ has a similar sound as well.
In summary, New Wave was clearly not a hit with me because of an overall techno vibe and poorly written lyrics. However, Powerman 5000 has remained true to their sound, stood the test of time, has made countless contributions to the rock world and deserve respect for their efforts. They have many fans, myself included, but I am not feeling this album.