Powerman 5000’s latest LP, Transform, marks a transition for the band from gothic space-rock to a niche between n?-metal and standard hardcore. Its not as good as it used to be, but at least it ain’t Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit.
If it is anything, Transform is one of the strangest calls to arms I’ve ever come across. It is a much blunter explication of PM5K’s anti-establishment oeuvre than they usually spit out.
Tonight the Stars Revolt! was a metallic barrage with a distinctive Ziggy Stardust spaceman feel. Transform, is literally more down to earth. Spider One, is decidely in just about everyone’s face: the government, corporate bureaucracy, and especially silicon breasted, boyband marionettes who pass themselves off as artists instead of entertainers. At the same time he wants “hands up to misfits, the ones that don’t fit.” Granted, not the most eloquent of verse, but the point is clear enough.
The misfit mustering songs don’t really do much for me lyrically, and on the whole, while the bluntness is appreciated, and the drooling invective in songs like “That’s Entertainment” makes me grin and sing along with infernal delight, the music is what makes the album.
Nothing in particular is outstandingly original here either. The first eight true songs all rock, but the album kinda ends flatfooted. None of the songs are overly long, most are pretty catchy, and good to rock out to, but without the ‘space-vibe’ it misses something. This will definitely be an album I take with me on long car trips. It really isn’t something I just want to sit back and listen to, it does not demand that much attention.
This is a good transition album for PM5K. They effectively changed their sound, but avoided becoming a n?-metal clich? by appealing to action from their angst-filled demographic instead of commiserating with puling whine-songs. Hopefully their next album will complete the transformation. Knowing Spider One’s meticulous and demanding ethic to be a different kind of rock force, this is likely to be the case.
Recommended songs: That’s Entertainment, A is for Apathy, Sterotype.