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Powerman 5000

The Noble Rot

Review by Gary Hill

I really like this band. Their dark blend of metal and electronic has plenty of techno and industrial built into it. Gothic edges complete the picture. This new release is just what you'd expect from them, yet it's also fresh and new. It's quite an effective release and a great addition to the catalog.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Cannibal Killers That Kill Everyone
They waste no time, pounding in with a fast and furious jam. It drops to a more stripped back arrangement for the vocals. This is a killer industrial metal stomper that does a great job of opening the set in style. This definitely earns a parental advisory.
Brave New World
I dig the dramatic, almost theatrical vibe to this. Electronic elements are merged with rawer hard rock ones. This has some killer hooks and a great energy. As strong as the opener was, I think I prefer this one.
Play God or Play Dead
A rhythmic element brings this into being. The cut works out from there with a techno kind of vocal movement.
Black Lipstick
A bit more of a straight rocker, this makes me think of INXS a bit. Still, it's definitely Powerman. I love the reference to "Bela Lugosi's Dead." This has a real gothic vibe to it. It's one of my favorites here. The melodic break is classy, and the 80s-styled keys that come with it work well.
Special Effects
I dig the contrast between the more electronic sections and the driving metallic ones. This thing is high-energy and compelling techno-metal. It's a real powerhouse and one of the highlights here.
Let the Insects Rule
The chorus on this is catchy, and the tune really rocks. It's actually one of my favorites on the disc.
Movie Blood
Starting mellower and more electronic, this powers out into some serious metal from there. This is catchy and powerful. It has a great balance between more screaming and metallic zones.
Strange People Doing Strange Things
The chorus on this is particularly catchy. The whole tune rocks out with a great techno meets metal sound. This is a highlight of the set. There are some hints of things like Gary Numan on the later portions of this number.
We Got the Beat
Here is a cover of a very unlikely band, The Go-Gos. They turn this into a dark, moody techno cut. I've always said that if you cover a song, you should make it your own, well Powerman 5000 took that to heart here. This becomes a dark and trippy metallic piece in this telling. You can barely tell it's the same song, really.
VHS
Dark and electronic, this isn't metal at all. It's very cool, though.
Unlisted track (When Worlds Collide)
There are only ten songs listed, but there actually eleven songs on the CD. This is a version of the classic Powerman song "When Worlds Collide." This is fierce modern metal and works really well. It has the intriguing electronic elements you expect on display, though. Still, it's a screaming hot stomper.
 
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