Powerman 5000 has had a tumultuous history. Whether it came via issues with record labels or band members, the fact remains that they have survived over 20-plus years in the music industry. Last week saw the release of “Builders of the Future,” which is their seventh studio album. This reviewer was surprised by this fact as well. Barring a few sightings here and there on movie and video game soundtracks, PM5K has remained somewhat under the radar. With this album, they hope to once again come back into the public eye.
The album begins with the opening track “Invade, Destroy, Repeat.” It’s clear that they are sticking to their industrial metal roots, as synthesizers and electronic elements are heavily utilized. Spider One’s spoken word segment is intended to get the listener pumped and excited for what’s to come, but the song itself sounds like it has been heard before. Unfortunately, most of the album sounds like this. It’s not a bad album, but it definitely sounds a little old hat. There simply isn’t anything new to be found here.
The one track that stands above the rest is “I Want to Kill You,” the only song where PM5K has decided to step outside of their comfort zone. This ballad uses minimal synth effects, only utilizing them for atmospheric purposes; the focus is on Spider One’s emotional vocals and the acoustic guitar. It’s curious to think what “Builders of the Future” would’ve sounded like if PM5K didn’t go back to their usual well. There’s something to be said for a band finding their sound or niche. However, resting on one’s laurels and not progressing their art because of the mentality of “staying true to one’s sound” without trying something new is disheartening to fans of any type of music.
Powerman 5000 ‘Builders of the Future’ Rating W W V