Review Summary: A beast of an album.
On their previous release, Powerman 5000 were blowing up supernovas, sending stars into rebellion, annihilating a space dictatorship, and requesting that their loved ones never forget them. All of this over a soundscape of detuned, chunky guitar riffs, the frenetic vocals of vocalist Spider One, a pulsating rhythm section, and occasional influences of hip-hop, funk, and electronica/synthpop. Tonight The Stars Revolt!
remains an extremely creative album guaranteed to please.
And frankly, so does Anyone for Doomsday?
, and then some. It's definitely a darker effort (the previous project was about saving the world while this one is about destroying it), and it shows. This album seethes of anger, whether it's in the heavier riffs, increased screams, darker lyrical content, or intensified rhythm work. Further, the knack for experimentation the band found on TTSR! is prevalent in spades: tracks like "The Meaning of Life" and "The End of Everything" continue to develop the funk aspect, "Rise" and "The Future That Never Was" boost the hip-hop, "What The World Does" showcases a pleasing blend of 80s synths and modern punk, and "Megatronic" is a catchy, robotic dance track. Drummer/percussionist Al 3 shows his chops throughout the album, but especially the last bit, bassist Dorian 27 boosts the groove-laden tracks, but one of the best parts of the Powerman sound cannot be forgotten: the guitar-work. Every single song these guitarists play on, they utilize their full potential, delivering potent riffs, strange fretboard scratches, bluesy clean playing, and tasteful solos. The synth and programming shouldn't be disregarded either, and they enhance the album in a number of ways: whether they just add to the fun factor, propel gloomy atmospherics, or subtly pulse in the background, these components are not a gimmick, but a cohesive weapon in the band's musical arsenal.
Lyrically, the band goes not only darker, but strangely… [i]deeper[/L]. It's clear that Spider had a little more of a personal stake in this one, because he at least attempts to ask some big questions. What's the point of changing and improving in an environment that is, by nature, harmful? Do authorities exist to strip us of power and freedom, or imbue us with confidence and wisdom? Will the harmful actions of the human race really destroy us? The album even has the boldness to end on a darker, more ambiguous note than previously. Note though: a little more personal stake in these lyrics. They're fairly well-thought out, true, but this isn't AP English, top-tier writing. And for those that got worried that Pm5k got too serious with this one… rest assured. Anthems like only single "Bombshell", "Danger Is Go", and "Wake Up" still retain an anthemic, adrenaline-infused tone that wouldn't be out of place at a sporting event, and as a whole, Pk500 didn't abandon what made them best at their core: powerful, frenetic rock tracks with catchy choruses, schizophrenic synths, and gut-busting guitar tracks.
Anyone for Doomsday? is a beast
of an album. It grooves, rocks, bounces, dances, and even takes the time to settle down and think for a little bit. Is it playing with complex time signatures, crafting poetry, or blowing up in technicality? No, but I would argue it doesn't need to be. One of Powerman's strongest assets is their ability to take more simplistic song structures and instrumentation and turn it into a creative land-mine, and I for one am more than ok with that.