POWERMAN 5000 – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Vol. 1

POWERMAN 5000 - The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Vol. 1


Megatronic Records
Release date: October 24, 2004

User Review
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“We were ahead of our time, behind our time, horrible and brilliant, all at once.” This is how Mike “Spider” Cummings describes his band, Powerman 5000 (PM5K), at the start of their career. With the release of the good, the bad and the ugly vol.1,, there may never have been a more apt description of a body of work.

The good, the bad and the ugly vol. 1 is a rare and previously unreleased collection of tunes that pre-dates PM5K’s commercial success. With tracks dating from 1991 to 1996, PM5K are allowing a very revealing look at the band and their self-discovery. The angst and sardonic tones were there from the beginning, but the delivery hadn’t developed into the brutal assault that PM5K has forged their reputation. Instead, there was a dark, soul vibe where the songs relied on big bass grooves to drive them. The big productions aren’t here; there are just stripped down, bare-knuckle, let-the-music-do-the-talking tunes. The most noticeable difference, however, is the different delivery of the vocals from Spider One. Before he became the huge-sounding “When Worlds Collide” monolithic man, Spider might have been referred to as a poor man’s Anthony Kiedis. That is not to undermine Spider, but his more often spoken and “unsung” delivery feels very reminiscent of the early Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The twenty songs that make up the good, the bad & the ugly vol. 1 illustrate the development process, and map the collective sound of the band starting from a Heavy Alternative Rock focus to a Nu-Metal band. Borrowing from the up-and-coming bands at the time, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, and Spider’s brother’s bands, White Zombie/Rob Zombie, PM5K embody a full range of musical flavors. Highlight tracks are “City of the Dead,” “In the Eye,” and the live version of “What If.” The most daring moment on the disk is the tackling of Bjork’s “Army of Me.” Not that you would know it was Bjork, listening to it here, but being such an unusual choice for a cover definitely gets kudos.

As with most retrospective albums, the fare is served up to a pre-ordained group: those greedy collectors who have to have everything and anything ever released by their favorite artists. However, with the good, the bad and the ugly vol. 1, there really is a fresh face to the music. This is a brave outing from a band that has staked its fame on over-the-top productions with its hard-hitting music. Serious collectors and casual fans alike will definitely want to have a copy of this on their shelves. And those of you wanting something new, wanting a taste of what was in the air in Boston, USA in the early 1990s, well this might intrigue you too.


  • Jeremy Juliano

    Jeremy was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been involved with and has been following the Metal scene since the early 1980’s. He started out his Metal journey with heavy doses of Maiden, Accept, and Saxon. And in recent years, he has enjoyed the new age of Metal with bands like Hammerfall, Edguy, and Nightwish, to name a few.

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