American supergroup, Powerflo, have released their debut self titled album. That album, Powerflo was released on the 23rd of June via New Damage Records.
Powerflo are Sen Dog (Cypress Hill) on vocals with Billy Graziadei (Biohazard) also adding vocals and guitars. Fear Factory’s Christian Olde Wolbers adds the bass and Rogelio “Roy” Lozano (Downset) is also on guitars. The final member, on drums, is Fernando Schaefer from Worst.
GBHBL checked out one of the singles from the album a little while back. It is called Victim of Circumstance and you can read that review here. It was a really good, infectious mix of hip hop and metal. Pounding riffs and crunching bass alongside the blasting drums and dual vocal styles made for an bit of a nu-metal sound but one with a raw and purposeful edge.
The album, Powerflo, has 11 tracks on it and is around 35 minutes long. Happily, most of it follows the same template as Victim of Circumstance and keeps things heavy and fast flowing. Unfortunately there are a couple negatives too, for me. There are reasons I listen to metal and not hip hop and so, naturally when I listen to the more hip hop moments, I don’t always love them.
I am fine with rap, I don’t dislike it. I do get a bit bored with lyrics about “don’t mess with me” sort of topics though. Sometimes I find the short sharp burst lyrics can be a little less powerful and passionate than the lyrics from bands like While She Sleeps or Machine Head. Simply because they are short and often have a forced rhyming word at the end of each sentence. Maybe it restricts them?
Because of this, their are occasions where I don’t really like the lyrical content or delivery too much. One such example would be in the track Where I Stay. I just don’t feel lyrics like “I don’t play, coming out of South LA, That’s where I stay, in the midst of the fray”. There are little pockets of lyrics like that over songs that just don’t have too great an impact on me. That’s personal taste for you though right?
Away from that one negative, there are so many positives though. There are some absolutely banging tunes on Powerflo. Even where I don’t find myself loving a song, I often found that there were parts I really enjoyed. Where I Stay is actually one of them. Aside from the chorus lyrics, there is a backing of “na, na, na, naaa” that sounds brilliant. It also has a brutal riff near the end with furiously fast drums that I love.
My M.O. has a wicked drum and guitar intro that builds with help from an air raid siren and then a fast and heavy solo. It is a very heavy track, only really slowing for a bit more groove on the choruses. As it approaches the end it moves into this really rhythmic, bass heavy riff that you can’t help nodding your head to.
Tracks like Resistance and Crushing That are blisteringly quick and heavy tracks. I love the deeper vocals in Crushing That, as well as the awesome high pitched guitar line during the verse. Resistance drops a bit of the groove and goes for all out brutality. A slow bass intro, with bells, tricks you into a false sense of security before it explodes into life. Starting with a chugging riff and some shouts of Resistance, it switches into a ragged and rough sounding riff with lyrics spat out at amazing speed. It switches back to the chugging style for an almost spoken section before we head back to heavy.
The Grind has a wonderful high pitched guitar intro that builds into a more rhythmic track. A slower drum beat builds up into a mid temp one with loads of bass over the verses. The chorus is a bit dull with the same repeated line though. Finish the Game is another really strong, rhythmic number with a particularly cool riff in the chorus. The beat in the verses is vicious with speedy vocal delivery over thrashy drumming.
The drumming on the whole album is exceptional and the intro to the final track, Start a War, is a great example of it. There is a really fast and loose feel to it though the rest of the song doesn’t have the same impact as some of the earlier tracks. It is the same thing with penultimate track Up and Out of Me. There isn’t really anything wrong with it. It has a decent guitar intro and a cool riff in the verse but as we near the end of the album, it starts to feel a little samey now. At least these two tracks do anyway.
Despite there being a few bits I am not sold on, this is still a strong album and a good debut for a band. People more in love with rap than I, will probably adore this. Anyone who appreciates strong riffs, great drumming and passionate vocals will at least appreciate it. A couple tracks that, to me, felt like filler, unfortunately fell as the last two tracks. This makes it feel like a weak ending, or at least weaker than it could have been.
There are some really great songs on here though – Victim of Circumstance, My M.O. and Crushing That are probably my favourites but there are other good ones too. If you are looking for an album full of fresh sounding cross over thrash, look no further. Powerflo have a bucket load of talent in their band so expect to hear much, much more from these guys.
Why not head on over to Powerflo’s Pledge Music campaign and pick up the album. You can also pick up some very reasonably priced merchandise options too. Be sure to check out Powerflo on Facebook and Twitter as well for more information on them and their music.
You can also pick up the singles from the Amazon/Apple links shown below.
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Powerflo by Powerflo (New Damage Records)
The Final Score - 7/10