It must be hard having an older brother who is more famous than you. For Powerman 5000’s Spider One – younger brother of the legendary musician and film-maker Rob Zombie – it has meant constantly playing second fiddle in the rock press. Powerman have received some absolutely scathing reviews over the years – and most of them unfair. They’ve recorded some great work. Their ‘Blood-Splat Rating System’ full length (reissued as ‘Mega! Kung Fu Radio’ with the addition of a couple of earlier EP tracks) featured some cracking songs, even if it showed signs of a band still in need of some refinement. 1999’s mega-selling ‘Tonight The Stars Revolt’ remains an alternative metal classic; its riff heavy and hook heavy style could easily go head to head against Rob’s best work, and its sci-fi obsessed lyrics really helped to give PM5K a strong identity. Had the follow up ‘Anyone For Doomsday?’ not been pulled from release at the eleventh hour, the band’s quest for world domination would have been assured, but with shifting line-ups and varying musical styles dominating the next couple of releases, Powerman became very much more of a cult band.
Nuclear Winter isn’t a band, but the work of just one man. Even with the usage of programmed drums throughout his 2020 release ‘StormScapes’, Zimbabwean metal musician Gary Stautmeister creates as much intensity as a full compliment of musicians. He’s also been smart enough to program those drums in such a way that they never grate, or worse, make his recordings sound cheap. By using them in a way that creates a genuine mechanical tension, it gives this EP the kind of edge you’d find from an extreme industrial band, or perhaps a technical death metal act that are over keen on the use of bass drum triggers.
On this EP, Israel’s Nihilistic Legion shows how much noise a one-man band can make. Playing absolutely everything, the mysteriously named Tohu fuses classic death metal sounds with a touches of grindcore and other extremities to create something incredibly forceful. The five songs – four originals and one cover – shows off an artist whom has utter conviction in his art, but production wise, these tracks aren’t necessarily shown at their best. In fact, the chosen mix is so claustrophobic and abrasive in places, it can be rather hard to pick out the finer points of the sound. It doesn’t make for especially easy listening…but maybe that’s deliberate.
The word “cinematic” often gets bandied around when it comes to industrial and electronic music. It was rarely more relevant, though, than as a suitable adjective for Swiss band H E X, who’ve mixed a heavy, post rock style with an epic, almost industrial sound on their new single ‘Collider’.
On their earlier releases, Zeit’s music has an insanely intense quality. It’s heavy, cold and deliberately under-produced – everything you’d expect from a German depressive black metal/noise rock trio – but at the same time, those recordings push black metal into interesting and occasionally industrial climes. Listening to those EPs, you could wonder what depths of despair led to the creation of such confronting noise.