Powerman 5000 has had almost as many styles as they’ve had albums. Their 1997 debut Mega! Kung Fu Radio drew strong comparisons to White Zombie (which made sense; lead singer Spider is Rob Zombie’s younger brother). In 1999 the band dropped their Zombiesque sound and hopped on the electronica bandwagon with Tonight the Stars Revolt. In 2001 they recorded Anyone for Doomsday? which contained music of both styles, but the lack of a theme kept the album from ever being released. Instead, fans got 2003’s Transform, where Powerman 5000 once again reinvented themselves, this time as a straight up rock and roll band.
Material on Destroy What You Enjoy, the band’s fourth studio album, falls somewhere between rock and punk. Not Green Day/Offspring/Blink 182 punk, but older, 70’s punk. The influence is unmistakable, from the sloppy three-chord changes to the vocals where Spider appears to channel Johnny Rotten. When not punking up the place, the remaining tracks sound like bad versions of Motley Crue Theater of Pain b-sides.
My first exposure to Powerman 5000 was through the song When Worlds Collide off their debut CD (and the Tony Hawk videogame). I thought the band sounded similar to White Zombie but still had its own identity, and I liked it. Hell, even if they sounded exactly like White Zombie it would have been okay with me. In fact, since White Zombie is now defunct and Rob Zombie doesn’t even sound like White Zombie anymore, the position is again available — they should take it! Instead, the band choses to bore us with deep lyrics such as “It’s a wild Wild world / It’s a wild Wild world / It’s a wild Wild world / It’s a wild Wild world” and “Come on, come on, Hey now that’s rockin’, Come on, come on, Hey now that’s rockin’, Come on, come on, Hey now that’s rockin’, Come on, come on, Hey now that’s Rock ‘n Roll.” The second song begins with a sample: “They write very pretty heavy lyrics and I, I agree with most of the stuff that they write.” Even leprechauns driving convertible Volkswagon Jettas with unicorn bumper stickers and rainbow air fresheners wouldn’t consider Destroy What You Enjoy heavy.
Destroy What You Enjoy isn’t completely awful, but it is uninspired and unoriginal. If you are looking for a slightly heavier version of The Offspring, you’ve found one. By trying to distance himself from his older brother’s image, it appears Spider has distanced himself from his fans along the way.
01. Construction Of The Masses Pt. 1
02. Destroy What You Enjoy
03. Return To The City Of The Dead
04. Wild World
07. Now That’s Rock ‘N Roll
08. All My Friends Are Ghosts
09. Walking Disaster
10. Who Do You Think You Are?
11. Construction Of The Masses Pt. 2
12. Miss America
13. Heroes And Villians (Live)