Spider One has always had a vision of living a rock ‘n’ roll life outside the shadow of his uber-famous older brother, Rob Zombie. Not that either has claimed sibling rivalry, but Spider One himself will tell you there was a fear factor after his band, POWERMAN 5000, hit platinum with 1999’s “Tonight the Stars Revolt! “ It wasn’t so much that POWERMAN 5000 could’ve been dismissed as a nu-metal flash in the pan as it was that Dreamworks Records went belly-up once 2003’s “Transform” arrived. Spider One was looking in from the outside, while Rob Zombie‘s career continued to climb upwards in both music and film.
What you have to love about Spider One and POWERMAN 5000 is the will to keep rocking, no matter how the group is viewed as the hard rock climate changes. This does mean changing the sound frequently in order to maintain a fresh perspective, be it the punk grind of 2006’s “Destroy What You Enjoy” or the electro pound of 2009’s “Somewhere on the Other Side of Nowhere”. POWERMAN 5000‘s last album, “Builders of the Future” was so spot-on with what it was and is now, it seems anti-climactic the unit took so long to drop its latest record, the quick jabbing “New Wave”.
“Footsteps and Voices” is not your usual POWERMAN 5000 opener, though it’s certainly noisy. Electro huffed and rapped out by Spider One with an agro march to the choruses, “Footsteps and Voices” is sure to fire up many fans and annoy others. However, it settles in your ears, though, it’s merely a limbering up for the big heave of “Hostage”, a pulse-pumping, jive-stepping rocker yielding a stellar shuffle step and blaring guitars. It’s a rambunctious, thrusting habitat Spider One joyously proliferates within.
Even “Hostage” seems like a preliminary heat round to the delicious throb of “Sid Vicious in a Dress”, as much of a swaggering, instant classic as its successor, “David Fucking Bowie”. The latter is hardly as offensive as some may initially take it. It’s a partied-up, hip-shaking tribute to the late David Robert Jones that has enough reticence to tip a cap to “Space Oddity” on the breakdown with the sobering epithet, “when ground control is all you know, there ain’t nowhere to go…”.
The cheeky “Cult Leader” is likewise puffed with a zesty blast of Ziggy, a brisk, natty and swinging glam rocker rudely gulped by the brooding ballad, “No White Flags”. Spider One lets it hang out here, one of POWERMAN 5000‘s most maturely written numbers, considering the STOOGES-esque bedlam of “Thank God” and the f-bombed rap rawk of “Die on Your Feet” thereafter. “Thank God I’m not God”, Spider One gnashes repeatedly on “Thank God”, which does leave a contemplative echo even when he’s telling you to get a life a couple songs later.
While not as concentrated as POWERMAN 5000‘s previous two albums, “New Wave” is a lot of fun and it gleefully finishes as briskly at it begins. Spider One is more sci-fi than brute horror, and more evil disco than devil mosh. He’s never held himself accountable to Rob Zombie‘s stature, and thus retains the freedom to knock you over the head with short, tight songs that are all done by the time you remember to wipe the sweat off. “New Wave” is over so damn fast you’re silently commanded to play it again out of fear you missed something. The best part is, most of these songs demand repeat.