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I clearly remember ordering this EP through a magazine advertisement as a teen, and I was more than happy with the material. This was of course before they released their cult classic album Absolute Power and made a cameo in the Nicholas Cage film Wild at Heart.
This was Midwest US thrash/speed metal with a very urban, New York feel to it. I'd compare their music to Anthrax and perhaps a little Overkill, but they also have some similarities to bands like Laaz Rockit. There are four tracks on the EP, beginning with "Terminator". The verse/chorus is pretty average, but there is a great breakdown in the song that starts with a guitar effect then a catchy mosh sequence. "Hunter Seeker" is up next, a decent track with some semi-complex riffing and catchy verse vocals lines, though the chorus is pretty bland. Third is the cover of the Ramones' "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment", given a decent thrashing rendition. The final song on the EP is "Blind Leading the Blind" is an exercise in crazy speed metal charisma, with a few technical thrash chops and dual speed melodies near the climax.
The mix here is pretty typical of its days, the vocals strike right through the music yet you can hear the crisp guitars blazing and just barely the distorted bass bouncing below. Joel Dubay's vocals were the typical high pitched speed metal style of the 80s but he could put a mean sneer on them when needed. The material is just a lead-up to Absolute Power, which has better songs than what you'll find here, but if you're a thrash metal collector and purist you will enjoy these songs, including the cover song. Speaking of covers, the comic book art was a nice touch.
Powermad is one of those bands that should have been big, or at least far more successful than they were. Their The Madness Begins... EP is a solid example of the band’s unappreciated talent and a generally memorable romp through underground 80’s thrash.
Heavy is the best word to describe this quick little EP. The distortion is quite scooped and modern for the time period and the drumming is pretty powerful. The opening riffs of “Terminator” are pretty cool and serve as a fitting prelude to the entire album. It’s generally as fast as it is heavy. Typical thrash metal, but unique enough to keep it interesting. The odd time yet killer riffing of “Hunter Seeker” serves as a prime example. The vocalist, Joel Dubay, is pretty good as well, with a broad range and great tone. His wailing starts to get a little old (especially on the last track), but his actual singing more than makes up for it. All of the songs are quality, one being a Ramones cover made far heavier, and there are no weak spots.
If you listen to a lot of thrash metal, chances are this won’t really blow your mind, but it makes for a decent listen anyway. It’s pretty cool for what it is and definitely worth hearing if you have the opportunity.
I like to visit in the second-hand stores. You can get good stuff very cheap (Cradle of Filth T-shirt for instance). People tend to sell their record collections (creepy idea huh?) with insignifant prices. One day, I found this Powermad ep. It was cheap, so I took it, partly because it was the only metal lp alongside with Bonfire lp (which I bought too) in the whole joint!
When I got home, I started to study the lp more carefully. The cover looked like that this was a speed/thrash record. The sticker warning about the music's intensity (neck braces may be required) increased my suspicions. I played the record and look what I found:
There are only four tracks on the album and one of them is cover. The ep starts with curiosly named "Terminator". The songs is ordinary thrash song. Nothing new... Except the cymbals are too loud, they make this somehow messy. "Hunter Seeker" continues the intriguing naming tradition. It's more solid and slower than the "Terminator" in the start. The ordinary thrash song is revealed under it's stylish name, except it's overall slower. The song has somekind of lust for power.
The next cookie is a Ramones-cover "Gimme gimme shock treatment". Punk influences can be heard under the noise. I wouldn't have recognized this as a Ramones cover, because it doesn't sound like one. The song ends before it was really started. "Blinding leading blind" is the most fastest and aggressive track. It is also my favorite.
Powermad's problem isn't that it can't play or that they won't write good tunes. Their problem is that everything has been heard at some point. Their songs are just too ordinary to bee memorable.