Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

November 6, 2010

Powerglove ~ Saturday Morning Apocalypse

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Style: power metal, instrumental, video game metal, progressive
Label: E1 Music
Year: 2010
Home: Boston

Members:Chris Marchiel ~ guitar
Nick Avila ~ bass
Bassil Silver ~ drums
Alex Berkson ~ guitar

Guest: Tony Kakko ~ b. vocals

The title pretty much gives everything away. Remember those Saturday morning cartoons you watched as a kid? Well, now you can relive them. Or, more properly you can relive some of them them through their soundtracks ... interpreted by Powerglove with an onslaught of wailing electric guitars peddling out more notes than you ever remember being in the Inspector Gadget theme song. Early on in this blog I reviewed the whole odd concept of video game music with Jim Cook's Legend Of Zelda Metal Soundtrack that has sprouted in the last decades. Saturday Morning Apocalypse may not be video game music but the concept of taking a 40 second pop culture theme song, potentially first composed on a synthesizer, & transforming it into a 3-4 minute heavy metal guitar onslaught ... well, they're close cousins. Anyways, the first Powerglove album was all video game music. My feelings on this style haven't changed much in the months since & all that I said about Jim Cook applies to Powerglove. Briefly, I wrote, bands like Dragonforce which have been inspired by the sounds & musical approaches of the video games they grew up on I find more interesting than those group trying to play the actual music they hear coming from the games. Albeit, the uniqueness of the idea interests me, let alone the challenge inherent in adapting such music to a band format. But, to take a 30 second sound clip & turn it into a full-length song often means the end result suffers from major repetition. Rock music already has this problem but the lack of lyrics made it more obvious. While, if you're not familiar with the source material ... well, Wierd Al has some great satires but if you don't know that "Fat" is based on "Bad" you've pretty much not just missed the joke but it's hard to understand just how good "Fat" essentially is both as it's own song & as an interpretation. Well, maybe you can get how good it is, but not in the bigger context. The difference between Powerglove & Jim Cook is that I've actually seen them in concert, opening for Dragonforce, of course. At the time I didn't know what they were about & didn't recognize a lot of the songs, I'll plead my ignorance of video games & wondered about what type of concert I was attending seeing the more than a few fatherly chaperones standing tall in the crowd of some rather young lads around me. It's one thing to watch a band like Kiss, Lordi or Alice Cooper, with all their make-up & over-the-top characters, but to see a band dressed like video game characters in styrofoam loin shoulder pads is a bit off-putting when you don't expect it. But, having said that, what I can't say is these guys lack talent. For what they are doing Powerglove do it with great energy & ability. They got a fun look that matches the music & the audience loves it & from what I saw they have a good time, too. & really, there is something fun imagining yourself in their shoes on stage. Powerglove has taken minor songs & fleshed them out into full & often interesting arrangements that may at times repeat too much but what they've attempted is a challenge that I dare anyone to do better with. What also makes this particular album exciting is pretty much everyone will know the movies & tv shows they've drawn upon which immediately pushes the nostalgia button. Themes include the previously mentioned Inspector Gadget, Transformers with an interesting acoustic opening, Pokemon, Jonny Quest, Winnie The Pooh, The Simpsons, The Flintstones, 1989's Batman, X-Men & Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, with the last three being highlights. Really, I know you want to hear a thrash metal version of the Simpsons theme. Who doesn't? & yes, you're drooling to hear Winnie The Pooh, too, I know it. Go ahead. Powerglove provide a good ride for the kid inside.

CONCERT REVIEW: The Fillmore at Irving Plaza, NYC, Dec 2008. Watching from the balcony as they warmed the crowd up for Dragonforce it took a couple songs before I figured out what they were about, at which the mosh pit with crazy with youthful abandon & all the fathers below me were wondering where the good old days of music when as they unintentionally got pushed around. Fast & furious solos felt to me more like technical showing off in a Yngmie sort of way since I didn't know the melody lines it was all based on. But, even though I was out of my element, these guys were one of the most cheerful heavy metal band I've seen having nothing but fun on stage & clearly enjoying it when the audience recognized a particular song. It's also great seeing a metal band turn to something other than the traditional demonic imagery, too.

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