February 20, 2011

Music Review: Powerglove - Saturday Morning Apocalypse

Many (many) years ago I would get up on Saturday mornings and watch hours of cartoons. Those were the days, of that there is no doubt. Those were the days when networks actually programmed giant blocks of cartoons. Good luck finding that today. Modern Saturday morning television is a wasteland. Many of thse shows I watched in the 1980's and 1990's had some pretty cool theme songs that would always get stuck on my head and helped urge myself and others like me into annoying frenzies of toy wanting desires to the chagrin of our parents. In any case those days have long since passed. With Powerglove it looks like a version of that love lives on to the joy of geek everywhere.

Powerglove is a power metal band that has taken its inspiration from video games and cartoons. This is proof that metal can be fun without being satirical, that metal can be technically sound and impressive, that metal can induce smiles and a fun vibe. Powerglove shows that you needn't take yourself too seriously and that you can revel in the past. Seriously, this music is impressive and a whole lot of fun. Perfect for a band that has stated that they take themselves and their image not seriously at all, but take the music absolutely seriously. Works for me.

My first exposure to this sort of thing came more than a decade ago with the compilation release Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits. This was a collection of cartoon tunes by popular artists like Matthew Sweet, Helmet, The Ramones, Sublime, and The Violent Femmes. They played songs from Scooby Doo, Speed Racer, The Jetsons, Ren & Stimpy, and Spiderman. I played that thing to death. Now, while this is a similar concept it is vastly different in execution. For one thing, this is a single band and not a compilation.

Powerglove take their name from an old school Nintendo accessory. What? You've never heard of it? Sadly (luckily?) I never had one. It was a glove controller for which only two games were ever made. It kind of flopped. Here the name will live on in infamy as a representation of cool geek music.

This release, their second full length album, is chock full of great tunes. A few of them I am not all that familiar with, but that doesn't diminish the awesomeness that it is. The songs I am not familiar with are the two Pokemon songs and the one from Winnie the Pooh (that one doesn't ring a bell at all). On the other hand, I adore some of these songs.

Right up near the top has to be X-Men. I loved this cartoon, the new with Morph and the lineup that was in line with the comics of the early/mid-1990's. Then there is Batman from the animated series, how I love that show and this is a great take on it. Rounding out my favorites is Transformers, how can you not love it? Especially with the moody acoustic opening with the sound of rain falling.

Also included are the theme songs for The Simpsons, Inspector Gadget, The Flintstones, and The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. To give the big screen a little love you have "This is Halloween" from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Powerglove filter all of these songs through a technically precise power metal filter. The resulting tunes retain the catchiness that marked the originals while giving it a delicious metal coating that would make thaem at home next to bands like Symphony X, Hammerfall, and Sonata Arctica. Speaking of Sonata Arctica, their lead singer, Tony Kakko, appears on "The Simpsons" providing vocal harmony, and on "Gotta Catch em All" from Pokemon, providing a voice for the lyrics.

Wow. This is really a lot of fun. Most original? No. Greatest metal? No. It doesn't have to be. The band clearly puts a lot of time into their adaptations, and it shows. At the same time they don't sugarcoat (or maybe they do) what they are doing and it is clear they are trying to have some fun. It certainly is that.

Highly Recommended.

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