My best friend in high school was one year younger than I was. I want to say I met him in my German class where I was more about messing with the teacher, Herr Van Halen or whatever his name was, rather than learning a second language.
I have tons of memories of us hanging out and just encompassing a true friendship as teens.
One of the things that we both had in common was our love of music. We could talk about bands for hours and if there was one thing I was always jealous of, it was his musical talents that I seemingly lacked.
He and I once went on a ride with a homeless man who wore a Sea World hat the projects of Cleveland so he could “pick something up for a friend.” In exchange he bought us a bunch of 40 oz. beers with our money and wound up keeping the change.
It’s a memory I’ll never forget, especially the part were my friend and I were laying down in the back of the pick-up truck’s bed through the crazy adventure because there was no room for us up front. Ahh youth…
A couple of years after that memorable evening, my friend told me at a random afternoon driveway party that he was going to move to California to live with his father and look into the music world. As shocked as I was, I understood he needed to do this and wished him all the luck in the world.
You know how things go. You grow up. You become distant, not on purpose of course, but because life gets in the way. We did our best to keep in touch, but truth be told, I have not seen him in over 20 years now. Thanks to the Internet and smart phones, we touched base here and there and i knew he was doing well and following his passion.
Where am I going with this? There’s a point, I promise…
Just a few weeks ago, my pal reached out to me to tell me about something he has been working on for a while now and wanted me to check it out and let me know my thoughts on it. He told me he has been heavily involved with PowerFlo, a band full of musicians from the 90s that we obsessed over as teenagers.
One could say I freaked out when I heard this. Still, I needed to hear it for myself. To say I was proud of his accomplishment is an understatement. Of course I told him I would check it out and offer up a review of sorts.
So I guess here we go…
PowerFlo is a supergroup metal/rap outfit from LA. Consisting of Cypress Hill’s Sen Dog, Biohazard’s Billy Graziadei, former Fear Factory bassist/guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers, Downset’s Rogelio Lozano, and Fernando Schaefer, one could say this band is full of talent.
This group of seasoned musicians perfectly took their areas of expertise and infused metal and rock with hip-hop for an album that any fan of the “Judgement Night” soundtrack would approve of.
The album was produced by my pal Josh Lynch and also Graziadei. It was mixed by Jay Baumgardner, and was mastered by Maor Applebaum at Maor Applebaum Mastering and released on New Damage Records.
Opening the album with a cocked gun (literally), “My M.O.” did not disappoint More of a hardcore track over rap/metal, I loved the brutal drumming and heavy guitar riffs. Sen Dog fits in perfectly with the rest of the gang and just goes berserk in the middle of the track with his unforgettable rap flow style.
“Resistance” followed with a slow start reminiscent of a funeral thanks to a slow bell being rung, but just exploded out of no where. Sen Dog shined on this track and pretty much proved he’s beyond a rap artist.
“Where I Stay” had this Fear Factory Remanufacture likeness with the electronics incorporated into the track. Sen Dog has no problem taking his style and mixing it into the song. This hard homage to LA threw me off with the “na na na” back vocals, but after a few listens it just worked. I loved the thrash breakdown half way through.
The punk rock me absolutely adored “Crushing That.” Yeah, it is mostly rap/rock, but think of what would happen if Public Enemy and Rise Against did a collaboration.
I found myself getting into “The Grind”, a full-on rager of a track. Reminding me of Biohazard in a good way with plenty of group screaming, Sen Dog just flowed perfectly throughout.
“Victim of Circumstance” was just insane. The band really killed it together on this one.
“Made It This Way” had Sen Dog singing / screaming more than rapping showing how diverse his talent is. This track was just bad ass.
“Finish The Game” was a positive, forcefully charged song about getting things done without giving up. I almost wondered if there was a hidden nod to Hatebreed on this track. Not complaining here at all.
Ending the album was the powerful “Start A War”. This track was all about swinging fists and not asking questions at all. I could not help of think of Chuck D and Anthrax on this one.
There really is no sleeper of a track on this album. It started strong and ended full-force. My only vice is that it clocked in at just over 30 minutes and I really wanted more.
I’ll say it – PowerFlo is what I expected Prophets of Rage to sound like. Where the former Rage guys still have yet to impress me completely, PowerFlo has straight up delivered a solid album to my ears that has been worthy of multiple listens.
Perhaps not nearly as brutal as the new Body Count was, this album is still heavy, poignant, and should not be sat on. I am really hoping these guys hit the road soon as I would love to see what they sound like live.
When you hear metal musicians from the 90s came together with a 90s hip-hop artist, it is easy to dismiss the whole idea but PowerFlo delivered an excellent release. I look forward to seeing this band succeed.