Ah the supergroup. From Audioslave to McBusted, they’re a tricky breed. Kind of the musical equivalent of a fantasy football team. A line up of megastars, each famous in their own right, coming together to conquer all. But whereas putting Leo Messi in goal makes complete sense in FF, sometimes supergroups don’t quite add up. A big melting pot of ego, money and loud noises can be an accident waiting to happen. So inspired by the supergroup phenomenon, this week’s Debut Review looks at rap-metal collective Powerflo and their self titled debut.
Powerflo brings together some real heavyweights. Joining Grammy nominated Cypress Hill’s Sen Dog are guitarist Rogelio Lozano (Downset), bassist Christian Olde Wolbers (Fear Factory) , drummer Fernando Schaefer (Worst) and Biohazard vocalist Billy Graziadei. Sounding like a teenage mixtape straight outta early noughties America, Powerflo is an unabashedly swaggering brute of an album. Rife with a confidence fostered from millions in combined album sales, this record bounds from one barnstormer to the next without a second’s rest.
Rap-metal appears to be a dying art. Having reached immense popularity earlier in the century thanks to acts like Rage Against the Machine and System of a Down, now seems like a strange time to resurrect affections. But rather than injecting the genre with 2017 gimmicks, Powerflo stick to what they know. Lozano and Graziadei combine to make powerful yet groovy riffs with ample support from Wolbers’ beefy bass. Sen Dog is arguably Cypress Hill’s most antagonistic rapper and his verses feel at home here.
Highlights include the lead single, Victim of Circumstance. With pulse pounding energy, it’s just asking to be turned up all the way to 11. ‘Start A War’ is a lesson in blending vocals and rap while listeners looking for something a little more cutthroat will enjoy the thrashing ‘Finish the Game’ and ‘Made It This Way.
With such an array of influences and styles on show, one could be forgiven for thinking Powerflo would fall by the wayside like some other rap-metal collectives. Prophets of Rage, I’m looking at you. But this album is a confident and bouncy affair that sounds surprisingly cohesive. Though Powerflo will struggle to turn new ears to the genre, the record is sure to please those nostalgic for the days of snap backs and bad tattoos. Hang on, has anything actually changed?
Kompetes says: 3.5/5
Standout track: Victim of Circumstance
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