Powerhouse – Adrenaline (Self-Released)

Thursday, 13th July 2017
Rating: 7/10

Pushing to get a debut EP on the market in a little over a year since their spring 2016 formation, New Mexico’s Powerhouse aim with Adrenaline to bring energy, heart, and power back into the metal world again. As should any musician proclaiming affinity and dedication for the genre – so let’s see how the quartet fares through these five songs, shall we?

After a few passes, it’s evident that stylistically Powerhouse straddle old school heavy metal and semi-thrash strains as far as riffing, tempos, and melodies. Rhythmic gallops give “Trigger Warning” that early highlight boost, the driving guitar passages and bluesy lead break circular in themes that recall classic Metallica and Judas Priest as reference points (especially the former for some wah-wah pedal action). Cowbell use in several tracks diversifies the standard snare, double bass, thunderous fill drummer playbook – allowing for a groovier than normal approach to certain verses of “Through the Ringer”, something you don’t see a lot of newer bands attempting these days (beyond the impromptu drum solo near the conclusion of said track). Niko Valdez possesses axe fundamentals worthy of mention, subscribing to a complementary melodic lead outlook that this early in the game will be interesting to watch as he gets older.

If there is one area Powerhouse needs slight improvement, it’s expanding on the capabilities of singer Luke Peterson. When he chooses to rear back and hit the higher, paint melting notes a la Rob Halford or Sebastian Bach, he gives it gusto and conviction – and yet there are times when he lays back in mid-range and conventional notes that come off a little too Dave Mustaine-ish monotone, clinical in mirroring the chord progressions. Check out “Crush ‘Em” or opener “Heavier Than Thunder” to understand they have the right tools in place – it probably comes down to more chemistry, rehearsals, and live seasoning to understand that expanding horizons (even in the repetitive chorus department) will ensuring long-term enjoyment for your fans. Props to a vibrant ‘metal’ logo and visually attractive cover, Powerhouse possess promise and potential, and as such Adrenaline could be something to springboard the group in the traditional/semi-thrash community.

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