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An innovative American speed metal band based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Powermad arrived at the tail end of the thrash scene's first wave. The Twin Cities quartet's punitive blend of neck-snapping riffs, caustic lyrics, and soaring NWOBHM-inspired power metal evoked both the kinetic assault of the "Big Four" (Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer) and the melodic punch of NWOBHM bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. The band's 1989 debut long-player, the critically acclaimed Absolute Power, would go on to achieve cultlike status in the heavy metal community -- it was only fitting that the band would be featured in David Lynch's equally singular 1990 film Wild at Heart -- but it would be 17 years before Powermad would return to the stage, and over 25 years before they would release their long-awaited sophomore album. Formed in 1984 by vocalist/guitarist Joel DuBay and guitarist Bill Hill, drummer Adrian Liberty and bassist Jeff Litke soon joined, and the band released an eponymous EP of demos in 1986 on Combat Records. After a second demo was recorded, Hill left the group and was replaced by Todd Haug. Two years later, they inked a deal with Reprise and issued another EP, The Madness Begins, which was promoted in popular metal magazines of the era via an advertisement that readers could clip and mail in for a free copy -- the music video for lead single "Terminator" aired frequently on MTV. The full-length Absolute Power arrived the following year, but despite glowing reviews, a catchy single ("Nice Dreams"), a cameo appearance in Wild at Heart, and a huge vocal push from hardcore fans and industry supporters, commercial success eluded Powermad, and they disbanded shortly after its release. Powermad reconvened in 2007 as a touring entity with three-quarters of their most well-known lineup intact and Soilwork's Dirk Verbeuren behind the kit. In 2011, they released their first taste of new material in 22 years via the downloadable single "Souls Descending." That song, along with nine others, appeared on 2015's Infinite, which saw Powermad continuing to explore new metal subgenres (death, doom, and progressive) while maintaining the relentless, thrash-centric attack of their debut.
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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