There are so many bands out there who want to be the next Pantera, Down and Black Label Society and in doing so sound unoriginal and generic. Powerstroke are such a band and although their latest album entitled Awaken the Beast may be jammed full of groove polluted thrust, the songs present on it can only be described as mediocre. Through ten pummelling, driving southern rock songs, that combines foot stomping guitar lines and weighty vocal parts, Powerstroke show that although they are a musically motivating band, there songs lack the catchiness and power to really put them up in the big league with their forefathers.
There are some great moments for the guitar parts that really make you want to stamp your feet and bang your head. The dual guitar assaults lead by the two headed riff monster that is Maarten Geeraerts and Frederiek Nuyt are the real driving force behind Awaken the Beast giving songs such as ‘Centrefold’, ‘Hero Tolerance’ and ‘Point of View’ an almost thrash like approach to them. Their diversity and style really adds different elements and styles into the mix combining sleazy blues like licks, punchy, in your face thrash metal riffs and soaring NWOBHM solo’s to form this well rounded sound.
There are a couple of songs that stand out as being possible “singles” on the album. There aren’t many moments that really shine on Awaken the Beast but the two tracks ‘Good For Nothing’ and ‘The Power and the Strength’ have a real fire and energy about them, making them the two most memorable tracks on the album. The combination of both harsh and clean vocals, crushingly heavy and melodic guitar riffs and ever altering rhythms adds a real progressive element to these two songs, adding an extra dimension to Powerstroke’s music showing that they are extremely talented musicians and songwriters and proving that if they put their mind to it they could make it big.
The album can get a bit monotonous and tedious at points and you start to hear variations of the same riff, recycled choruses and chord progression found in different songs. Powerstroke need to start writing more diverse and different songs, maybe even experimenting with different genres so to fully push the possibility of writing a kick ass song – for as it stands at the moment they only have a few belting tracks in their repertoire and the rest is to put it bluntly… Filler.
Powerstroke have laid out the basis of a prosperous career, writing two mind blowing southern rock anthems and a few good tracks on the side. Hopefully with their next album we will see them reach their full potential and come up with something that will have us talking about them for years to come! [5/10]