Saturday Morning Apocalypse

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Boston-based instrumental power metal band Powerglove are absurd, but they know it. They record metal versions of video game and cartoon theme songs, after all. Where their previous release, Metal Kombat for the Mortal Man, was all video game songs (as was their debut EP, Total Pwnage), this one offers an array of theme songs from cartoons the members grew up watching, including X-Men, Pokémon, Transformers, Inspector Gadget, The Flintstones, and The Simpsons. In blowing these pieces out from their on-air 30- to 60-second running times to three and a half or even four minutes, much has to be added, and what's been riveted onto the original cartoon superstructure is lots and lots of DragonForce-esque wankery, including guitar and keyboard solos and even bass breaks. There's a Batman theme here, but it's not the one from the 1960s TV series; it's Danny Elfman's theme from the 1989 movie, and the group's heavy metal arrangement actually winds up being less foreboding and ominous than the original, scored for full orchestra. There are two songs with vocals: the Simpsons theme and a disc-ending second version of the music from Pokémon. In both cases, the voice belongs to Tony Kakko of Finnish power metal band Sonata Arctica, a man (and a band) keenly aware of the ridiculousness of power metal's instrumental excess and smiley-face approach to metal, and happy to revel in it. This album is fun while it lasts. Ultimately, though, Powerglove's mastery of their instruments is impressive, and/but their modus operandi is good for a few giggles, and little more.

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