Powermad has been called "An innovative and often forgotten speed metal band...who infused progressive metal styles and European styles into abstract American speed metal." The band's intricate riff formulations were heavily influnced by thrash metal acts like Metallica and Testament, but vocalist Joel Dubay's mixture of singing and high screams was more reminiscent of Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) or Tommy Victor (Prong).
The band formed in 1984 in Minneapolis and released an EP on Combat Records. They subsequently signed to Reprise Records and released The Madness Begins EP in 1988 and Absolute Power in 1989. Despite some critical acclaim and a US tour opening for Overkill after the release of Absolute Power, Powermad never achieved notable success. However, their albums are considered collector's items by collectors of thrash and speed metal music.