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Pounder: Breaking the World

Pounder's second full-length album is a modern NWOBHM inspired romp, rife with songs about kicking ass and taking names. While Pounder are clearly a band that strives to deliver metal that harkens back to the early 80's, there's also a touch of speed and aggression that undeniably creeps in from all of the members' participation in extreme metal acts such as Carcass and Exhumed. These little flourishes and influences do a lot to elevate Breaking the World out of the muck and mire where a lot of retro/revival bands tend to dwell.

Pounder are a three piece band in that there are only 3 full time members, while the drums are handled by guest/session musicians. All three guys deliver the instrumental goods, with screaming guitars and thumping loud bass. Vocalist/guitarist Matt Harvey's vocals are rough and gritty, and while serviceable, he does sound as though he's pushing his abilities to their limit on the mic. He's a bit pitchy and raw in parts, but he certainly gets bonus points for his enthusiasm and energy.

Sonically, there's a surprising range to the tracks on Breaking the World. While the majority of the album has a vibe akin to a lovechild from Mercyful Fate and Saxon on speed, there are some tracks that have an almost mid 80's hair metal catchiness and delivery to them. Take the tracks "Long Road to Home", with its melodic sing-a-long gang vocal chorus and "Hard City", which while having frequent outbursts of double-kick drums and tasty guitar licks also features some riffs and choruses that would sound right at home on Whitesnake's self-titled album.

The album is bookended by its two fastest tracks, "Spoils of War" and "Deadly Eyes". These two songs are chock full of that old-school British metal energy with a shot in the arm provided by a very noticeable Germanic speed metal element. The riffs bounce back and forth from an early Helloween-ish delivery with blistering 16th note flurries and harmonies to a more chunky and chordal approach that reminds one of early Def Leppard if they were all cokeheads. It works wonderfully and is evocative of the era of music they were clearly worshipping while crafting Breaking the World.

And while Pounder are absolutely a band that evokes the past, as previously mentioned there are moments that come out of left field that are both unexpected and welcome. The synthwave touches in "Never Forever" and the epic metal thumping and pounding of the title track show a diversity and song-writing chops that bands of this style can be sorely lacking. And while these moments are laced throughout the album, it's still very cohesive and never gives up its retro party metal energy for very long.

Breaking the World is a fun and headbang inducing romp. An album that is full of all the tropes and signatures that make old-school metal great, while delivering enough aggression and modern touches to keep it from feeling dated like a cheap imitation. The hooks and melodies are golden, the guitars and bass are on fire, and Pounder have delivered 34 minutes of righteous power and glory.


Track list:
1. Spoils of War
2. Breaking the World
3. Hard Road to Home
4. Never Forever
5. Hard City
6. Give Me Rock
7. Deadly Eyes

Added: March 15th 2021
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Score:
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 406
Language: english

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