Pounder – Breaking the World (Shadow Kingdom Records)Monday, 1st February 2021
Returning after a successful debut full-length in 2019’s Uncivilized, Pounder are here to remind people that musicians of today can deliver some solid traditional heavy metal with 70’s/80’s influences to a current generation craving axe hooks, in the pocket tempos, and exhilarating choruses tailor made for singalong capacities. Breaking the World contains seven more tracks to add to the ledger of the three-piece – developing catchy arrangements that rival masters from Manowar to Judas Priest, Leatherwolf to Iron Maiden while digging deep for some talent that you may have long forgotten out of the NWOBHM/early US metal movement.
The foundation of Pounder relies on that immediate heavy muscular punch from the musical side. Be it twin guitar-oriented with the militant drum march as a backdrop for the opening sequence of “Spoils of War” or an 80’s synth-wave sequence that allows the guitars to cascade and shimmer in mid-tempo glory for “Never Forever”, the band always make sure to plant that earworm seed into the cerebellum for maximum retention. The rhythm section can produce straight ahead metal tempo work at the drop of a hat, but occasionally flex a bit of that 80’s melodic hard rock flair when called for – complimenting the larger than life vocal harmonies for the magnificent “Hard Road to Home” that may remind many of classic W.A.S.P. or early Twisted Sister in spots. The lead breaks from Tom Draper possess the right bluesy finesse to shred capacities – and double brilliantly with Matt Harvey on many songs, “Hard City” a specific track where the driving rhythm foundation gains increased energy by the twin axe injection moments. Keeping the length of the record very tidy at 34 minutes, it’s easy to put this material on repeat, headbanging away and singing along to the chorus for closer “Deadly Eyes” only to return back to track one without missing a beat.
Traditional metal has been gaining steam in the US thanks to the work of artists like Haunt, Eternal Champion, and Pounder among others. Breaking the World is another record that will make you crack open a refreshing beverage, crank the stereo up to ten, and just let the weight of any stress roll off your back as this is metal to the bone and unforgettable.