Los Angeles metallers Pounder’s 2019 album, Uncivilized, was voted the third best album of that year by Sentinel Daily, bested in the final countdown only by Queensrÿche and Devin Townsend; that means that – in the eyes of this magazine at least – they’ve got a mountain to climb with their new album Breaking The World to live with the legacy they’ve created – have they succeeded?
It’s hard to say definitively one way or the other. Whilst there are no moments of outright brilliance like Red Hot Leather or Long Time No Love – the standouts from Uncivilized – the overall feel of Breaking The World is that of a band that’s found it’s place in the world and is now building on the foundations it has laid out. This is a solid album – not short on moments of excitement like the superb Hard Road To Home – an album that consolidates rather than trailblazes.
The basic premise is the same as it’s predecessor – the celebration of metal’s eighties glory years – but the band, like their close musical cousins Haunt and Night Demon, aren’t afraid to throw in the odd bit of synth to break things up a bit and add a bit of texture. The title track sees the band at their most prosaic (mixing Manowar and Anvil in roughly equal proportion), whilst Never Forever melds Dokken and Y&T in rousing, if slightly ragged fashion.
Vocalist Matt Harvey and guitar partner Tom Draper know exactly what it is that gets eighties metal fans salivating, and their dual harmonies are uniformly excellent throughout the album; Draper once again proves himself to be a fine lead guitarist when called upon to take centre stage.
So, Breaking The World isn’t quite the incendiary statement that Uncivilized was, then, but Pounder do re-emphasise just how much potential they have on this new album. Never less than entertaining – and often hair raisingly brilliant – they’ve put together another set of air guitar-inspiring mayhem here that should keep their fans happy for the forseeable future.
Breaking The World releases on January 29th.