WAHAAAYYYYYY!!!! In this line of work you come across a lot of chancers, a lot of characters of limited talent willing to flog a dead horse for all it is worth, and a lot of old hacks hanging around in the hope of one last payday. The ongoing boom in eighties metal nostalgia has been a particular magnet for these individuals, both veterans from the time or johnny-come-lately ‘ironists’ looking to cash in on styles and mores they secretly despise yet publicly adore. In the eighties we had a word for these people – posers.
And posers must die.
Which leads us to Pounder, the new vehicle for Chuck Schuldiner’s greatest fan, Matt Harvey. Matt, you’ll remember, fronts the more-Death-than-Death Gruesome as well as the excellent Exhumed and Expulsion. Ostensibly Pounder are another retro/nostalgia act, promising a rocket ride through the archives of everything that was great about metal from 1981-1988. Nothing more, nothing less. No modern twists, no post-modern explanations, dissertations or indeed inspiration. Just metal. Plain and simple.
And they deliver.
That’s right. They deliver in spades… There’s no side to Pounder, no snidey sniggering at how primitive we all were way back when. On Uncivilized they deal out the metal in rousing, inspirational but most importantly sincere style and there is not one second on this album that won’t please the denim-clad faithful who were there at the time.
Speed metal anthems like Fuck Off And Die, the superb We Want the Night and Red Hot Leather are expected but no less welcome, but the real surprise here is the staggeringly good Long Time No Love, wherein the band, bullet belted and spandexed to a man, manage to recreate the glorious mid-eighties hard rock sound of bands like Y&T and Coney Hatch to an absolute tee. Indeed once you’ve finished building a new cardboard guitar whilst listening to Red Hot Leather you’ll be able to brandish it like a good ‘un on Long Time No Love, which is indeed the perfect accompaniment to any eighties-inspired reverie. This, somehow, is the real deal, thirty five years after the fact.
Harvey’s voice strains in some of the more grandiose moments, which somehow adds to the period accuracy (don’t tell me you weren’t aware of the vocal limitations of many NWoBHM bands back in the day…), but his dual axe work with English compadre Tom Draper is spot on time after time after time. And then it’s spot on again. If the solos on We Want the Night don’t spark some sort of idiotic twitching in your upper limbs I fear there’s no hope for your shattered soul.
Retroactivity may largely be a crime in the eyes of today’s young – but let’s face it in thirty years time are they going to be still getting hot under the collar about tattooed ninnies like Bring Me the Horizon? I very much doubt it – but for the rest of us, those who still enjoy a melodic air to accompany our fistbang mania, albums like Uncivilised are going to kick off a riotous fun time till they fuse us to our Zimmer frames and cart us away to the funny farm. And long may that be the case.
Hail Pounder, and everything you represent.
Uncivilized is unleashed on February 22nd. Get your battle jackets ready.