Matt Harvey can do anything. He can play goregrind (EXHUMED), thrash (DEKAPITATOR), death/grindcore (EXPULSION) or death as a DEATH tribute (GRUESOME). He can also most likely fix a space shuttle, rewire a bomb with his brainpower, ride an ostrich while playing ping pong or even shoot the wings off of a gnat from 57 feet. But most recently, he can be the vocalist/guitarist for old-school heavy metal band POUNDER. With second album "Breaking The World", Matt, along with lead guitarist Tom Draper, bassist Alejandro Corredor and a couple of session drummers have created an 80's metal masterpiece that truly captures the sound without sounding completely like a retro band. I mean, Jesus F. Christ, what can't this guy do?
'Spoils Of War' kicks it off with some dual guitars that could easily have fit right in with classics from the early 80's. None of this glam shit that dominated the late end of the decade. This is down and dirty heavy metal with a chorus that chants "We came, we saw, we conquered, we ride" as if the band itself is yelling at us from their Harleys. 'Breaking The World' is some NWOBM goodness with riffs that could peel the paint off the bathroom walls of the club they're jamming in. The thunderous drums in 'Hard Road To Home' seem like they can be heard from the streets of the Sunset Strip in the days when bands were hungry and slobbering for recognition.
The backing vocals are truly fucking glorious. And wait...there's keyboards in 'Never Forever'. I can almost imagine the MTV video on Headbanger's Ball. The track moves on to a harder sound as Matt's vocals are as good as any band from this era. And girls would be creaming in their thongs as the band sings "Neverrr Foreverrrr!" while looking in their eyes. Even the goddamn throbbing bass in "Hard City" brings me back. The fact that these songs can stand on their own while throwing back to the 80's is an accomplishment (as they sound both modern and classic at the same time). The anthemic "Give Me Rock" could almost have been written by White Lion. "Deadly Eyes" wraps it all up with a sort of thrashy, almost Paul Di'Anno eclipse of mind-melting metal.
Look, I'd buy a Matt Harvey-fronted album if he belched for 35 minutes straight. But fuck, POUNDER is pure metal in all its glory, in all its old-school riffing, in all its masturbatory hooks and clean vocals. (Yeah, I know, just fucking roll with it, okay?) I have yet to see the frontman do any wrong. He knows his metal and he fucking proves it with every band and every album.
- David Simonton