Pounder – Uncivilized
Reviewed: March, 2019
Released: 2019, Hells Headbangers
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Matt Harvey is a heavy metal Renaissance Man. Whether it’s with his day job in Exhumed, extolling the virtues of Chuck Schuldiner in Gruesome or getting his grind on with Explusion, it’s clear that the dude has a genuine aptitude for all flavors of metal. With his latest side-hustle Pounder, Harvey and crew roll back the clock for a trad-metal/NWOBHM/fist-banging celebration of everything 80’s. UNCIVILIZED is the band’s full length debut, and it’s every bit as good as you’d expect from the guy.
While there’s clearly a wink and a nod across the album, don’t mistake Pounder for a heavier version of Steel Panther. Tracks like “We Want the Night”, “The Evil One”, and the title track are dripping with Di’anno-era Maiden, Diamond Head, and Angel Witch. Big pounding riffs and twin guitar harmonies abound in excess, and the drums power through your speakers as if the ghost of Philthy Animal Taylor was behind the kit (though are actually courtesy of Gruesome alumni Gus Rios). Harvey’s vocals come across like a young, raspy Kai Hansen – sometimes a stretched a little too thin (“Red Hot Leather”), but never without giving 100% in the process. The personal highlight of UNCIVILIZED is the Sunset Strip inspired power ballad, “Long Time No Love”. Intentionally a little schmaltzy, yes, but it’s absolutely on par with what you’d hear on the second half of any pre-’87 Dokken record, gang chorus and all.
“There’s a beast within, release it from its chains/Here we’re all animals, tonight let’s go insane.” What the hell else needs to be said? Box checked, UNCIVILIZED is traditional metal the way it’s supposed to be – full of guitar solos and adolescent rage. Pounder delivers a quality metal experience that doesn’t succeeds in not taking itself too seriously. Answer this Call, indeed.