WORDS: James Weaver
American thrashers, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, have always been prominent in the underground thrash metal circuit. Ten years since their last studio record, Third World Genocide, the band are back with a brand new four track EP entitled Pounder. This EP is to bridge the gap for a brand new full length record acting as a starter for fans before the main course is unveiled. But does Pounder contain enough quality to ensure fans remain hungry for the new record?
One thing is certain about Pounder, it demonstrates NUCLEAR ASSAULT’s clear musical direction when it comes to thrash metal. Opener, title track Pounder, sets the tone for the EP in fine fashion; rapid riffs and solid bass tones are combined with consistent drumming all whilst John Connelly’s vocals roar above the musical carnage. This is very much the style for the entire duration of the EP, with little room for breathing it makes for a quick and relentless listening experience.
With the four tracks played at such a rapid pace you’d expect NUCLEAR ASSAULT to lack in musical creativity. However, the entirety of the Pounder EP is absolutely filled to the brim with musical quality. The twin guitar play of John Connelly and Erik Burke on the opening of Analog Man in a Digital World whilst the musical build up in closing track, Died In Your Arms features intricate drumming techniques from Glenn Evans and features some absolute splendid vocal deliveries from John Connelly.
The biggest downfall for Pounder however, is the duration of the EP. Clocking in at 14 minutes, the biggest downfall is the sheer hunger for more. With only four tracks it ultimately builds a huge level of desire for more thrash themed mayhem only to end just as it begins. The band did state this EP would serve as an old-school thrash taster until the new record is released yet it effectively just builds anticipation. Perhaps this is exactly what NUCLEAR ASSAULT aimed for and if so, they have achieved that in grand fashion. Make no mistake, Pounder is an absolute gem of an EP, it perfectly demonstrates that old-school thrash is just as enjoyable today as it was back in the 1980s.
Pounder is set for release on June 1st 2015