When metal and punk collide, the result is often something primal and unruly; something focused on the sort of heads-down intensity that both genres thrive on. Thrash, grindcore, metallic hardcore, sludge – these are styles constructed with tunnel-visioned intensity in mind, but even amongst the prosaic severity there is room for experimentation. In fact, avant-garde interpretations on these genres are often some of the metal genre’s most thrilling listens, and it seems that Seattle duo Pound are well aware of this.

Boasting instrumental techy grind in which unshackled grooves are nestled jarringly amongst cockeyed time signatures and off-kilter rhythms, the band’s dissonant guitars and unrestrained percussion are somehow bolstered by somewhat of a melodic inclination, with touches of post-hardcore bleeding through the mix to find a mere hint of control amidst the chaos. A variety of techniques converge here; amongst the mayhem can be found Meshuggah chugging and a coming together of crust punk and jazzy rhythms that calls to mind the likes of Botch and Coalesce. This is a form of metal that’s unencumbered by so-called genre boundaries, borrowing from multiple styles yet still offering an experience that’s direct and pulls no punches.

Finding a middle-ground between stripped-down intensity and intoxicating complexity – two avenues often kept separate from one another – •• is an oddly-named (googling “Pound ••” throws up results for the current state of GBP) extravaganza of wildly entertaining extreme metal that delights in its unbridled approach to the genre. It’s mathcore, it’s grind, it’s sludge, it’s d-beat and it’s hardcore, but most of all it’s a rollicking thrill-ride so packed with moments of brilliance that you’ll forget why most bands even bother with a vocalist.

•• is out 31st May. Purchase here.

Words: George Parr

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