Pound – Pound

Although hardly a recent phenomenon, duos are still quite the novelty in rock and metal. While often lazily lumped into that category, acts such as Satyricon, Anaal Nathrakh, and Alcest tend to utilise session musicians when it comes time to record or tour, while those who operate strictly within the parameters of two permanent members and nobody else are still pretty much a rarity in the field. However, thanks to the likes of doomsters Mantar, and Eagle Twin, the drone pair of Nadja, synthwave crew Zombi, and space-rockers Black Asteroids, there does seem to be an apparent rise in the number of genuine duos.

Adding their name to this growing list of double acts, the Seattle pair of guitarist Ryan Schutte and drummer David Stickney – collectively known as Pound – have actually been around since 2008 but only recently decided to record their endeavours, the results of are presented on their self-titled debut (Silent Pendulum). Even more confusingly, each song follows the same symbolic titular format of representing a rhythm contained in the corresponding piece, so if you have trouble even remembering normal song titles then it’ll probably be for the best to simply refer to each song as “Track…” before your brain melts into a sticky grey goo, waves a little white flag, and tells you to fuck off.

Certainly not an album for everyone (those most rigid of old schoolers need not apply), the highlights of Pound have to be the short but epic ‘x.—.x.—.x.—.x.—‘, the vertiginous yet crushingly slow ‘x.x-.x-x.-x.x’ (that’s Track 3 to you and me), the monstrously heavy ‘-..-..-.x-..-..-..-..-..x..-..-..-..-….’ and ‘-xx.-.xxxx-xx.-.xxxx-xx.-.xx’ (Tracks 5 & 6), and the almost comical, crazed insanity of ‘-.x-.x-x-.x-.x-.x-.x-x’ (Track 7).

A bewildering combination of crust, sludge, mathcore, technical deathcore, grindcore, and generally featuring more cores than a computer repair shop, Pound’s debut album is a thirty-minute vocal-free assault on the senses that violently writhes, twists, and jerks like a wounded rhinoceros. A Voivodian d-beat multiverse of off-kilter time signatures, jarring riffs, and computer game effects guitar solos, Schutte’s nine string baritone guitar skronks, screeches, and throbs over Stickney’s Meshuggah-esque polyrhythms, his two kits creating a dizzying maelström of sonic mayhem that is likely to fascinate just as many as it baffles.

7.5/10

GARY ALCOCK