Pownd - Circle Of Power
Nightmare Records
Heavy Progressive Metal
11 songs (48'04)
Release year: 2007
Pownd, Nightmare Records
Reviewed by Marty
Pownd is a Richmond, Kentucky, U.S.A. based progressive metal band that has the Duncan brothers Michael, vocals and Ronnie, guitar as the core of the song writing team. Circle of Power is the band's second full length album and the first for Lance King's Nightmare Records.

Pownd covers a wide range of both ultra-heavy de-tuned prog metal in the Nevermore, Dream Theater and Angel Dust vein and the more traditional styles; the groundwork of which was laid out in the 80's and 90's by such bands as Queensryche and Fates Warning. The album opener Still I Bleed uses a very heavy de-tuned and killer Nevermore sound with a Victim Of Changes style of crushing riffs between a cappella vocals by Michael Duncan. Blind continues with chugging and muted Megadeth type riffs complete with an 80's thrash metal vocal delivery. Pownd gets a even more "modern" sounding on Monster with it's use of harmonic squeals between heavy riffs and a very EQ'd "hollow" vocal sound. Things get a little more traditional with The Stand, Changes and Never Means Forever. The Stand and Changes show the band's Queensryche and Fates Warning influences with a more traditional melodic heavy metal edge, more melodic hooks, an overall more technical approach and Geoff Tate influenced vocal styles. The emotion and power in Michael's voice is turned up a notch on Never Means Forever, a power ballad style track complete with the sort of expressive lead guitar work that was a staple of classic Queensryche around the Operation Mindcrime period. Another standout track Ellie, uses a galloping Black Sabbath Children Of The Grave type of riff over a screaming Rob Halford flavored vocal and some absolutely crushing and pummelling double bass drumming. The crushing double bass assault continues with the album closer, Swatting Flies, a track that also features fast riffing, speedy guitar harmonies and an intense, aggressive sound.

Overall, Pownd offers the listener a mix of de-tuned and aggressive prog metal, a little thrash metal to keep up the energy and more traditional Queensryche, Fates Warning progressive metal. Michael Duncan is a solid and very versatile vocalist; incorporating many different aspects of some of the heavy metal greats into his singing style. Their sound is solid and very heavy yet I found the production to be a little harsh on the high end. It's almost like the high end was as little over EQ'd, resulting in some high end distortion. A couple of tracks have a very different sound and were obviously recorded at different times and/or places. My promo copy of this CD had little information and these aspects may be addressed in the retail version. Riff-wise, this band has come up with some killer ones but overall, their songs need a few more melodic hooks or something to capture the listener's attention. Many tracks on this album sound great but have very few redeeming qualities that make you want to listen to them repeatedly. A few great songs and far too many that although sound great, don't really amount to anything memorable. Pownd has lots of potential and all the elements in place. All that's needed is a boost in the song writing quality and production of their next CD to really put them on the map....I'm keeping a very watchful eye on these guys for the future....

Check out some songs on their Myspace page here

Killing Songs :
Still I Bleed, The Stand, Ellie and Swatting Flies
Marty quoted 74 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 4 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Jul 11, 2007 7:34 pm
View and Post comments