With this being (supposedly) the last hurrah for perennial NY thrash heavyweights Nuclear Assault, it's not surprising that the band have kind of quietly dropped a new EP to hang their touring hat on. 2005's comeback album Third World Genocide received uniformly mediocre (if not downright scathing) reviews, so on the one hand you don't want that misfire to represent your final bow, but if your latest stab at redemption falls similarly flat, do you really want to risk playing it up?
I'll make this short like the EP itself: thankfully, Pounder turns out to be far from an embarrassment, though in terms of a return to form it does straddle the line a bit. John Connelly's bark still has that engaging gremlin charm, and between he and Erik Burke there is a healthy mix of catchy riffs and blistering guitar solos. "Pounder" and "Lies" kick the EP off with promise, the former in particular representing the most legitimate stab at a catalog classic that the band has penned in ages.
"Died in Your Arms" has a weird dichotomy of minor key acoustic strumming with alternating clean/gruff vocals that kinda works and kinda doesn't… the main riff is pretty great when it finally kicks in, but ultimately the tune is a failed stab at reclaiming the vibe of "Trail of Tears" from Handle with Care. That leaves "Analog Man", which the less is said about the better. "Hang the Pope" may be one of the most beloved NA songs ever, but these guys need to realize that their efforts at being some kind of mash up of DRI and Weird Al are well past their sell by date.
If this truly does end up being the final Nuclear Assault recording, its sheer brevity alone will preclude it from ever being more than a minor footnote in the catalog, but it does enough to show that the band still have it for the most part, and let's face it: they're selling you a tour here, not an EP per se.