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Punishment Broken But Not Dead

Punishment - Broken But Not Dead
01. Intro
02. Sent Into Overdrive
03. Empty Sky
04. Burning Souls
05. Raised High
06. Struggle And The Sacrifice
07. Or Die Trying (MP3)
08. Force Fed
09. Penance
10. Rising
11. Out With The Old
2003 Thorp Records

Reviewed by: Jhonn Thomassen   //   Published: 11/19/2003

Punishment’s one of those bands that you’re almost too afraid to review since you just might find them coming after you for saying something negative about them. Luckily, “Broken But Not Dead” is a decent enough release that I shouldn’t have to worry about such a thing happening (I imagine this would hold true even if I did give them a bad review, as they seem like nice guys at heart). I have a few qualms with this release, but other than that, it’s well worth looking into.

Hailing from Philadelphia, Punishment serves up a nice dish of brutality along with a glassful of punch (pun intended). The music is pretty mosh-orientated, which will make a lot of fans of that style happy while turning off just as many. If you’re into Death Before Dishonor, Rise Over Run, or even Bury Your Dead, you’re a prime candidate for Punishment. Be prepared for a slower brand of hardcore, however, as the band likes to take their sweet time when drawing out their moshy riffs, instead of blazing through each track. This isn’t to say they’re not fast – rather, think of how Slayer plays compared to Agoraphobic Nosebleed.

The opener to “Broken But Not Dead,” aptly titled “Intro,” starts things off with a minute-long breakdown, but once it ruptures into the second track, the metal side of Punishment begins to reign supreme. Most every track follows a similar pattern of metal riffs adjacent to a hearty breakdown, but the band has innovative enough riffs that this really doesn’t put the listener off. Other notable tracks include “Raised High,” “Force Fed,” and tracks 12 (a delightful improv spoken word piece, if you can believe it) and 13, though for some reason or another, they’re not listed anywhere.

As for the drawbacks of this album, they aren’t numerous, but they can be pretty detractive. For starters, someone who enjoys a muffled sound must have done the mixing and mastering of this record. All the instruments and vocals sound pretty stifled, though as far as I can tell, everything was delivered forcefully enough. Thus, “Broken But Not Dead” ends up sounding more like a demo than a professionally recorded full-length. Mess with the tone knobs on your stereo all you want – it still won’t sound as good as it could’ve had this been done a little more professionally. My second gripe is common enough: the lyrics. All I can say is that you’ve heard them all before. I shouldn’t even have to explain what I mean here, but if you need a hint, “content” (or lack thereof) might help.

Bottom Line: Although “Broken But Not Dead” isn’t exceptional or standout by any means, every track is fairly strong. Don’t expect to be let down if you're looking for metalcore that mixes mosh with nice, soft parts; Punishment delivers metal with a hardcore edge and they like to stick to that formula, for better or worse.


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