Premiere: Punished – “Reissak Ayrial”
A right and proper death metal flaying.
I’ll be the first person to say the string bending and tonality mutilating dissonant death metal movement is about as tired it gets nowadays, having long since gone from the alien to the mundane. Yet it’s hard for me not to feel a bit of that same spark that fuelled my initial support for the style years in its heyday. Formed by Serocs guitar wizard Antonio Freyer, who debuted in 2016 with The Absent, a short though well received EP whose quality shone through the awkward production job.
Today we’re premiering the follow-up and off the bat quite a bit has changed from the fuller, fresher production to the more gradual build up of its songwriting. Swirling fretboard witchery crafts tense harmonies dancing across the strings, bringing to mind the finest moments of Ulcerate’s Everything is Fire but the spastic bludgeon of NZ’s legends is replaced with a series of paired themes, circling one another like bitter rivals ready for the killing blow. On that note, Ben Read from that band’s oft-forgotten debut handles the vocals with a hardcore styled tortured humanity, giving even the midpaced boil a desperate sense of urgency. The song develops at a slower, gradual pace even with the presence of a few choice blast beats but the band know how to let the same existential dread that bled through their debut crawl and worm its way into your most private of thoughts.