Holy smokes. That about sums up first reaction when I listened to Punishment’s latest release ‘Remnants of Things Left Unsaid’. Because, well, HOLY SMOKES. This album is a powerful, original, and impressive hard rock offering with nine tracks that go deep and dark and heavy enough to make your rib-cage rattle, your gut jiggle, and the hair on the back of your neck stand up. In short: this is frigging excellent.
Punishment is based in Toronto, Canada, and has been around as a band since 2008. The band was founded by guitarist Kevin Gale, formerly of Slik Toxik (famous from MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball – back when MTV played music videos – and also winner of a Juno Award in 1993 ). You can certainly tell that this is an experienced musical crew, that know exactly what kind of impact they want to have. Wielding influences from bands like Led Zeppelin and Alice In Chains, Punishment has put together an album that goes for the jugular without messing about. The vocals are stellar, and the musicianship, as well as the song-writing, is outstanding from start to finish.
The band starts things off by ripping into the hard rocking ‘A Little Dodgy’, showing off a deep and rough rumble of bass and guitar that goes right into your bones and veins. After that they do a deliciously gritty, growly and just plain fab cover of ‘Cocaine’. I’m usually wary of bands covering the big-time classics (mainly because it’s so hard to live up to the original), but Punishment delivers the goods, giving the tune a dark, visceral vibe that really works.
There are so many awesome tunes on this release, but I’ll pick three standouts:
‘Little Sister’ is rugged and gritty and just a blistering hard and heavy rocker with some of the album’s best vocals from Brad Searl. On the irresistible ‘Mountain’, the band goes all-out like an earthshaking, rumbling freight train, before delivering what might just be my favourite track on this release: ‘Once We Were Gods’. This tune puts a heavy-ass swing and groove into all that rumbling, rough grit, resulting in a tune that moves and shakes and gets right under your skin and into your veins.
‘Remnants of Things Left Unsaid’ closes out with the fabulous ‘Too Far Gone’, another ace track that features some of the album’s best lyrics: “Driven mad…shouldn’t drive at all”. It’s a kick-ass track to close out a great release from this Canadian band.
This album goes in my “faves of the year” pile: highly recommended for anyone who loves their rock and roll heavy, gritty and deliciously dark.
- Brad Searl – Vocals
- Pat Carrano – Drums
- Kevin Gale – Guitars, Back-up Vocals
- Mark Johnston-Bass
- A Little Dodgy
- Little Sister
- Mason Jar
- Once We Were Gods
- The Bridge
- Too Far Gone