Released: 2002, Independent
In this age of modern technology we are instantly connected to bands and scenes from around the world and yet there are still a couple of undiscovered frontiers in the metal world; South America and Eastern Europe, beyond the “metal curtain”. This month I choose to review two very obscure bands from Eastern Europe, Punished and Secret South.
Punished contacted me and sent me this disc from Yugoslavia! The distances of culture, politics and geography are heightened even more when I discovered this is actually their fifth CD! I pride myself on knowing at least a little info on thousands of bands from around the world, and yet here is an eastern European band with 5 CD’s and I had never heard of them. I hang my head in shame. I had heard of many other Yugoslavia bands but not Punished. Well I’m glad to say I am now a fan!
Punished kick a fair-amount of ass, with their classic death metal sound. The production is good, surprisingly good, but that could just be my ignorance and/or pre-conceived notion about recording technology in Eastern Europe. The cover is a little dull and blurry. It looks a bit like a propeller? The song titles do not have the full command of the English language. There is nothing technically wrong with the lyrics and song titles it’s just that titles like, “Monstrous Warning”, ”Poison-pen Letter” and “Night of the Forgotten Times” come across as a little awkward. I’m not quite sure what the title means either. No big deal.
The other thing I don’t like about this CD is that it is a promo version with faded versions of the songs. I understand the importance of combating bootlegs and fraud but it makes it hard to get into a CD when you get a nice headbang going and its starts to fade away…
So it sounds like I complained a lot about Punished but the music is very good. It is catchy, crunchy death metal with a technical edge and some good emphasis on speed. There is nice double bass drum work and some great bass-lines. Check out the opening salvo of “Poison-pen Letter”. It sounds like it could have been Pestilence or Atheist! The music has some melody and groove as well. The vocals are very raw but not totally unintelligible, (at least to experienced death metal fans) but could have been slightly farther up in the mix. It’s not all straight ahead death either the track 5 “Nostalgia” is a little slower and starts with some violin or viola, a nice touch and has more sprinkled throughout the tune.
I would certainly like to hear more by these guys who obviously have survived because they have lots of skill! With the benefit of better packaging, some help with the English lyrics and a set of unfaded songs, Punished could be and should be signed to a cool death metal label like Necropolis or maybe Osmose. You can E-mail them out at firstname.lastname@example.org