New Jersey’s Mass Punishment compiles it’s version of groove thrash metal on their debut Proving Grounds, Vol. 1, with lyrics penned and inspired by first-hand war experience, the music equals the real life brutality seen. Guitars and drums blast out the loud armories of combat as vocals scream out the war-torn, beaten path of combat.
Mass Punishment does not negotiate but does bring a unique twist of the blade, neck snapping precession in the camouflaged fatigues of Hatebreed and Pantera while delivering melody and vulnerable emotion from a soldier’s inner self. Featuring a guest appearance by Symphony X’s Michael Romeo, Proving Grounds, Vol. 1 is a soldier’s story told loud and proud smashing the enemy down with metal to be tortured by.
The punishment started after guitarist Chris Milo’s honorable discharge from the United States Army after crossing the Kuwait/Iraq international border with the 3rd Infantry Division for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Wandering desolate Baghdad, witnessing firsthand the horror and atrocities of war inspired him to use heavy music as a platform vehicle to tell the world these often unheard stories. Joined by Drum Corps vet formally of Conceived by the Unborn and Warcrime, Brian Donat and recruitment for the front/Pointman position was won by the powerhouse flesh scorching of Erick Laurino (formally of Severance and Mara). Bassist Scott Ferguson joined soon after.
Proving Grounds Vol. 1 was released patriotically on July 4th as 2014 proved a monumental year for Mass Punishment making their mark on the thrash scene. This year alone, they’ve shared stages with GWAR, Decapitated and Unearth. They’ve previously recorded 2 demos (One Fails, Many Suffer and As Democracy Dies) warming up the basic training for the Proving Grounds.
“In to the Fire’s” bombs blast as the chopper flies over head.
Laurino’s growling scream starts with the riffs of war on “300 Miles to Baghdad”. A hard slamming, pulse pounding fist in the sand, survive at all costs, violent salute to the masochistic realities of war.
“Lion’s Den” looks the enemy in the eye locked and loaded. Who blinks first?
“The Desert Rogue” an acoustic melodic atmosphere with soft song emotion and a symphonic background with Laurino proving his pipes worthy, mourning those lost on the field. At 4:30 the anger erupts into hand slicing riffs and no holds barred interrogation.
“Ground Pounder” pledges allegiance to the flag with boots stomping the ground and flesh with a left, right left. Guitars hack up bodies for five minutes.
“Eye of the storm” sludge’s forward knee-deep in debris, taking fire.
With most songs being around the 5-7 minute range MP gives each song plenty of time to express all its crushing ideas and real life accounts. It’s got plenty of thrash, speed, testosterone and adrenaline. All the weapons needed for engagement.