Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Artist Of The Day: Punch

San Francisco's heavy-hitting hardcore band Punch is not afraid of brevity. The five-piece have released several EPs and full-lengths over the past few years, with the average song clocking in at around a minute and a half of less. With a thrashy, heavy sound complete with raspy screams, Punch stick close to their hardcore roots while taking the genre into an even faster, less melodic composition. Despite their short length, the songs Punch have created progress from one sound to another, from one riff into a breakdown. With point-blank, honest lyrics and a headstrong perseverance, Punch have thrust themselves into the spotlight as they continue to tour around the world.

Punch's music takes influence from traditional hardcore, youth crew, thrash and power violence and creates a powerful, sonic wall of absolute crushing ferocity. Often laden with feedback, songs immediately break into blast beats and intense machine-gun snares accompanied by a fast, intricate guitar riff. Lyrical themes often focus on nihilism, veganism, religion and introspection which are delivered in a raspy yelp by frontwoman Meghan O'Neil. Some songs feature only one of two lines of lyrics," I can understand that everyone has a vice, but I still wonder why is the need to escape so great?" from "Realist." Other songs like "Not So Posi After All" feature chainsaw-like guitars behind gang vocals shouting "Why can't I just let go?" Generally, most songs exhibit the same traits: screeching vocals, resonating feedback, extremely fast drums, breakdowns, and the general lack of verse-chorus-verse form. Despite this, each song has its own inherent style and subject which prevents any of the music from sounding stale. The short nature of the songs means that you could easily breeze through full listens of the band's albums in under roughly 25 minutes. 

The Nothing Lasts EP, Punch's latest recording released through Deathwish, Inc. contains seven relentless tracks that fit right in alongside the other songs in their discography. Notably, the album seems slightly more polished in terms of production, and the arrangements seem a bit more technical and thought out. "Time Apart" switches tempo several times and has adequate two-step-mosh beats, while "Four Letters" is a direct assault within a single verse. You could consider Nothing Lasts to be the band's best material, although you won't be able to detect much of an evolution from their previous albums. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though; hardcore isn't known for having catchy choruses or spectacular theatrics, so Punch is just rolling with it and creating ferocious music along the way.

Fans of hardcore will no doubt like Punch, although the music is occasionally faster and heavier than what some may be used to. Lyrical themes, vocal delivery, and general hallmark pieces of hardcore are prevalent, but turned up just a notch. If you aren't sure what to think, just give the band a listen. You can also pick up a large amount of the band's material on a single cassette tape here.
Deathwish, Inc.

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