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Mass Punishment: Proving Grounds Vol. 1

War is a pretty common theme for metal bands. The reasons are obvious; the extreme states of war reflect the kinds of things heavy metal is often obsessed with—power, madness, violence, and so on. War also serves as a reminder that simple designations of good and evil are sometimes arbitrary and that brothers may fight against brothers. Similarly, war brings to mind questions of patriotism and honor, country and duty. Such categories, powerful and persuasive, are sometimes strengthened in times of war. They are also sometimes weakened.

This album is fascinating because its lyrics are created from first hand experiences in war. It also draws on Chris Milos' (guitar, vocals) own experiences in the army during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Listening to this album, I often felt like the lyrics were effective in creating a sense of the problem of war, the good and the bad that come from it, the sense of duty exhibited by the troops, and the sheer chaos it unleashes on the world. The music reflects these varying emotions quite well. Mass Punishment is mostly a thrash band, but there are moments that the band describes as "groove." That word works well enough. Whatever we want to call it, the music here is powerful and heavy from start to finish. Those who listen to this album will experience music that hits its target strongly and swiftly. Even the melodic moments (in "Enemy Within," for example) are surrounded by a heaviness that is unrelenting.

For fans of heavy music, the kind that sounds like planes falling from the sky, this is your album. The band—Erick Laurino, Chris Milos, Scott Ferguson, and Brian Donat—deliver on the promise of the name. This is crushing, punishing, music.

Track Listing:
1. In to the Fire
2. 300 Miles to Baghdad
3. Lions Den
4. Enemy Within
5. The Desert Rogue
6. Ground Pounder
7. Blood Dirt
8. Your Nightmare
9. Eye of the Storm
10. The Infantry's Creed
11. Line of Departure

Added: January 13th 2015
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1455
Language: english

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