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Blynd - "Punishment Unfolds" (CD)

Blynd - "Punishment Unfolds" CD cover image

"Punishment Unfolds" track listing:

1. Divine Gathering (2:16)
2. Arrival of the Gods (4:53)
3. As Punishment Unfolds (4:32)
4. Never for the Fallen (4:50)
5. The Chosen Few (4:36)
6. Convicted in the Devil’s Land (5:25)
7. Sins to the Cross (4:47)
8. The Final Resistance (4:18)
9. Divine Conspiracy (4:08)
10. Infinity Race (5:17)
11. The Chosen Few – video (bonus)

Reviewed by on November 8, 2012

"This thrash-rooted, melodic death metal disc changes the formula with some symphonic undertones, creating another sub-genre to catalog away: sympho death/thrash!"

The island of Cyprus is yet another small European nation now host to a burgeoning metal scene gaining some momentum, this one featuring quite a few acts on the power metal side. Breaking with that tradition a bit comes Blynd’s second album, and Pitch Black Records debut, “Punishment Unfolds.” This thrash-rooted, melodic death metal disc changes the formula with some symphonic undertones, creating another sub-genre to catalog away: sympho death/thrash!

The opening instrumental (and thoroughly epic) track “Divine Gathering” definitely brings up a Septicflesh connection, which is furthered by the fact that the album’s artwork was also handled by Seth Siro Anton of Septicflesh fame. But if “symphonic” isn’t a tag that you normally dig associated with your thrash or death, not to worry, as it’s not an all-consuming force here. Aside from the opening track and some orchestral elements in the first couple of songs, this isn’t nearly as much a symphonic-focused album as it might seem at first, and by the second half of the disc, those elements are essentially dropped altogether.

Amidst all the death growls and overall focus on brutal sounds, there’s some surprisingly upbeat and fast-paced, thrash-styled solos all throughout the album. This contrast offers a mixing of styles and a fun balance, so the album doesn’t ever really have a dull or boring moment. The death growls dominate the disc on the vocal front, with only a short addition of backing gang chant singing on “Sins to the Cross.”

“Punishment Unfolds” isn’t a completely perfect album, as the production does frequently seem like it could be just a smidge sharper around the edges and the last few songs do start to blend together a bit. Even with those issues, this is an amazingly solid release overall and shows a band ready to break out of the bounds of its home country and join the worldwide stage among the dominating extreme metal acts.

Highs: Top-notch melodic death meets roaring thrash metal, and some symphonic madness gets thrown in for good measure.

Lows: The production isn't perfect, and the album would sound tighter with one or two of the ending songs cut.

Bottom line: Blynd is a band to look out for if you like a mix of death and thrash, and the symphonic elements bump this one up to the next level.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)