Punch
They Don’t Have To Believe


4.0
excellent

Review

by ComeToDaddy USER (48 Reviews)
August 28th, 2014 | 35 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 19 minutes of unfiltered rage

I’ve never gotten into a fight, nor have I ever wanted to. The pain of being punched in the face by a fist full of rage, unadulterated anger and fury; these are completely foreign to me. Until recently hearing Punch’s self-titled debut album, my experience with aggressive hardcore/powerviolence was extremely limited, but for the first time, I actually wanted to be in a fight. Not to fight for any particular reason or cause, I just wanted to fight evenly with someone. No music had ever made me feel genuinely aggressive, and whether that was a good thing or a bad thing, the album did what it set out to do, and I craved more. Most people who have delved into the genre understand the feeling, and for this reviewer, listening to Punch’s latest album They Don’t Have to Believe made that feeling finally return. With barely 3 seconds of breathing room, the first riff tears through the speakers alongside Meghan O’neils absolutely vicious vocals, and it doesn’t let up for 19 solid minutes of tumultuous, grind-influenced, violent hardcore.

The biggest positive here is that every technical aspect of Punch’s music has stepped up since their last lp; the production has improved, guitars and drums are more complex, vocals are angrier and boast a wider range, and the lyrics have become more intelligent. Dummer Val Saucedo (of Loma Prieta fame) in particular goes above and beyond his performance in past releases (for both Punch and Loma Prieta), always timing his blasts and fills perfectly, while never taking the spotlight for long and providing the perfect backbone for the vehement vocals and riffs. Even the bass is audible and improved upon! Though often simply following the guitar, there are several moments where the bassist follows his own tangent and takes the track to a new level. While not always discernible, the lyrics are a personal and emotional attack on anti-feminists, covering issues like street harassment, prostitution and abuse. On paper, all of these factors combine to create the bands most impressive release to date, and while this is certainly true, there are a handful of problems that hold it back from being something truly spectacular.

With previous albums, Punch gave significantly more breathing room than they do here. While you certainly couldn’t call them soft, they’d often set into a slower groove, taking their time with the song and giving the listener a chance to drink in what they’re hearing. On They Don’t Have to Believe, Punch have decided to trim all the fat, creating a concise slab of music and no filler, with mixed results. While the genre is fundamentally built on a fast-paced and trimmed-down formula, there comes a point where it’s simply too stripped down. Punch throw grimy hardcore at you every step of the way, and allow no time to catch your breath. This accomplishes the objective of assaulting the ears of their decidedly masochistic audience, but with the exception of the first minute in 9th track ‘Denial’, there aren’t even 5 seconds where rapid-fire riffs and Meghan’s impassioned screams aren’t flooding the speakers. This makes it hard to flesh the tracks out, and while they succeed at creating a no-frills hardcore record, highlights are minimal. This hurts its replayability, but thankfully this is somewhat mitigated by the sheer complexity of the music at hand.

While sometimes you’ll think you’ve heard the same riff before, and sometimes bordering on unoriginal, Punch have succeeded in creating a coherent and concise piece of abrasive hardcore that will abuse you and have you begging for more. There is enough meat to keep a listener occupied for several playbacks; riffs aplenty, lyrical depth and musical complexity all offset the minor problems and ensure an avid listener won’t get bored. Avoiding all the gimmicks that many female-fronted hardcore bands lean on as a crux, and never preaching its message to the point of becoming contrived, They Don’t Have to Believe stands as one of the best hardcore releases of 2014.



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user ratings (74)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
ComeToDaddy
August 28th 2014


1827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Tried something a bit different, was asked to review their self-titled but settled on this instead. I haven't listened to much in the genre, but I really enjoy the band so wanted to review their latest. Constructive criticism is welcomed and appreciated!

XingKing
August 28th 2014


15122 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet record and sweet review. Posssss

ComeToDaddy
August 28th 2014


1827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man, appreciate it. Kinda hoping the band picks up a little steam on here, considering it shares 2 members with Loma Prieta

XingKing
August 28th 2014


15122 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Punch surprisingly has like 10K more fans on Facebook than Loma. Weird!

Veldin
August 28th 2014


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Way more enjoyable than that new Code Orange album. While I personally prefer Loma, this release was definitely very solid. Good review, mate!

Funeralopolis
August 28th 2014


14452 Comments


rocks

Digging: The Ruins Of Beverast - Rain Upon The Impure

ComeToDaddy
August 28th 2014


1827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks friend! I had major hopes for that Code Orange. Was sorely disappointed, but the year has been pretty good to me so far so can't complain too much

Pajolero
August 28th 2014


1132 Comments


Noice.
Both bands are the tits, but Loma is my favorite for sure.

Digging: Aesop Rock - Spirit World Field Guide

ComeToDaddy
August 28th 2014


1827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah for sure, Loma is my jam, but even though there's shared members they're not similar at all. Hard to compare the two

Mort.
August 28th 2014


15177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review, posd





i forgot this came out, thanks for the reminder/review lol

Digging: Will Haven - Open The Mind To Discomfort

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2014


11790 Comments


superb review dude, well written and interesting, pos'd hard.

Digging: Ariana Grande - positions

cryptside
August 28th 2014


2399 Comments


Very well written review, man. One of your best, and this sounds like something I'd love. I am a huge fan of Cerce, so that comparison has my interest piqued.

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 28th 2014


36192 Comments


Phenomenal review. I'll have to give this a listen soon.

Digging: Seahaven - Halo of Hurt

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2014


27187 Comments


Really great review

Digging: Trh - Novej kalhnjnnp

ComeToDaddy
August 28th 2014


1827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks a ton guys. @Sig, I can't see you being disappointed if you 4'd Cerce, though it's a lot more unrelenting here, there's way less of the slow-burning hardcore

Tyler.
August 29th 2014


18182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good album

MMX
August 30th 2014


5013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Solid 4 damn good album

Motiv3
September 4th 2014


9025 Comments


another awesome release from Punch. These guys kill it every time.

Digging: Ulcerate - Stare Into Death and Be Still

SeaAnemone
September 12th 2014


21429 Comments


ya this is so good
their discog is like straight 4s

Xar
September 12th 2014


1652 Comments


very few discogs out there are straight 4s, closest thing is probs fugazi and even they have 2-3 3.5/5s up their sleeves.



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