The genre of black/death seems to be one of the few new things you can get into if you’re into “real” metal. The trouble that I found with so many bands of this style is that they have trouble reflecting both black metal and death metal at the same time.
On “Dawn Of The Martyr”, PUNISH doesn’t just attempt to play black/death, they also attempt to add in a few other elements, usually in a break or a solo. The band lists having two vocalists, so I’m guessing that one vocalist handles the high black rasps most of the time, while the other vocalist comes in with a low death growl, and of course we can’t forget those vocal layers. The bulk of the material is death metal based with a lot of modernized thrash. I’m almost tempted to say that they take some influence from their more death metal roots from DEATH with a few of their breaks coming close to melodic death metal.
The guitar solos seem to be a point where the band tries to play beyond their abilities. While PUNISH might not play super-tight for a signed band, they can get away with being a little loose around the edges because the recording quality is so good, but some of those guitar solos get sloppy. The lead guitarist might like neo-classical bands, and might be able to impress his friends with those fancy legato runs and sweep picking, but the solos just aren’t in time with the rest of the band.
PUNISH doesn’t quite pull in the same level of intensity and song writing that bands like ZYKLON or BEHEMOTH do, but the attempt at getting their foot in the door of black/death (and perhaps a little beyond that with the other metal they like to throw in) is duly noted. They certainly get high marks for effort, since the quality of hooks are much better than a lot of other underground bands. I just hope that next time around they can tighten things up.