"Febrile," the brief opener on Punish, Honey, gives a pretty good indication of what's to come on the Bristol, UK producer's second album. A sparsely-recorded snare roll that sounds like it's being played on an oil drum in an abandoned warehouse builds into an aggressive barrage, almost comical in its intensity, that sounds like (Slayer drummer) Dave Lombardo in a one-man speed samba troupe while multiple jackhammers tear up the pavement. The following track, "Red Sex," folds these industrial drums into a woozy groove threaded through a catchy, maniacal melody. "Drowned In Water and Light" slows things down with an initially quieter composition full of circular washes of sound that are finally interrupted by a sinister, plodding beat.
Crisp, threatening and bold, Punish, Honey is large in scope and heavily cinematic — think Béla Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies. Several tracks, "Amina" for example, boast almost danceable grooves amidst the constant threat of exploding violence and nightmarishly distorted realities. Frenetic, scattered, intense, contemporary techno tropes meld seamlessly with the Neubauten-esque industrial percussion and sleazy giallo-esque melodies. The compositions here are solid, but it's sonically where Vessel holds his own. In that regard, Punish, Honey is close to perfection. (Tri Angle)