Afflictive Nature is a band from Texas, but sound-wise they could fit right at home in the East Coast during the late 80s. On their debut EP Judged Punished Erased, there's an undeniable love for crossover thrash, and their take on the genre is authentic and enjoyable.

The first track "The Swarm" opens with a lead line not unlike Slayer with a metallic hardcore undertone rhythmically and quickly shows its circle pit potential. When the vocals kick in, it sounds like they came from the bowels of hell. The vocals have so much force behind them it makes me wonder if his vocal cords are in tact at all. I like this song a lot and it is a great introduction into the band (not to mention a memorable, gang-vocal filled chorus), but I feel like the song could have ended right at the 3 minute mark. Instead, they go into a mid-tempo groovy passage that sounds pretty recycled to be honest.

The most refreshing moment on this EP for me was the third track "De Integro." It's an instrumental piece. Half of the composition is just an acoustic guitar, bass, and drums and the second half has a guitar solo over the progression. It's a very beautiful but haunting piece at the same time (if I'm not mistaken it sounds like it's in a harmonic minor key). The guitar solo was good-it was a little much for the song though. It's a little sloppy and the tone isn't as nice and subtle as you'd want playing over an acoustic guitar progression. To me it seemed like the guitarist was just trying to rip over it rather than select the right notes. Overall though, I very much enjoyed the venture outside the typical crossover thrash motif.

This originality bleeds into the EP's final song entitled "Nature Within." The song actually sounds like it'd be more at home in a symphonic metal band like Wintersun, complete with string accompaniment. It sounds like a march into battle, with the next few measures being one of the slowest and most crushing riffs on the EP. This one is the longest track, clocking in over 5 minutes. If you're making any type of fast music over the 3 or 4 minute mark, it better be entertaining throughout its duration. Luckily, "Nature Within" does just that. The main verses are quick, chromatically ascending power chords backed by a blast beat, followed by a slow passage which features a bit of a speech by the vocalist ("Each and every one of you will sink your teeth into reality."). The guitar solo at the end really shines, the lead playing that I didn't resonate with me on the previous track works very well here.

If you're into late-80s/early 90s thrash or crossover bands, or even more modern bands like Power Trip or Municipal Waste, this 7" is a must check out.