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The last I heard of Pro-Pain was 2000's Round Six. Seven years on, the band has released its tenth album Age Of Tyranny – The Tenth Crusade. Now, the band's debut Foul Taste Of Freedom still spins in my CD player as does Contents Under Pressure. Still, Round Six was a bit of a let down and I lost touch with the band. While I have no idea how the three albums preceding this one are, I have to say that the new Pro-Pain stands up to anything the band has done while exploring a few new directions.
The album starts with the one-two punch of The New Reality and All For King George. While the latter is a furious hardcore stomp, the former has a melodic backing vocal mixed with the more heavy metal sound of the band and all this within the framework of Pro-Pain's timeless crossover-thrash metal. Pigs In Clover is short, pissed off and vintage Pro-Pain. The song of the album though is Beyond The Pale. Its melodic riffing and breakdowns, big chorus and melodic leads all scream metalcore, but this is Pro-Pain and they pull it off superbly. Company Jerk sounds like it could have been on the band's debut and walks with a groove and rock n roll swagger that the band hasn't attempted since Johnny Black from the debut. 3 Minute Hate is a song with a killer riff and some very nice lead playing with Meskil sounding even more pissed off than usual.
Gary Meskil (vocals/ bass) and Tom Klimchuk (Guitars) have been playing together since the start (apart from 1994's The Truth Hurts album) and they seem like a well oiled machine. The band still, essentially sounds the same and is still pretty fucking awesome. The combination of some killer thrash riffs with melodic classic heavy metal type lead playing and Gary Meskil's pissed off shout sounds as good as it ever has.
There are a few changes for the band on Age Of Tyranny. Some of the riffing is a little more melodic, and the band seem more willing to change pace and slow things down. Both these elements work and helps in giving this album a fair bit of diversity. Case in point is the slowed down riffing in the second half of Indict Impeach Imprison and the mid tempo groove (that sounds a bit like Prong) of Iraqnam. The other thing about this album is the drumming of JC Dwyers. Not since Dan Richardson's stint with the band has Pro-Pain had such a dynamic drummer. He turns in a stellar performance and the album benefits greatly.
Pro-Pain has been around for fifteen years and this is the band's tenth album. Still, they show no sign of slowing down and if anything seem to have acquired a new sense of vigour. While the album may do little to convince a new comer to the band, for the fans Age Of Tyranny is a fine release from these scene veterans.
Hey boys and girls, I figured that sleeping before work isn't as important as writing this special review for you. How nice, right? Well, at any measure, I am a bit pissed at myself. Why? Well, because I decided to pick Pro-Pain's Age of Tyranny: the Tenth Crusade to review tonight. The reason why I am pissed? Oh you shall see.
It is a given that I am a total slut for hardcore and metalcore and if any hardcore or metalcore band knew what was good for them, they would throw their albums at me like candy to kids at some national holiday parade, but this has to be one of the first times where I listened to an album and said, "Wow, metalcore is disappointing." Now the reason I say 'disappointing' is because I knew prior to hearing Age of Tyranny: the Tenth Crusade that Pro-Pain has had their run in the music 'biz' and I would have thought they would have realized that bands like Avenged Sevenfold are currently putting out mediocre albums daily and that by doing the same they would get bashed by assholes like me. I guess they have been living under a rock for the last 3 years.
Really, Pro-Pain has talent, but when every song has the same beat, the same type of riff and nearly the same vocals people are going to realize that things aren't that good. Throughout the album I felt like there was no real definitive sound to this band and nothing really compelled me to take "one more listen" to the album. Sure the breakdowns were okay, but not enough to make things worth the listen. Not even the guitar solos had me coming back.
So I'm pissed; pissed because I had high hopes for this band. If you can stay around for 14 years and still keep making music I'd like to think it would be decent (then again, look at bands like Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones). To me, it felt like every song was just overused palm-mutes and low-string riffs. I'm sorry to say but there is nothing special about this album and I wouldn't expect any new listeners to catch on to Pro-Pain by buying this album.