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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.