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Despite the slightly embarrassing attitude of the band, Pro-Pain´s debut had left a very good impression. The mixture of metal, punk influences and explicit lyrics was not affected by any signs of weakness. More or less the same could be said about the successor of "Foul Taste of Freedom". The sound of the group was still angry, belligerent and ugly. Nevertheless, a small but significant change was implemented. Meskil´s voice sounded inhumanly and artificially while offering the maximum degree of toughness. People who like this type of vocal performance also like: the view of slaughtered pigs, the taste of sour milk and any kind of open wounds. Well-educated upper middle class kids like me had to get used to this style of singing, because we did not know anything about the ruthlessness of the real life on the streets. But under the bottom line, Meskil´s performance did not lack of power or decisiveness.
Pro-Pain preferred mid-tempo tunes that were characterised by highly effective riffs. Once again, the group proved a keen sense for catchy yet massive guitar lines. For example, the title track collected plus points with its very strong instrumental part that glittered in view of its plausible and memorable guitars. Altogether, the entire first half of the sweat-soaked album hit the nail on the head and was a successful continuation of the debut. Even the unexpected participation of an usually incapable rapper did not shock me, although I am normally proud of my metallic narrow-mindedness. "Put the Lights Out" was not the strongest track, but it also did not need to hide itself behind the remaining pieces. The sleazy sprechgesang of the guest musician with the incomprehensible musical preference was acceptable and did not give this tune a completely different character. Pro-Pain paid tribute to the zeitgeist, but they did it within an acceptable range.
Without suffering from serious defects, the second half of the album did not fully reach the level of the first five tracks. Nevertheless, it also offered good entertainment and was pepped up with surprising details. Just lend an ear to the saxophone solo of "One Man Army" or the quote of "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly" in "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie". The compositions shined with the necessary amount of aggression and developed relentlessly the might of their riffs. In particular the cruel "The Beast is Back" shocked with its intensity and the merciless overall impression. With the vehemence of a plummeting concrete block, the riffs of this highlight crashed down on the listener. Complexity was not the name of the game. But this was no problem in view of the overdose of almost animalistic rawness. Finally, the well-balanced production left no doubt that "The Truth Hurts" was the result of a successful collaboration of professionals. They were focused on the important matters and created a compact album while avoiding lameness, repetitiveness and superfluous elements. The case could not be any clearer. The beast was definitely back.
I saw the news about protests around the world against USA's possible military actions towards Iraq. One particular picture caught my eyes: George W. Bush kissing Saddam Hussein and the text under them reading "make love not war". The line got Pro-Pain's song playing in my mind, even though its title is the opposite way.
Pro-Pain perform tough metal with hardcore ideology and influences, although this is tad more metal than Biohazard ever were. Pro-Pain's music is heavily based on the rhythmic compositions. It is kept simple: Heavy rhythm section of drums and bass, 2 guitars mostly riffing and bloodcurdling grunted vocals which are weirdly muffled, from the mainman Gary Meskil on topping it all. Each song is basically built on a couple of riffs, with variety of being faster punky style or heavier moshfest. There's some tasty guitar solos thrown in to give a listener more to chew. Well, at least something to chew. This album is the only Pro-Pain without the guitarist Tom Klimhuck. Thrown in are some sound effects, eg. samples of a siren, some speeches and a funny "wild west whistle" on 'Let Sleeping Dogs Lie', and that's it. Simple, yes, but also very effective.
The Alex Perialas production is bloody heavy, but this also sounds very streetwise; aggressive and dirty. Ice-T (the rapper, also with the rockers Body Count) raps on 'Put the Lights out'. I have never liked about this stuff and when thrown on a metal album, it just nauseates me. Another thing that I do not get is the saxophone, which is here featured on 'One Man Army'. However, these elements belong to the New York music scene, so I can understand them here. The lyrics also are very streetwise and also towards politics. The cover art is brutal with the photos from the real murder scenes. Although my booklet is censored and Roadrunner promised to send uncensored version for I.R.C., but I never got it, bastards!
'The Truth Hurts' is the heaviest Pro-Pain to date, and my favourite album from the band, as the prior and after this do not get close to this (not meaning they are bad, no). Pro-Pain deliver with power and leave a listener coughing on his/her own blood. 'The Truth Hurts' is a good take on crossover metal, the scene that I do not follow very much at al. Feel free to slamdance and headbang, because this will surely make you do so. The truth hurts: Stylewise this is pretty much the same as any other Pro-Pain album, so they can be called as the AC/DC of hardcore metal.
(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2003)
I own eight Pro-Pain albums. I have no reasonable explanation for this other than that they were cheap and I'm really stupid about what I buy. This is the second Pro-Pain album, which means that it's terrible as all old Pro-Pain is borderline unlistenable- it's only about halfway through their career that they started to become something I'd actually want to hear, and even then, only in very small doses. A lot of Pro-Pain fans consider this the band's best album but that's because those said fans' homes are replicated on the cover of the album.
Since this is an early Pro-Pain album, it means that it's bad hardcore straddling the line between oldschool Cro-Mags shit and modern Hatebreed shit without embodying the good points of either. Pro-Pain are intriguing at this point in their career for being the only hardcore band in the world who appears to have zero aggression or intensity to their sound- it's like Barry Manilow replicating a First Blood CD. This impression is heavily influenced by the always amazingly flat production, with very little body to the guitars and vocals that sound like they were recorded in another room. Pro-Pain's early music is dawdling, and this is no exception: you have what amounts to a limitless array of midpaced groove riffs without any of the faster sections which build tension to be released in breaks like these. Instead, Pro-Pain just strings together a bunch of annoying breaks into single tracks.
There's a bunch of inadvisable decisions on this record, from the cringe-inducing Ice-T inclusion on 'Put The Lights Out' to the awkward, invariably incompetent and unrelated solos. I will say that this is a step up from the band's debut simply for having better production, but for the most part this record is just as odious as the first- static, motionless, and pointlessly rockish without embodying any of the things that make hardcore, oldschool or modern, so great.
Skip this. If you need Pro-Pain, get 'Act Of God' and move forward through the catalog from there. Nothing before that album is worth mentioning.
The Truth hurts is thrash/groove/hardcore record. Pro-Pain is thrash/groove/hardcore band. Someone would probably say: “Nothing revolutionary here”. Except one thing – this is unique thrash/groove/hardcore album! Pro-Pain never made it again, nor did any other band done it. Powerful and strong, The Truth Hurts is classic example how metallic hardcore should sound. It is also good example of how most albums from this band sound, with more or less success.
Guitars play somewhere between New York hardcore and Pantera/Sepultura riffing, and drums are following that type of thrashing. Vocal is roaring in rap tempo, typical for NYHC style, but in more growling way. Whole album is very amusing and catchy. Very quality riffs you can hear in Bad Blood and One Man Army. Down In The Dumps is actually thrash tune. Maximum popularity gained Make War (Not Love), which was first bigger break-through for Pro-Pain, and this tune remained most popular song for them.
Weakest spots on album present classic hardcore riffs and tempos in some parts, which could be boring and annoying. Singing holds same intensity through whole record, and that could taste bad in some parts. Solo guitar plays mostly rock deliveries, not so interesting, but unique. But nevertheless, this is album with great tunes, and even some surprises – saxophone solo, and Ice-T guest vocals (and there goes surprise for those who didn’t hear this record). I specially recommend this album for starters in extreme music. Groove all the way. Classic. Worth having.