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My Unreal Tournament soundtrack - 80%

Lord_Lexy, March 31st, 2010

I got to learn about Pain when they supported Nightwish on their DPP tour. I wonder how they ended up being Nightwish’ support, as Pain hasn’t got many in common with Nightwish. They’re not compatriots, Peter “Mr. Pain” Tägtgren did not produce Nightwish’ album, the bands are not similar in genre, lyrical contents, … But luckily the combination seemed to be a winning one: Pain had awoken my interest. Rebirth was the first Pain album I bought.

The layout of the physical version of the album suits the music. On the cover we see Peter dressed in black leather, in some kind of spaceship-like hall with bluish metal walls but with lots of light. The inside of the jewelcase and the disc are both in a uniform silvery grey. The booklet is devoid of any lyrics, safe for the lines: Re-entering the pain called life and I can not hide from my needs, plus two pictures of a dead amphibian in a jar and one of Peter’s joyless stare. That doesn’t sound like a happy album, right? And indeed, the music and the layout go well together.

Supersonic Bitch, End of the Line and Dark Fields of Pain some of the album titles. Life’s a bitch: the message that’s hidden in this album. The lyrics are rather honest about this, and the music supports this message. However, this is not a dark and gloomy doom album with every instruments playing slow low tones. It’s more like life is indeed a bitch, and the only thing you can do is show your frustration about it, shout it all out. When you’re done with that, get on with things and stop whining about them. That’s the feeling I get when listening to this album.

This is metal with heavy industrial/electronic influences. At some point I find it difficult to hear the metal parts (especially the guitars) in the flood of electronic sounds. However, the songs are devoid of pure techno parts. The guitars just tune down to a more electronic sound than the heavy distortion. At other points, often in the same song, the guitars get really metal and are distorted as you like them. In Dark Fields of Pain (one of my favourites) they play at their slowest pace.

The drums sound like a drum machine (but I’m not sure of this). Tägtgren plays all instruments on his studioalbums, so a drumming machine would save him lots of time. Anyway: the drums do what they have to, lead the song and the rhythm. Nothing more. A constant beat plus some cymbals here and there. But when you don’t do anything to special you can’t make lots of mistakes. The constant drumming beats add to the “techno-ness” of the album.

The vocals are clean. Sometimes Peter screams as if to underline his frustrations or desires (She Whipped for example), but most of the times he is in utmost control of them. He doesn’t shout unnecessary and keeps his voice in line with the music. But they sound a little sterile, somewhat distant. Maybe even slightly robotic. And that is of course a good thing when making this kind of electronic/metal music hybrid songs.

The electronic contributions this album range from high and very clear short tones, to choir like sounds (like in End of the Line). The latter add a little touch of grandness to the whole, the higher tones play a game with the guitars. The guitars solely add to the rhythm. There nearly is no lead guitar on this album. The electronic sounds take over this leading role a little.

The whole of the album is a decent metal album, heavily influenced by electronic sounds to the point where it even becomes an electronic music/metal hybrid. It’s darker atmosphere but high tempo make it an excellent soundtrack to computer games like Unreal Tournament. This isn’t Ministry, it lacks too much of its metal sound but if you like some electronic music, you might like this one.

Birth of the true Pain - 95%

MaDTransilvanian, November 30th, 2008

Rebirth is Pain's second full-length album and it's pretty much the band's true debut seeing as how the self-titled debut album isn't very representative of Pain's overall sound. Peter Tägtgren's side project truly became special because of this album and subsequent efforts which evolved from the same idea.

Musically this is a considerable improvement over the debut album because on Rebirth Peter wrote catchy songs with much more prominent keyboard work which all stick in your head while still being metal (to some extent) and are still very far from pop or other music which relies on catchiness alone. The metal elements aren't so different from the debut album, the riffs and drumming tend to accomplish the same roles as before although there are none of the admittedly few idiotic riffs occasionally present on the S/T. The songs here are, like I mentioned before, catchy as hell and this is what makes the album amazing. Peter's clean vocals are as good as ever, somewhat better than the debut album I might say, the catchiness of the songs being aided by the nature of his vocals and their ever-increasing quality.

Electronic and even techno elements exist here and can be found in basically each song, which adds a lot to variety without making this weak, since Peter seems to be comfortable and competent at mixing all this together into a very enjoyable overall result. His skills as a producer don't really need to be mentioned anymore and the production on Rebirth is essentially perfect, ideally suited to this type of music.

Unlike the previous album each song sounds unique, different and is memorable. Naming highlights is pretty difficult since everything kicks ass for the most part, but I suppose that the opener, Supersonic Bitch, End of the Line, Suicide Machine, Parallel to Ecstasy and On And On might all be called highlights, but while I was trying to figure this list out I constantly wanted to add almost the entire album's worth of songs to it…Rebirth basically IS an album's worth of highlights thanks to Peter Tägtgren's incredible songwriting skills. Each song has some awesome unique element to it, like the operatic vocals on Parallel to Ecstasy or the slow-paced low vocals on Dark Fields of Pain, making the whole album exceedingly captivating and addictive to listen to.

This album is where Pain found their sound, where the winning formula with which they've now created five albums and counting was born. It's an excellent album which is definitely worth hearing by anyone open minded enough to enjoy electronic elements in their metal. You won't be disappointed because Rebirth is another masterpiece by one of the world's most talented musicians.