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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.