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Reliable suppliers of hardcore-inspired metal - 75%

Felix 1666, February 19th, 2018

"Absolute Power" - the beginning of the album indicates that Pro-Pain do not promise too much. The opener "Unrestrained" lives up to its name. It bursts through the speakers like an explosion and unites the well known stylistic devices of the longstanding band in an exciting way. The track embodies all the features that we love when it comes to the constantly angry four-piece from New York: speed, fury, straightness and a certain groove. Needless to say that an adequate sound gilds the sonic assault. The dense, robust and somewhat ugly production fits the musical approach. And this approach, needless to say as well, does not really differ from the sound that the group stands for since its debut. The members of the gang are too old for experiments and / or fans of their own music. This means that complexity and innovation are still no part of their agenda. Maybe the lead vocals sound a little bit more nasty than before, but that's no big deal.

However, the opener sets the direction for the next track. The army is in rage and the brutal "Destroy the Enemy" spreads the ideology of (justified) hatred again. The speedy verses of "Stand My Ground" also celebrate anger in pure form, but this is also the first song that leaves room for some harmonic lines. Of course, I am speaking of a very small quantum of melodies, but the chorus has a relatively clean vocal line. Don't get me wrong, this song does not add another dimension to the sound of Pro-Pain. It just picks up the formula of their previous albums. All of them had some melodic elements and "Absolute Power" also does not focus on harshness exclusively. After the first two bombs, Pro-Pain take the liberty of doing their job less strictly. The background vocals of the fifth track, for example, seem to originate from an old demo of The Offspring. Honestly speaking, the dogma of "Absolute Power" is at risk to crumble during the tracks three to six. The battle-tested dudes offer mid-paced tunes that are based on their tried and tested method. These songs do not fall short of expectations, nevertheless, I miss the steely determination that the two openers mirror. The same goes for the nearly lenient chorus of "Gone Rogue (I Apologize)". A good number, no doubt about it, but a little bit more aggressiveness would have been fine.

In view of these nuances, I guess I am in danger of losing the big picture. It is therefore time to get back to the basics. Pro-Pain avoid half-baked songs, all of the ten pieces are worth listening to. Furthermore, the material sounds authentic. This band is no gathering of clowns or actors; the integrity of the protagonists is beyond doubt. Come hell or high water, one always gets the expected dose of hardcore-influenced metal. The playtime also gives no reason to lament, the album clocks in at 37 minutes. Only the artwork is slightly mysterious, because I cannot find any anti-communistic tendencies in the lyrics. But this might be the fate of a non-native speaker. Apart from its political allusion, I like the artwork in view of its clear contours. Its clarity goes hand in hand with the musical concept of the veterans, although the album title is misleading, at least to a certain extent. Anyway, "Absolute Power" is more than "just another Pro-Pain album", but a resilient and - in its best moments - excellent work.