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From Scattered Crumbs to a Wholesome Loaf of Bread - 79%

bayern, May 23rd, 2020

Passed through the band’s first three efforts the other day, and since I had so much fun jumping around and singing with fists in the air, I decided to grant them a few lines. Strange that I haven’t done this earlier… well, I did honour the second instalment of Crumbsuckers, this stupendous tech-thrash anomaly which rose from the ashes of a fairly stripped-down thrash/crossover debut. Crumbsuckers, yeah, cause it all started from there before the guys decided that instead of leaving crumbs of greatness scattered all around the metal spectre, they preferred to feed the audience with more commercially-viable and more regularly provided tunes.

Cause when the Pro-Pain endeavour came to life, things had already changed on the scene, and a new player had emerged, stronger and angrier than ever… the incomparable, the one and only Uncle Groove. Welcome uncle, but not so much on the album reviewed here which is still built around the crossover/hardcore heritage the guys providing the marginally more laid-back alternative to their compatriots Madball, the side-project of the Agnostic Front gang, who sprung up at around the same time.

Yep, not so much aggression exuded here as the song-writing is fairly memorable and catchy, and although the rappy Rage Against the Machine-sque goofer “Death On The Dance Floor” may generate some frowns from the purists, there’s nothing wrong with unpretentious frolic sing-alongers like the title-track, the impossibly playful “Pound for Pound”, or the dynamic roller-coaster “Every Good Boy Does Fine” which main melodic refrain will haunt you wherever you go. The simplistic song-writing has no claims at ambition or seriousness whatsoever the guys building their main repertoire around short speedy breezers like “Rawhead” and “Lesson Learned” with “Take It Back (Lost Track)” moshing in a more overtly aggressive Sick of It All-like manner, and “Johnny Black” winking, not shyly at all, at the thrash legacy with both eyes.

The entertainment factor is really high, something that can’t be always said about outfits from the hardcore sector where the more pristine pogo has always been more highly respected. The band bet on more melodic tools and win in the process as the Pro-Pain brand got quickly established on the volatile 90’s scene. Gary Meskil’s vocal talents are debatable at best, but at least his vociferous quarrelsome antics are a sure fit for the music; they may get on someone’s nerves, yes, but you can’t expect a hardcore performer to wail like a seduced ready-to-mate banshee, or unleash soporific pathos-soaked recitals.

The truth didn’t hurt that much two years later as the sophomore was pretty much built around the same memorable tools with an added doze of groove to please the growing for this ingredient audience; a successful formula which was repeated for “Contents Under Pressure” thus reaping the same positive results. Then the self-titled came which saw the guys embracing marginally more aggressive ways of execution; the hardcore core hasn’t been radically changed, but the playful factor has been diminished with the compositions not that easily sticking in the mind. The band stuck to this approach for a lengthy string of albums that are still relevant, including on the more classic-prone contemporary horizon. The dough with the “Pro-Pain” logo on it still delivers, and just a few crumbs from it won’t be enough for one to get the requisite hardcore fix.