Once again I’m given the task to cover a review about a new-coming sludge metal band from the US. This time, the band I’m about to review is Armed For Apocalypse, from Chico, California.
A landmark of the whole New York scene, the legendary Pro-Pain are returning two and a half years after their previous album ”Absolute Power” to give us their thirteenth album in their twenty year history entitled ”Straight To The Dome”. Pro-Pain can surely be characterized as workaholics, as they have never had a bigger gap from album to album than the two years pause they get us used to every time. This time we have the entry of new guitarist Adam Phillips in the place of the long year colleague of leader/bassist/vocalist Gary Meskil and recently departed guitarist Tom Klimchuck who had been in the band all these years (except ”The Truth Hurts” album).
As usually, the band offers a very pleasant and fistpunching album to listen to, it is admitted that it is most probable for other awkward thing to happen first and then could Pro-Pain release a mediocre album. They have done masterpieces of hardcore such as debut ”Foul Taste Of Freedom” and follow-up ”The Truth Hurts” to the grand breakthrough they did in the late ’90s/early ’00s mainly with the three albums ”Act Of God”, ”Round 6” and ”Shreds Of Dignity”. Since then they have been following their course with very good albums, some more and some less and ”Straight To The Dome” is a really good one this time.
It seems that the new guitarist brought a new feeling to the band who plays like sounding very fresh. The three first tracks prove that it is an effort to catch the listener from the very first listening of the album. The 94 second sixpounder title track starts the attack which is followed by ”Payback” and ”Nothing Left” and in less than seven minutes, the first impressions are already on the side of the band. The tracks that follow to the end with ”Zugabe!” are all around three minutes and cover a greater variety of just hitting everything they could find in front of them. More goods are presented to you as the album flows.
Pro-Pain may have used much more metallic sounds through the years, so to end up being characterized as a groovy/thrashing band, a fact that has made them be rejected by the die-hard hardcore fans and get more embraced by classic metalheads (just as it had happened with Biohazard once). The difference is that Pro-Pain continue playing heavy and obsessive music, being a band that plays everywhere no matter the capacity of each club or festival they perform (those who have seen them live know that first they play, then they finish and they barely talk during the tracks, a run’n’gun situation that everybody likes).
This thirteenth album offers about forty minutes of mainly hardcore anthems, with a little metal touch coming from thrashy elements here and there (the band never hid they are thrash fans after all) and in the end, one more Pro-Pain album is added in your personal playlist. It doesn’t matter if it’s ”Straight To The Dome” or another album by theirs, the result is that they always find a way to keep you close to them and make you admire them even more as the years pass by. A very good release by a great band which may never get the recognition it deserves, but will always go their way without caring at all about such stuff.
|Track List||Line Up||
01. Straight To The Dome
03. Nothing Left
04. Bitter Pill
05. Puire Hatred
06. Sucks To Be You
07. Bloodlust For War
08. A Good Day To Die
09. Fallen Son
12. Egg Raid On Mojo (Bonus Track)
13. Destroy The Enemy (Original Demo Version 2010) (Bonus Track)
14. Stand Tall (20 Years Of Hardcore Tour 2011) (Bonus Track)
15. Pound For Pound (Live In Sittard, NL, 2011) (Bonus Track)
Gary Meskil – Bass, Vocals
Rick Halverson – Drums
Marshall Stephens – Guitars
Adam Phillips – Guitars