Not sure what’s going on but I normally have a big review pile of stuff that I want to cover but of late absolutely nothing really has made me want to grab it and everything’s been a bit meh. Perhaps it’s that time of year or the doldrums are kicking in. Thankfully as soon as a new Pro-Pain album hit my radar I was on it like flies on shit, after all album number 15 I knew exactly what I was going to get and knew that I was highly unlikely to be in for a disappointment here. Sure enough, couple of plays in and I’m bouncing around like I was half my age and getting accustomed to 14 new bruising anthems of freedom, rebellion and everything else that you get with the NYC veterans. The taste it had left in my mouth was far from foul.
I’m gonna spare the history lesson, if you have not heard of this mob before you must be living under a rock. Gary Meskil has kept his boys on the straight and narrow since the early 90’s and they have been a consistent force that we have always relied on over the years. With the title track honing in with a big beefy yell of ‘Die Fuckers” and a bouncing drum beat it’s business as usual and like the band have never been away, a cliché that would work but they actually haven’t following quick on the heels here from 2013 album ‘The Final Revolution’ which thankfully proved not to be final. The production here is for want of a better word ‘beefy,’ pumped up and hefty with everything well represented in the mix. The chunky bombast flattens, the coarse vocals bellow and roar and most tracks have a quite nifty solo spiralling away in their midst. I have accused Meskil of throwing his voice a bit before and sounding like someone else (asking him about the female vocals in an interview which turned out to be his was an amusing faux pas that I thankfully survived from). However the vocal intro on No Fly Zone an half sounds like it could be Ice T. It’s another track that has a catchy repeated chorus part repeating the song title over a wailing emergency service siren (I’m guessing an ambulance). It’s got it all including a doomy brooding presence and I can see people bouncing around in the pit to it even if it’s not the fastest song they have ever done. You can forget a track by tracks review (there’s only so many ways of saying words like beefy) but things do speed up and rattle away on numbers like ‘Righteous Annihilation’ with juddering riffs and a big groove firing through it.
Having mentioned pit action it would seem after years away and cancelled shows the band are finally back over here although if you want to catch them it means (unless any club shows are announced) it’s Bloodstock or bust but with them nestled between Orange Goblin and Sepultura it’s guaranteed to be one hell of an afternoon. Hopefully they will cause carnage by playing the galloping 1:47 wrecker ‘Take It To The Grave’ there as it’s a punk laden, hardcore anthem in the making at times reminding of ST clamouring for a Pepsi! How exactly they are going to fit so much great material into one short set though is beyond me? On we go with ‘Bella Morte’ having one of the albums best solos ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ having a bouncy mother of a beat and ‘Enraged’ being just a little on the pissed off side as it steams around fists flailing.
There’s absolutely no accusing the band of running out of steam over these numbers, they belt things out from beginning to end and there’s no fat here at all. They manage to save one of the best till last as well and ‘Fuck This Life’ with brilliant closing roar of “and fuck yours too” certainly spoke loud and clear and could be a new anthem for a disaffected generation or bitter and twisted older guys like me. Pro-Pain still got it and long may they continue dishing it out!
(8/10 Pete Woods)