Pain – Coming Home (Nuclear Blast)Wednesday, 31st August 2016
Initially coming into the scene in the late ‘90s as a side project for Hypocrisy mainman Peter Tägtgren to delve into less deathly and more industrial and electronic waters, it didn’t take long for the side-project to evolve into a full-scale act, and Coming Home is the eighth album to date, and the first release since Tägtgren collaborated with Rammstein’s Till Lindemann on the Lindemann album, Skills in Pills.
While it’s been 5 years since a true Pain album (discounting the Lindemann release), things continue to move in the same directions for Pain. But there are some new and interesting developments that help to propel the act forwards. An increased usage of “big sounds,” meaning orchestral, synth, and other electronic elements coming together in an epic way. For example, the first single “Black Knight Satellite” has all of the classic Pain elements like driving guitar riffs and industrial rhythms, but the backing synths give it an added boost in the chorus that makes it feel more symphonic and movie soundtrack-like. The same could be said for the more ballad-esque title track and soaring closer “Starseed.” Both of those tracks also rely on some excellent vocal work by Tägtgren, whose clean vocals have always been undersold (at least in death metal circles). Elsewhere, the bluesy/country-esque bounce and groove of “Designed to Piss You Off,” thunderous electronic breakdown (and growl) of “Final Crusade,” and galloping metallic crunch of “Call Me” (featuring Sabaton’s Joakim Brodén), show that Pain isn’t afraid to veer into different directions as needed.
Pain has always been heavier on the “fun” angle than say, Hypocrisy, and Coming Home continues to show that Tägtgren can create danceable hooks while keeping a more metallic mindset. It’s hard to sit still while listening to songs like “Pain in the Ass” and “Absinthe Phoenix Rising,” which is indeed the point of the album. One might jab at some of the lyrics, but given the tone and spirit of the music, it works. Coming Home should satiate long-time fans and earn the band some new ones as well.