Pro-Pain – Absolute Power (AFM Records)

Tuesday, 19th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Is there a more workmanlike band than Pro-Pain? Gary Meskil and crew have long stuck to their metal-infused hardcore roots, rarely straying from the beaten path and along the way, producing some quality, but hardly outstanding albums in the form of The Truth Hurts and more recently (if you want to call 2004 “recent”), Fistful of Hate. No surprises here – Absolute Power follows suit. It’s the same as it ever was.

The introduction of fast tempos on opener “Unrestrained” scores Absolute Power some immediate points, as Meskil’s ferocious bark tends to carry more emphasis when the band is running at a quicker pace. Per the usual, there’s a throng of chunky, but unremarkable riffs being tossed about, none of which do much for “Stand My Ground.” “Road to Nowhere” emerges as the biggest question mark here, with a slow-roasted chorus (complete with female backing vocals) being used to it minimal effect. It’s all a bit awkward, even.

From there, Absolute Power has the pre-requisite punk sing-along in the form of “AWOL,” while “Hell On Earth” introduces some blast-beats (!), something we’re not accustomed to from Pro-Pain. “Divided We Stand” has some quality rumble to it (check out the 1:11 mark), and the pummelling “Rise of the Antichrist” manages to anchor the back-end of the album, with a nice little melodic guitar run from Tommy Klimchuck to boot.

If metal were a dependability contest, then no one would be more popular than Pro-Pain. There’s not a bum album in their catalog, even if none even remotely approach revered status. For some (like Pro-Pain, we would guess), that’s fine and dandy. Perhaps it is better to have a dozen strong albums then one remarkable effort, with the rest being duds. Guess such things don’t concern Pro-Pain. Absolute Power is hard as nails.

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