Released: 2010, Regain Records
For the tried and true metal crowd, many may not realize how large the cross-over/hardcore tinged metal scene really is. I’m not an expert, nor a huge fan of this style by any means, but Pro-Pain is one of the few bands that I keep coming back to. Despite the fact that they are too metal for the punk crowd and too punk for the metal crowd, along with a few select others (Stuck Mojo, Biohazard), these guys are one of the few bands that I follow.
So here we are album number 12 or 13 depending on how you count, and ya gotta admire that pit-bull like tenacity of the band. Pro-Pain truly are survivors, label troubles, line-up shifts, and yet here they are in 2010 (20 years later) still cranking it out. Again, line-up changes are abound with Eric (guitar) and J.C. (drums) out and Marshall (guitar) and Rick (drums) are in. Is there a noticeable difference in individual performances? I don’t think so. Pro-Pain has always been the Gary & Tom show with most of the other dudes inter-changeable. I’m not saying the past members (about ten now) weren’t good or valuable members, just that most of them lacked a distinct style that made their presence felt...or missed.
ABSOLUTE POWER is a pretty damn heavy album. Although I haven’t review any Pro-Pain on this site since 2004, I have picked up the few albums in the interim. I’m always impressed with the quality and the initial impact is always positive, but the albums lacked staying power. So despite my lack of appreciation for the overall style, Pro-Pain are the best of the best in this arena and consistently demonstrate that.
ABSOLUTE POWER is admittedly pretty damn crushing, heavy, fast, abrasive most of the hallmarks of a good metal album are present. Gary still sings in his gruff n’ growly, combat ready and battle tested voice, railing against society, politics, government, life and so on. He looks more and more like Peavy from Rage these days! The drums are heavier, faster and more relentless than the last few. In fact some of the songs even border on Death Metal! I’m not kidding. Listen to the last song, ‘Hate Coalition’. Tell me that is not some of the fastest, heaviest hardcore/crossover you have heard in a while!
ABSOLUTE POWER is a good kick to the head, minimizing the hardcore and groove influences and emphasizing the Metal power, as per the album title. At a mere 37 minutes again it hits you and then leaves you wondering what just hit you and wanting more. If you are like me and feel many of the bands albums blur together, do yourself a favour, revisit these guys and you will be nicely surprised.