Act of God (Nuclear Blast)
by Scott Hefflon
Pro-Pain return with newfound energy. Ya gotta give these guys credit for stickin’ to their guns and pounding away at the same few chords. While my attention’s been diverted in recent years from this tried-and-true approach, Pro-Pain remains as valid as ever. Not as slow, chugging, and ultimately tiresome as their last record (the self-titled released on Mayhem), and more exciting then Contents Under Pressure (on Energy, the band that kept that label going as long as it did), perhaps Pro-Pain have finally found a somewhat permanent home on Nuclear Blast (and in Florida, where they recently relocated, gaining a couple new members named Eric). Perhaps Florida revitalized the band, seeing as they haven’t sounded so raw and volatile in some time (the problem with becoming comfortable and always being surrounded by people who tell you you’re good).
Florida is well known for creating many a great death metal band, not to mention being a hotbed for metal in general. And it’s surprising that the band’d have to leave New York to part with the “tiresome trudge,” but there’s a shredding quality that’s been missing for some time. Production-wise, Pro-Pain has always handled their own records (mishandled, in some cases), and while Act of God has a surreal sound (remember your first impression when you heard …And Justice for All?) – the guitars sounding like they were run straight into the board and the very loud drums sounding like a very digital plomp! – it sure sounds good really, really loud. For those into “new metal,” this has a lot of non-wank solos, walls of guitar, and a vocal roar that’s definitely Gary Meskil. Truthfully, Pro-Pain haearned the right to be a sound unto themselves (an almost ten year history’ll do that), but “new metal” describes the sound well enough for those who, for some reason, have never heard these guys. Like White Zombie is White Zombie, Pantera is Pantera (and Korn is the most overrated band in the heavy music industry, but that’s up to you to figure out – stop looking at the cover of A.P. to figure out who’s good!), Pro-Pain have earned the right simply to be Pro-Pain.
(PO Box 43618 Philadelphia, PA 19106)