Cynic Paradise (Nuclear Blast)
By Mike Delano
The more music you hear, the easier it is to spot sincerity. Some bands go to great lengths to mask it, while others put it front and center, but there’s a feeling behind the best music that makes it come alive and distinguishes it from the soulless hacks just out to make a buck or get famous. Pain, the one-man project of Hypocrisy founder and death/black metal producer extraordinaire Peter Tägtgren, is endearingly sincere. Far from the extreme sounds that make up his day-to-day, Cynic Paradise is a toweringly poppy and melody-filled slice of polished industrial rock that sits somewhere between Rammstein and Lords of Acid. Like an office worker who cuts loose at night, Tägtgren rejects no idea on his quest for the world’s catchiest anthem, enlisting Nightwish singer Anette Olzon to sweeten up a couple of tracks, throwing lyrical clichés at the wall with reckless abandon, and writing rousing party starters that’ll make Andrew W.K. jealous (“Have a Drink on Me,” “Live Fast – Die Young”). It’s what artists talk about when they say in interviews that they make the music that they want to hear: This album is obviously a labor of love that, even if you don’t necessarily condone some of the hammier aspects of it, is hard not to get caught up in.