"Absolute Power" (Regain; 2010)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

The musical display from veteran NYC hardcore metal squad Pro-Pain is as scathing as ever on their 13th studio offering, "Absolute Power."

Retaining the band’s trademark balance of barking hardcore anthems and groovy metallic melodies, Pro-Pain’s no frills ferocity and authentic crossover tendencies shine throughout this 10-track collection, chugging along with expected aggression (“Stand My Ground,” “AWOL”) while displaying the fearlessness to incorporate other heavy influences into their pummeling paradigm (“Hate Coalition”).

Showcasing some dastardly fretwork with a slab of solid as ever songwriting, Pro-Pain keeps the pit active and the heads banging on their latest in a long line of triumphant metallic hardcore releases.

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"No End in Sight" (Regain; 2008)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Sixteen years on the job and still going strong, chugging out memorable heavy tuneage, Pro-Pain follows up their recent string of solid offerings with "No End in Sight." This 11-track endeavor finds Gary Meskil and crew pumping the usual meat-and-potatoes hardcore metal might with the blue collar work ethic that warrants this band's hard nosed reputation ("Halo," "Let The Blood Run Through the Streets"), yet there's some discernible switches happening throughout this CD that really stand out given their tried and true formula.

The increased implementation of melody (especially vocally, and clean-sung at that), is a pretty stark diversion for this veteran act, as it gives off a modern hardcore approach to cuts like "All Rise" and "Hour of the Time" while allowing this troupe to include another choice layer to its already menacing arsenal. Add a sterling guest guitar spot by Cannibal Corpse's Rob Barrett ("Phoenix Rising") and bagpipes for a stomping pub rock feel ("Go It Alone") to the band's stalwart hardcore metal delivery for more hints of deviation to the steamroller sound championed since Pro-Pain's inception and you can mark this disc as yet another durable release from an always reliable unit with some unexpected aural surprises making perfect fits into their punishing paradigm.

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"Age of Tyranny" (Candlelight; 2007)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Pro-Pain cranks the ferocity to a fever pitch on "Age of Tyranny," the veteran outfit's tenth studio album. 

This NYC quartet is frothing at the mouth with a flurry of nasty riffs ("Iraqnam," "Leveler"), relentless razorblade vocals dripping with disdain ("All For King George," "Three Minute Hate"), and an abundance of punishing yet anthemic rhythms from yesteryear ("Pig In Clover," "Live Free") guaranteed to get the dance floor moving. 

With the focus of the assault squarely on the current state of United States politics, the amalgamation of the band's beefed-up brutality and the impassioned lyrical subject matter really gives this album a emotionally-stirring edge whose potency blasts through your speakers with every shouted chorus (as on "Company Jerk") and thunderous backbeat. 

Pro-Pain always seems to deliver durable discs, but this time they've outdone themselves with an amped-up offering which demonstrates the closest representation of their trademark thrashy metallic hardcore done right since the band's debut. Pick this up and be dared to feel pissed off about the state of the world as Pro-Pain and their resounding new album.

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"Fistful of Hate" (Candlelight; 2004)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Once again I'm here to review Pro-Pain and their latest release "Fistful of Hate." I must say, I like this CD much better than any of their previous CDs. I don't know if Pro-Pain has changed their vocal style or if I have become more tolerant of bands that scream a lot, but "Fistful of Hate" is perhaps the best Pro-Pain CD I've heard.

Frequent readers may know that I am NOT a fan of "vocally challenged" bands. Although screaming sometimes works for a band's particular sound, I can't stand incessant screeching. 

So it's probably a little of both: Pro-Pain have toned down their hardcore screams and I have grown more tolerant of the ever-increasing number of bands that scream their lyrics rather than sing them. Regardless, I really like "Fistful of Hate." In fact, it makes me want to go back and give the band's catalog another listen. 

Don't get me wrong here. The vocals and the music are still aggressive and harsh, but at least I can understand the lyrics on "Fistful of Hate" and that scores points in my book. Pro-Pain has matured as a band - both lyrically and musically - and in that maturity, their message is even stronger and more exciting, pushing Pro-Pain, for the first time ever, into my A rotation. 

As you can see from my previous review, I always liked Pro-Pain's music. Now, with the vocals in order, this band truly fucking rocks. In my opinion Pro-Pain has developed into on of the hardest hitting, most thought provoking bands out there today and have nearly ascended to the level of Zakk Wylde or Rob Zombie. Again, frequent readers will understand how important those two names are to me.

And all this from a band I didn't really even like three years ago.

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"Run For Cover" (Spitfire; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Run For Cover" is another in the seemingly endless (but not entirely unwelcome) line of bands acknowledging their influences by recording an entire album of cover songs originally recorded by the aforementioned influences. There have been plenty of successful cover CDs, and even more unsuccessful ones. Fortunately, "Run For Cover" easily falls into the former category.

The difference between a successful cover album and an unsuccessful one is really simple: It's all about passion. The more a band believes and/or was influenced by the songs being covered, the more powerful the CD.

Pro-Pain's "Run For Cover" is more than a nod to the bands that influenced the band, it's a roaring tribute to them. Instead of just laying down note-by-note cover versions, Pro-Pain gives them new energy and passion. They don't just say "thanks for the inspiration," they say "Hell, yeah! Let's rock!"

As might be expected from a hardcore band like Pro-Pain, the bands covered herein include punk bands and heavy metal bands. "Run For Cover" includes Pro-Pain performing explosive versions of songs by Slayer, Motorhead, Celtic Frost, Sepultura, Black Flag, the Spudmonsters, Discharge and more. All of them kick solid ass. One gets the idea that Pro-Pain is playing the songs the way they remember them, not the way they think they should sound today. There's a solid connection here between band and material that makes "Run For Cover" truly remarkable.

Despite the impressive covers from bands you know (Slayer's "South of Heaven" and Motorhead's "Iron Fist" are standout tracks), one of the more interesting tracks is "Terpentin" by a German band called Bohse Onkelz. I hadn't heard of them either, but Pro-Pain's cover, sung in German, makes you want to find out more about them.

The CD also contains extensive liner notes by the band about each track and what it means to them.

Pro-Pain's "Run For Cover" is going to be in my CD player for a long, long time.

Pro-Pain: Gary Meskil - vocals and bass; Eric Klinger - guitar; Tom Klimchuck - lead guitar; Eric Matthews - drums.

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"Shreds of Dignity" (Spitfire; 2002)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Years ago, when the Foundations Forum convention was the best thing to happen to heavy metal, I got the chance to see Pro-Pain in Los Angeles. Frankly, at the time, I wasn't too impressed with the band thanks to their one dimensional vocal style of death metal shred combined with hardcore aggression.

Now, years later, "Shreds of Dignity" crosses my desk and guess what? The over-aggressive vocals are still present. The music simply cooks - hardcore power chord explosions over speed metal riffs - but the vocal style simply doesn't do it for me. After a couple of cuts, I kind of grew accustomed to it, but I'd rather not have to get used to it.

Pro-Pain is a very talented band and they have developed quite a following but, unless you're a heavy duty fan of hardcore vocal growls, you may have trouble getting into them. Regardless, you can definitely sense the band's immense talent and fans of the genre will probably love it.

Pro-Pain: Gary Meskil - vocals and bass; Eric Klinger - guitar and vocals; Tom Klimchuck - guitar; Eric Matthews - drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2011 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 15:32:20 -0400.