Pro-Pain-Straight To The Doom
With Pro-Pain the more things change the more they stay the same. Formed in 1991 by vocalist/bassist Gary Meskil and drummer Dan Richardson (both formerly of the under appreciated Crumbsuckers), this New York based hardcore/metal band has seen it's fair share of line-up changes (Gary is the sole original member these days), but has never deviated too far from their original purpose. With their latest album, "Straight To The Dome" (lucky number 13 for the gang!), Pro-Pain unleash a furious mixture of hardcore and metal. "Straight To The Dome" (which was recorded at Little Creek Studio in Gelterkinden, Switzerland) is 11 tracks of fury designed to melt faces. V.O. Pulver (of Switzerland's Gurd) was brought in to handle the production of album number 13 and the result sounds like Pro-Pain all right. If anything though it's probably closer to where the band started then where they ended up. Sure Pro-Pain have always been Pro-Pain, but the band did incorporate some groove elements along the way. But, sometimes life brings you right back to where you started or even where you should have started from...or continued from (perfect example is my life now with my girlfriend-it's where I started out at and should have continued from originally) as is the case here. With "Straight To The Dome" bassist/front man/Pro-Pain's spiritual leader (after all Pro-Pain is not just a band, but a way of life!) Gary Meskil sounds just flat-out PISSED. More so then usual. I can only imagine what his blood-pressure must be like. Wow. It's good for us those that love old-school hardcore though. Look at the album's second cut fpr example. "Payback" is old-school hardcore that is full of so much pissed off frustration that you can imagine the veins just popping out of Gary's head as he screams into the mic! Same goes for "Nothing Left" which is 99 % hardcore (the extra 1% is some slamming metal guitar riffs). "Nothing Left" is a track where you do here some of that groovy shit that the band has dabbled in, but more then anything this sounds like the Pro-Pain that laid down the sonic ass whipping that was on display on their 1994 album, "The Truth Hurts", It's heavy and crushing and makes you want to break things. It makes you want to slam dance (which for a 39 year old like me with brittle bones is a REAL BAD IDEA) and do the "Toxic Waltz". All that is good and well, but if your sitting there waiting for the big "BUT" moment here it is: It all sounds a bit too alike...song after song after song. So, you weigh that factor against the heaviness, pent-up rage and fury that album number 13 showcases and you have to decide if it is worth it or not. As the band flirts with crossover (take a track like "Sucks To Be You" that has punk, hardcore and charming 80's thrash riffs) and, in the process also lays down an album that is more Cro-Mags and Warzone then groove metal, tries to recapture some of the lost energy of the scene you do have to admit that this is a strong album that shows Gary Meskil still has some tricks up his sleeve.