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Pro-Pain

No End In Sight

Review by Mike Korn

Sometimes it takes a band a long time to hit their stride. For Pro-pain, it took about sixteen years. A rock-solid presence in the metal and hardcore community for more than a decade, this band could always be counted on to deliver pounding, catchy metal with a biting lyrical touch.

With No End In Sight, Pro-pain has integrated melody and an almost pop sensibility into its still rugged framework of crunching riffs and metallic thunder. A lot of their earlier albums had a samey quality to them. Here, Pro-pain rolls the dice for a more accessible style and comes up big. I have been playing this disc almost continuously since getting it and I'm still blown away by how completely memorable the vocal hooks are. The pop description above may scare many of the band's bare-knuckled and tattooed faithful, but I think they will come around and agree with me that this is simply the best Pro-pain record ever if they listen with an open mind.

With Pro-pain opening up their horizons like this, there may truly be no end in sight for them.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Let The Blood Run Through The Streets
This first cut kind of eases you into the album with a rough and crunchy anthem in typical Pro-pain style. The great growling vocals of Garky Meskil are snarling out lyrical defiance with the usual gusto. This song could have easily fit on any previous Pro-pain album. That will not be true for the following tracks.
Halo
This is another pretty typical cut, but here we sample the first of many memorable choruses that will stick in your mind. The song is a bitter look at those who climb the corporate ladder by selling their souls.
Hour of The Time
Here's where things really get interesting. Meskil's formerly gruff vocals become much smoother and melodic and in the background, we hear a lot of oldschool punk "whoa-oh-oh" back-up. That leads to an incredibly cool chorus that's unlike anything the band has done before.  "We've got a lot to hate, but a lot of hate to give, so give". Try getting this one out of your head. The guitar riffs and fills are also super strong and the solo is awesome. The vocals are so catchy you almost overlook how heavy the song actually is. This is an amazing track.
To Never Return
This one kicks off in very heavy and punishing fashion, with a killer chugging riff. Meskil growls in singsong fashion as he relates a tale of religious fanaticism and intolerance. Then, to prove "Hour of the Time” was no fluke, we get another terrific chorus...clean gang vocals with an almost triumphant, upbeat feel to them. The climax here is also outstanding, with powerful guitar solos building parallel to Meskil repeatedly snarling "Never Return."
Where We Stand
Lyrically, this is the strongest song on the album...a tribute to all those victims of injustice who have been tortured and martyred through the ages. It starts with quivery, wavery guitar chords before a simple hammering staccato riff brings the heaviness in. The structure of the tune is very basic, but this adds to its strength, as it has a mega-catchy groovy. A fantastic chorus again brings it all home...it sounds very awkward, but again this helps its memorability. This could very well be the signature Pro-Pain tune in their entire catalogue.
Phoenix Rising
I thought the previous 3 tracks represented probably the best output in Pro-Pain's history. This song is not on the same level but it's still enjoyable. It’s very typical crunchy hardcore/metal crossover with a fist-pumping shouted chorus.
Go It Alone
Here's another one of my favorites. I really dig the underlying riffs, which have a lot of catchy energy but also a kind of sad feeling. There's plenty more vocal goodness here, with a real singalong feel and more "whoa-oh"s. The lyrics are less political, more personal this time around, and more hopeful as well. Believe it or not, there are bagpipes here, but they only become obvious at the end of the track, as it builds to a strong climax. 
All Rise!
Here we get a real chunky, chugging tune, with excellent contrast between Meskil's more gnarly than usual solo vocals and the clean singing on the catchy chorus. Tom Klimchuk is not the flashiest guitarist you'll ever hear but the guy really does a fine, efficient job throughout the album.
God's Will
This is another departure for the band. It starts low key and very moodily with the sound of a thunderstorm and minor key guitar before a surging, crushing guitar barrage comes in. Most of the lyrics are taken directly from apocalyptic Old Testament texts and again add to the album's theme of religious oppression. There's nothing upbeat or peppy about this tune...its one of the most ominous songs ever from Pro-Pain.
The Fight Goes On
Fast and angry, this is definitely oldschool Pro-Pain. The chorus is again very strong. As you might expect, the lyrics express the band's defiant stance: "Pain is a virtue and it makes us strong/Together we fight the good fight, no matter how long."
Where We Stand (Ream Mix)
Usually I hate these "remixes" of a song we already know, but this track is so strong, it fully justifies its inclusion here. It reworks the original in subtle ways, shifting that unforgettable chorus to the front and focusing more on bass and drums.  The hideous black metal type screams are courtesy of Meskil's own son, Corey, and add a creepy touch.
 
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