Pain Cynic Paradise

Pain Cynic Paradise
Usually it's the complex albums that take some time to grow on you, so after extended re-play, Cynic Paradise ended up catching me off guard. I'd never call Pain "complex," but Peter Tägtgren's (Hypocrisy) latest industrial metal album just keeps getting better. If you're familiar with Pain's modus operandi over the previous five albums you'll notice a lot of the same themes and sounds here. That includes songs about paranoia, women, living hard and bad attitudes (Tägtgren's variation on the good old "sex, drugs and rock'n'roll" themes), plus hard driving, distorted riffs, a heavy groove, techno synths and even a little orchestration. Less expected is the electro-fied country drinking song in the first half of the album. Apparently, Pain took a more band-oriented direction on these recordings ― Tägtgren handing over the performance reins now and then ― but it's hard to tell. The guest performances by current Nightwish singer Annette Olzon are much more obvious, but she blends in surprisingly well. After years of overseas success, Nuclear Blast is actually releasing this latest Pain record domestically in North America, and it's about time. Cynic Paradise is easily addictive enough to make the gamble pay off. (Nuclear Blast)