Pro-Pain Fistful of Hate

Wait, keep reading. I know Pro-Pain have gained a reputation for having a sound and sticking with it (album after album after album…), but with the unfortunately named Fistful of Hate (haven’t they already released an album called that?) these guys have stepped it up a notch. With a sound that’s a bit more metallic, a bit more technical and even more pissed off than before, the album opener, "Can You Feel It?” is maybe the best heavy tune I’ve heard all year. Elsewhere, things begin to get a bit redundant, with all that groove and those metallic hardcore chuggah-chuggah riffs flying around, but then there’s the strange instrumental "The Better Half Of Forever.” This song finds Pro-Pain in new territory; first off, it’s actually longer than three-and-a-half minutes. Secondly, it’s got something other than basic 4/4 time signatures in it; hell, the band is all over the place! What is this, Dream Theater? Fun stuff, and the other album highlight contrasts that nicely, the rollicking "Godspeed,” horn section ablaze, vocals of Gary Meskil reaching new growly highs and lows. Strange to find me enjoying Pro-Pain so much at this point (their ninth studio album!), but that’s what a lot of people seem to be saying. Bizarre. So approach with a bit of caution, because many of the tunes on here that I didn’t mention are what you’d expect, but the aberrations are wonderful warts indeed. Too bad about that cover art, though. (Candlelight)