Friday, December 28, 2007

Pain Principle - Waiting for the Flies CD Review

Lately my roommates and myself have been playing altogether too much Rock Band on the Xbox 360. It’s seriously way too much fun faking being a real band and rocking out to popular songs from all eras. It also helps that you’re able to download classic songs from metal’s past, such as a group of Black Sabbath tracks or some of the thrash classics by Metallica, like “Ride the Lightening” and “Blackened”. It’s quite a rush ripping through these thrashing, lengthy tracks as compared to some of the slower crap in the game (the Yeah Yeah Yeahs put me to sleep). As I'm listening to Waiting for the Flies, I can’t help but catch myself wondering how much fun it would be to play these songs in Rock Band, since they're speedy, have some nice solos, and are covered in a modern thrash gleam.

Pain Principle have been around since 1993, with roots in the Florida thrash scene. Unlike some long ago formed bands, Pain Principle have managed to update their sound with the changing of the times instead of sticking only with what worked in the past. Sounding like a mixture of Nightrage, Dew Scented, and Pantera this album captures the thrashier side of late 80’s metal while throwing in some very modern metalcore elements, such as some well placed Gothenburg styled breakdowns and bridges. There is also a moderate deathcore influence that can be felt, especially on tracks such as “What the Dead Whisper”, which sounds like a mix of My Bitter End and Death.

Vocally, Kevin Bullock is at times a dead ringer for Phil Anselmo of Pantera and Down fame. He’s managed to pull off the best Phil impression since Dave Peters of Throwdown had a love fest for his vocal style on Venom & Tears. Kevin often employs a deeper, throatier growl than Phil did, but when he’s doing the gruffy, sort-of-singing, but sort-of-yelling vocal work, I could almost swear I’m listening to Pantera, which isn’t a bad thing in the least. Frankly, there seems to be very few unique vocal styles in metal today with most frontmen simply trying to do the standard death metal growls.

Waiting for the Flies does have a few pitfalls, however, and the biggest is one that comes with the territory of playing in the modern thrash genre--songs tend to lack uniqueness. The band executes each song superfluously, but until you’ve listened to the CD at least a handful of times, you may have trouble remembering which solo is in which song, whether you’ve already heard a verse structure in another song or not, and other little things.

Downsides aside, this is most definitely a modern thrashcore (is it just me or are there too many *core genres out there?) hit. It’s always nice to have something refreshingly good cross my desk near the year’s end. Usually it’s crap that is sent out for review now in the December lull because, well, it’s crap. Pain Principle are the exception and definitely deserve some year end love, so all you thrash fans go give them some!

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