June 27, 2015

Sound Byte: Pro-Pain - Voice of Rebellion

I remember when my music tastes were beginning to expand beyond glam metal and grunge in the early-90’s, I felt encouraged to try stuff based on cover art. You remember, back in the day when you could go to a music or movie store and browse stuff, there really is no better way to find some new stuff. Doing this I was turned on to bands like Pantera, Sepultura, Biohazard, and Pro-Pain. I remember listening to that first Pro-Pain album, The Foul Taste of Freedom. That was a pretty solid album and certainly a little different than I was used to, not being much of a punk or hardcore fan. It was also early in the rapping metal days.

It is now 23-years later and only one member remains from the original lineup, co-founder Gary Mewskill. He had founded the band with drummer Dan Richardson out of the ashes of Crumbsuckers. It is pretty crazy how many albums Pro-Pain has released with Voice of Rebellion being the first one since that original that I have listened to. From my estimation, despite the lineup changes over the years, they have not missed a beat. The rapping style vocals have gone, but the barking hardcore-style delivery is still there.

This is not great music, but there is certainly something to be said about the aggressive groove-oriented delivery. Heavy riff and heavy riff dominate this release, paired with Mewskill’s unique voice make Pro-Pain instantly recognizable. They hit the expected level and just live there. There are no peaks or valleys, they just climb to their desired level of testosterone-driven aggressiveness and put it in cruise control.

I really dig this album. There are some fills and solos that hint at some technical skill, but for the most part this is a heavy groove-ridden record that will get you head moving and your fist pumping. I I even went back to listen to some of that first Pro-Pain release, I was surprised to hear an amazing consistency in their sound, plus this new one sounds even heavier with some really crunchy production.

You have to admire the blue collar aesthetic. The Voice of Rebellion is not flashy, it is not trying to get complex and compete with anyone. This record is what it is. It gets in, delivers its message, and gets out. Along the way it puts the sledge down with some great riffing that does not betray their roots. If you are looking for something heavy and crunchy to do your deadlifts to, this should do it.


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