I’ve never quite got my head around open-plan office space and those waist-height cubicles. Yes, your hive of corporate activity looks wonderful photographed from seven different angles; prominently displayed on your enterprises website. Oh and let’s not forget about the collaboration! But what’s the cost? Stress-induced irritability, hostility towards creativity and productivity, anxiety and ongoing health issues. Oh wait, collaboration just flew out the window… Where am I going with this? Music. More specifically, metal. Pain have proved themselves inconsistent over the years and as with most things in life, with the good comes the bad. Dancing with the Dead hit hard and fast – fist pumping chugs, rousing melodies, lively symphonics and inciting lyrics you can’t budge with a crowbar. Psalms of Extinction and Cynic Paradise belly-flopped, leaving my playlist almost as quickly as they were added, but You Only Live Twice aggressively became my guilty metal pleasure; the lyrics resonate and the harsher vocal styles electrify.  Might “The Great Pretender” have been a clue as to Pain‘s mindset with lines like “It’s a real fine line between being good and being bad.” “Might as well crash and burn because we’re never ever gonna learn.” However the dice fall on Coming Home, I’m fired up!

From the onset of Coming Home, it’s clear that Pain are still peddling their familiar mix of heavy metal, industrial and techno. “Designed to Piss You Off” begins with an unexpected country rock vibe before quickly heading into done before techno-metal territory. Though a little on the long side, the track slams you with striking tempo changes and the right melody, aggressiveness and parasitic catchiness. “Call Me” makes a decent enough entrance, chugging along with Crematory styled flare before introducing Fleshgod-type symphonics that, while maintaining richness, fall short in density.

Though probably being top-notch stripper metal, “Call Me” is where Coming Home‘s other obvious faults start making themselves apparent. “Call Me” suffers greatly in the lyric and vocal delivery departments. While lines like “Call me! Like a genie in the bottle, I’ll rub you the right way” might sound cutesy delivered by a pouting Katy Perry, when they’re delivered by Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy) they just sound downright sleazy. A guest appearance by Joakim Brodén (Sabaton) exacerbates the situation, hindering the track more than helping it. “Pain In The Ass” takes this a step further. After a short intro mimicking “The Great Pretender” (You Only Live Twice), the song heads down the catchy path of “Dirty Woman.” While this worked for Pain in the past, the new track is ruined by the crude and tacky nature of its lyrics. What Monster Magnet get away with in “She Digs That Hole” (Cobras and Fire), Pain bungle.

pain-coming-home-02

Overall the flow of Coming Home seems disjointed and as the album progresses my interest wanes. You’re amped for a song or two then Pain brings you down, breaking the momentum. Songs like “A Wannabe,” “Black Knight Satellite” and “Absinthe Phoenix Rising” are run-of-the-mill offerings with overly simplistic/generic lyrics, serving little purpose other than what seems to be delivery on their record label commitment. Other tracks like “Coming Home” closely resemble the somber memory of “My Misery” (Dancing with the Dead) without the heavy engagement that drives the song home. Lyrically and musically the title track feels intensely personal, like that of a journey of self discovery. Thoughts of too much time on the road, a guy getting on in years and the knowledge that it takes physical hunger to truly create art become apparent1. By the end of “Coming Home,” it’s obvious that the song is overly long and intrusive and even misplaced on the album. Had this been the last track, it may have done a lot to improve the back-end of Coming Home.

Much like Crematory‘s techno-metal fusion, Pain‘s “Final Crusade” offers an aggressive intro, triumphant attitude, nifty djenty interludes and a chorus that sticks like Gorilla Glue. This combined with opener, “Designed To Piss You Off” at least means we get a couple of keepers. Coming Home isn’t the album I was hoping for. For now, I’m sticking  with Dancing with the Dead and You Only Live Twice. You should too.


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 277 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast
Websites: painworldwide.com | facebook.com/officialpain
Releases Worldwide: September 6th, 2016

Show 1 footnote

  1. Why do rock stars insist on writing about how hard it is to be rock stars? Only Gwar did any justice to this kind of sappy complain-core. – Steel Druhm

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  • GardensTale

    Thanks for putting yourself through that Pain. Pretty Painful write-up all in all, really sounds like you were Paining for a reason to give a higher score.

    • Ha, it was to say it again, Painful! I’m a fan of Pain… When their music is good it’s damn good. This was a tough write, I set myself up with high hopes.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I’m not convinced about the whole genie rubbing metaphor. If the genie is in the bottle they’re not really rubbing anyone and it’s kind of a solo thing and best not the subject of a big chorus… But if you’re rubbing them like they’re the genie in the bottle you’re either desperately poking a finger into the bottle or creepily rubbing the outside of a temporal bottle prison.
    Either way I don’t think they thought that through… It’s a pass for me. Fair review though Madam.

    • ricin_beans

      In either case, cribbing lines from Christina Aguilera is shameful.

      • Well it’s not like she wrote them.

    • sir_c

      Well, I know what they’ve been rubbing lately, and it ain’t no bottle.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    This is the 7th 2 or 2.5 score review on this site in a row.

    Tough month?

    • That and us giving the newbies a lot of crap to cut their teeth on.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      If it’s 2.5, then it’s technically an average month. You’ve just been spoiled.

    • brutal_sushi

      Was about to post the same thing.

    • Reese Burns

      I’d say it’s been a fairly good month for extreme metal. Just this month we’ve had Uada, Voidspawn and Unfathomable Ruination. Other than them though, there hasn’t been a whole lot.

  • Dethjesta

    Nice review, there was a time back in the 90s I listened to little other than Industrial Metal but I think everything has been done.

    It all sounds rather derivative these days – although It could just be that I’m getting old and grumpy.

  • Huck N’ Roll

    Nice work, Madam! I was worried you were going to like this one more than I did…

    • Initially I loved it, but the more I listened the worse it wore on me. Now that my review is done I’m keen to see what you had to say about the album!

      • Oscar Albretsen

        Oh man, hearing you say that. That tends to happen to me with alot of symphonic metal. Some of my favorite bands/albums are ones that I was a little “meh” on the first couple times I listened to them, but after more listens, i’d find new aspects and they’d grow on me and I’d never stop loving them. But this particular genre often has an opposite effect where the first time I hear something I’ll be impressed, but after a few more listens, the CD ends up at the bottom of my shelf and I never wanna listen to it again.

        I liked “Wannabe” the first time I heard it, but I have a feeling this may be a shrinker.

  • Greg Hasbrouck

    I think you’re being generous with a score of 2.0. This record is truly terrible.

  • Feytalist

    I’m reading this while sitting in an open-plan office with those waist-height cubicles. It’s not so bad. I get to chuck paperclips at the guy across from me.

    Shame about Pain. Some really weird lyric choices sounds like. I generally like Peter Tägtgren and I’ve been in the mood for some proper industrial stuff recently. Oh well. Back to wumpscut I guess.

    • Wumpscut and Leather Strip have these great songs and then so many bad ones where they whine and whine. Das Ich, now that’s an industrial outfit for the ages… save for their later work. You know who I always loved that never got enough credit? Prick. Granted it was industrial rock, it was really good stuff.

      • Feytalist

        Yeah I’m a big fan of Das Ich. Wumpscut I’ve just always liked, good and bad, for some reason.

        Guess I’ll have to check out Prick now. (Phrasing!) Thanks for the rec.

    • Norfair Legend

      Primitive Race just put out an album, kind of a who’s who of industrial on it. Gary Numan’s last album was fantastic, Pig’s new album, Angel Spit’s new one, 16 Volt’s new one…Mesh’s new one if you’re into Depeche Mode

      Provided you’ve not listened to any of these already.

      • Gary Numan’s last album was a beast! I’m still listening to it. Thanks for the tip, I need to check the rest out that you mention.

        • Tom Swinnen

          It’s crazy how impressed I was with Gary Numan his latest album. I was listening to it at work and immediately told one of my colleagues “Dude. Check this out.” even though he knows nothing of the genre nor of Numan, lol. I was just so eager to share.

          • I’d never heard of him myself, I caught a glimpse of the album cover somewhere and had to hear it just based on that alone.

            Prompted me back through his discography but I have to say I think it’s his best work.

            I absolutely get your excitement, sounds like something I’d do too lol!

      • Feytalist

        Oh cool, some new bands :D

        Pig’s great yeah. And do like Gary Numan. Not a super big fan of Angelspit… But I’ll check out the rest for sure.

  • Eldritch Elitist

    Gee, I wonder if the person who designed the cover is a fan of Interstellar.

  • Matt Risnes

    Why have there been so many unbelievably, soul destroyingly awful album covers on the material reviewed here lately? Dear lord in heaven.

    • Oscar Albretsen

      Didn’t think it was all that bad. At least it’s got more colors than just black and white.

    • Every time I see the cover it makes me want to hear Voyager.

    • Jason

      From a composition and design standpoint, I don’t think it’s bad. There’s way worse.

  • Excentric_13073

    I don’t know if Peter’s produced a truly great album in years. He kinda seems out of ideas and tired, to me. This is coming from a huge fan of his work, as Hypocrisy Destroys Wacken was my gateway drug to death metal. Accurate review, sums up the album quite well.

    • Whilst I do love Hypocrisy a lot, they have always been a bit hit and miss. The only album that I think is great all the way through is the self-titled album, but The Arrival and A Taste of Extreme Divinity are both worthy latter-era albums.

      • Excentric_13073

        Yeah, I would say that Virus belongs on the list, but regardless there’s definitely been highs and lows. I just feel like Peter’s turned out a few repetitive albums lately; it just seems like there’s not much excitement for his own music currently.

  • Jason

    Think I’ll pass on this and continue waiting for the next Hypocrisy.

  • Thatguy

    Thanks Madam X, It’s a 1.5 for me because I had no expectations of them.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    I’d never heard this band before this review, but I actually kinda like this tune “A Wannabe.” Very up-front with the symphonic elements, and the song had a pretty good structure, although it didn’t exactly blow my mind, definitely didn’t sound like something I’d skip over. But before I buy this album, I’m gonna check out some of the songs on “You Only Live Twice.”

    • Enjoy!

      • Oscar Albretsen

        Got my fingers crossed.

  • The Unicorn

    Your opening paragraph rings true to this Unicorn, and plays ‘me rainbow heartstrings Madame.

    soul. Crushing. HELL.

  • Brian

    “Dancing with the Dead hit hard and fast – fist pumping chugs, rousing melodies, lively symphonics and inciting lyrics you can’t budge with a crowbar. Psalms of Extinction and Cynic Paradise belly-flopped, leaving my playlist almost as quickly as they were added”

    Wow, I had no idea that someone else felt exactly the same way as me about those 3 records! DwtD is just so good on all levels. I was in that listen-to-the-heaviest-metal-you-can-find phase at that time but even through that, DwtD just floored me. The 2 follow-ups didn’t even come close and disappointed me so much that I didn’t even bother with the last one.

  • Vince Rayner

    I work in an open plan office – it truly sucks!

  • Bas

    Great to see a review from you again Madam ! Its was fun to read, but I hope the next time you will provide us again with some obscure black, necro and depressing stuff ;-)

  • brklyner

    What have strippers ever done to you? :)

    Aside from that your review was very much on point. To me this stuff is completely unlistenable.

  • sir_c

    Some years ago I bought Psalms of Extinction for about 2 Euros in a pawn shop cos I saw it carried the name of Peter Tägtgren. I made it halfway to track 2.
    This new album ain’t much better, if the embedded song is representative for the remainder of the album.
    It’s not very often the band name appears so appropriately chosen.