Pro-Pain - The Final Revolution (SPV/Steamhammer)

A surprisingly effective hangover cure...
Release Date: 
24 Nov 2013 - 11:30pm

It seems barely believable that Pro-Pain, erstwhile standard bearers for samey-sounding metal/hardcore crossover tedium, are still releasing albums twenty one years after I first saw them at London’s Marquee Club (supported by the eminently more palatable Spudmonsters). If nothing else, only original member and band leader Gary Meskil deserves a medal for holding a band together deep into its third decade, in the face of what would seem to be an overwhelming tide of apathy and diminishing returns from album sales.

Of course, I’m MaF editor Scott Adams’ go-to drone for music that sounds like this, and I wasn’t really relishing giving The Final Revolution a spin when he requested me to do so, even to give the album the mauling I expected having to deliver. Anyway I did the deed, late one night and suitably mired in alcohol, and the bloody thing didn’t sound too bad at all. Next morning, in an effort to beat of the inevitably-encroaching hangover, I played it again, louder. And I’ve been playing it ever since, because against all the odds Meskil and company have turned in the best album in the band’s history – even better than their briefly-alluring debut, Foul Taste of Freedom.

Basically they’ve turned in an album that sounds like classic late-eighties NYHC with enough metallic flash to give it a frisson of ‘crossover’ excitement. Tracks like Problem-Reaction-Solution tear at your face like a crazed pitbull sniffing meaty treats, it’s mix of old school Brit punk like Exploited and that ever-present New York sound being particularly irresistible. All Systems Fail is another snorter of a track too, taking on younger pups like Hatebreed and beating them at their own testosterone-fuelled game. 

Want Some? Is slower and recalls the more hard-hitting aspects of that afore-mentioned debut, Meskil’s sandpaper-throated growl front and centre in the mix just like the old days, but truth be told it’s the faster, more metallic work that really causes the excitement here (Mass Extinction almost touches on frantic d-beat in a great stylistic departure), and there’s enough of that on show to make this – and believe me I didn’t expect to be typing this – a must have for fans of metallically-charged hardcore fury. In a word, brilliant, and now I’m off to seek out some of those mid-period albums I possibly foolishly ignored when they came out…