Reviews : Albums : Pain, "Dancing with the Dead"

Pain, "Dancing with the Dead"

Pain is Peter Tagtgren's "money" project, a musical outlet that mixes techno with metal which has allowed the renowned producer and death metal main man the opportunity to rake in some bucks via commercial radio. If the concept of commercialized metal makes your skin crawl, read no further and skip Pain.

The songs are comprised of basic, industrialized, heavy guitars that are accompanied by multi-tracked vocals and various forms of keyboards (from electronica, to synths to acoustic piano). The focus is on mid-paced, stomping riffs and big, catchy choruses. The rhythms and vocal cadence are very similar from track to track, but the pace does speed up and slow down a tad from time to time. Peter did try to differentiate one song from the next with various electronic interludes, minor breakdowns and stops, and while the tracks do blend together initially, each forms its own identity after repeated listens. Still, I suspect Pete will have to write some more up beat stuff next go if he wants the strippers to really dig on this stuff.

Since Tagtgren has been running Abyss Studio for ages, he definitely knows what's up with producing a record, so there's little fault to find on that end. The sound is similar to what Devin Townsend does with Strapping Young Lad, although the focus of the music is obviously quite different. Regarding the mix, the bass could have been bumped up quite a few notches. Groove plays an important role, thus a more prominent bottom end would have helped get the butts out on the dance floor to boogie down and rage on.

The promo kit didn't come with lengthy credits, other than listing Peter as writer, producer, mixer and performer - thus I take it this is a one-man band and the drum machine-like drums are probably, in fact, drum machines. Fancy that. Vocally, Peter sticks mainly to a talky, gravelly mid-range, though he will break out his blackened screams during some choruses. Lyrics are of a personal nature, both about Tagtgren's experiences as well as his observations about popular culture, nothing mind bending, but effective. The guitar playing is simplistic but there are plenty of head-bangin' riffs - of course, no solos. Comparisons to other industrialized acts like Rammstein are easy to make, so I just made it. If you like danceable, industrio metal with memorable vocal melodies, this is your ticket to techno metallic bliss.

Standout Tracks

   Same Old Song
   Tear It Up
   Bye/Die
   Stay Away

D.Berger