Review 2214 : Pain – I Am – English

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Pain is back with a bang!

Created in 1996 by Peter Tägtgren (all instruments/vocals, Hypocrisy, ex-Bloodbath, ex-Lock Up…), the project is back in the news in 2024 with its ninth album, I Am.

The band is naturally surrounded by musicians such as Jonathan Olsson (bass, Dynazty), Sebastian Svalland (guitar, Letters from the Colony, ex-In Mourning), Sebastian Tägtgren (drums) or David Wallin (drums, Hammerfall), during live performances.

The album kicks off with the dynamic I Just Dropped By (to say goodbye), where the catchy rhythm rages on from the outset, combining heaviness with dark vocal parts and soaring cybernetic keyboards. Nothing new in the musician’s recipe, but still raw efficiency and a few howls before giving way to Don’t Wake The Dead, which starts off a little slower but brings back to life the melancholic heady passages that haunt the fairly simple riffs. Back in festive tones with Go With The Flow, whose highly parodic video clip has already been emulated by many, leaving the synth basis and Tägtgren‘s voice to take over a good part of the track, while leaving room for the guitars when necessary, then Not For Sale returns to the musician’s acerbic criticism and blatantly truthful lyrics under a rhythm that’s still lively and danceable. The already well-known and wacky Party in My Head will once again get us shaking and headbanging, as it does at the band’s concerts, before the atmosphere calms down with I Am, the eponymous composition, and its haunting ambience which takes advantage of a certain intoxicating calm to become heavier at times. The album continues between aggression and driving sounds on Push The Pusher, where the Industrial elements skilfully soften the violence of the rhythm, which becomes sharper on The New Norm, creating a contrast with the majestic additions. The choruses are as much dedicated to Goth parties as they are to live performances, then it’s after a howl that Revolution grab us by the throat, integrating a few saturated vocal parts into a veritable digest of unbridled rage that will eventually crush us before the final, which leads us to My Angel where we feel the melodious Old School touch being expressed, in duet with a female voice in French. Much softer and more lilting than the other tracks, it gives way to Fair Game, a final track anchored in hypnotic slowness that closes the album with a tender lull.

Whatever he does, Peter Tägtgren knows how to bring his concept to fruition. I’ve always known Pain as a skilful blend of energetic riffs, danceable Industrial sounds and, above all, that unique touch, and that’s exactly what I Am offers us today. Needless to say, it’s validated.


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