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Pain - "Cynic Paradise" (CD)

Pain - "Cynic Paradise" CD cover image

"Cynic Paradise" track listing:

1. I'm Going In
2. Monkey Business
3. Follow Me
4. Have A Drink On Me
5. Don't Care
6. Reach Out (and Regret)
7. Generation X
8. No One Knows
9. Live Fast - Die Young
10. Not Your Kind
11. Feed Us
12. Here's The News

Reviewed by on July 10, 2013

"...it's sure to be another staple of the genre in years to come and appreciated for its dependability and accessibility."

With a past that involves emigrating from Sweden to the United States, moving back to Sweden, engineering the records of a massive amount of bands along with his own outfit Hypocrisy (as well as owning a village in Sweden!), nothing quite describes Pain main-brain Peter Tägtgren like the phrase, "all over the place." As a reflection of its creator, "Cynic Paradise" can be described the same. The precursor to 2011's "You Only Live Twice," Tägtgren's sixth album lyrically takes aim at many subjects while pushing his industrial metal aesthetic further.

At this point in the Pain chronology, Tägtgren opens things up a bit for some fun. Half of the album sees him riding the Devin Townsend Project wave ("Addicted" era), as with the opener, "I'm Going In" and its gigantic chorus vocal layerings and shrill demon-shrieks for verses. "Monkey Business" gets right to business with a bit of a Scar Symmetry structure and feel. What's notable here is that the industrial side of the metal isn't under- or over-done, striking a nice balance of musical dynamics.

Tägtgren is known for his unrelenting style, but becomes more enigmatic in light of outlier songs like the slide guitar fueled and sleazy "Have A Drink On Me" and the beat-centric freakout "No One Knows." "Follow Me" and "Feed Us" feature former Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon, the former a synthesizer-heavy industrial pop ode to trouble and the latter a rant on mass-media troublemakers. "I Don't Care" and "Generation X" also boast lyrical pointed barbs at certain individuals, the latter an obvious rant aimed at the shadow figures in charge of the rapidly-changing music industry that still cling to old paradigms - Tägtgren himself defines his life stance as "Live Fast -- Die Young."

Tägtgren also flexes his production muscles by showing some seriously balanced mixing skills and high compression levels without killing the dynamics. The mix work on the instrumentation, especially the drums, programmed beats, and vocals is bright and punchy without being overly so. From start to finish, the album carries the Pain stamp admirably without attempting to push the envelope for industrial metal. In doing so, it's sure to be another staple of the genre in years to come and appreciated for its dependability and accessibility.

Highs: "Live Fast - Die Young," "Feed Us," and "Not Your Kind"

Lows: Knowing English as a second language causes grammar issues like, "I'd rather lose my liver than to lose my pride"

Bottom line: Vicious but fun industrial metal that should be considered canon in several years.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)