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Pain - "You Only Live Twice" (CD)

Pain - "You Only Live Twice" CD cover image

"You Only Live Twice" track listing:

1. Let Me Out
2. Feed The Demons
3. The Great Pretender
4. You Only Live Twice
5. Dirty Woman
6. We Want More
7. Leave Me Alone
8. Monster
9. Season Of The Reaper

Reviewed by on July 14, 2011

"His music pulses with the confidence of an expert songwriter totally on top of his game, who knows exactly what works, and who gives his fans what they want."

“Music is everything to me,” says Peter Tägtgren, Swedish metal mastermind. “I’ve been through two divorces and a whole world of shit… but still it is the most important thing in the world to me.” Really, what more explanation do you need from the prolific musician and producer who has helped pioneer entire subgenres of metal, introduced dozens of bands to a worldwide audience, and soldiered on with two unstoppable and influential projects – Hypocrisy and Pain – over two decades?

This year, the latter band is reaffirming Tägtgren’s creed and mission statement. “You Only Live Twice” is his eighth studio album under the Pain banner, and it bursts with equal parts testosterone, sensitivity, brutality, melody, and all-consuming cool that make up the essential Tägtgren. Again handling all instrumentals and vocals, and picking up where his last offering, “Cynic Paradise,” left off, he unleashes his musical soul in a barrage of hyperdriven, danceable industrial metal with an infectious rock ‘n’ roll vibe.

This is possibly Tägtgren’s best-rounded and most satisfying Pain album; nearly all facets of his musical repertoire are displayed. The bulk of “You Only Live Twice” is bookended by some thrashy fury, in the form of opener “Let Me Out” and penultimate track “Monster,” that might’ve felt at home on Hypocrisy’s “Virus.” Between them lies a thick, atmospheric slice of electro-metal, rich in synths and precise in riffs, that ranges from up-tempo stompers (“The Great Pretender,” “We Want More”), brooding emotion (“Leave Me Alone”), a tongue-in-cheek rock anthem (“Dirty Woman”), and more. Unlike his harsh screeches and growls in the death metal of Hypocrisy, Tägtgren’s more melodic stylings here walk a precarious tightrope between melancholy vulnerability and chest-thumping, couldn’t-care-less rockstar bravado, and ensure that your mood won’t drift too far in one direction. Pain radiates pleasure as much as it does its namesake sensation.

Judging from Tägtgren’s more recent musical efforts in both his main projects, “You Only Live Twice” is a perfectly natural, if not outright predictable, sonic offering, and there’s nothing wrong with that. His music pulses with the confidence of an expert songwriter totally on top of his game, who knows exactly what works, and who gives his fans what they want. Until the yin of the next Hypocrisy disc, spin some Pain and enjoy the yang.

Highs: "The Great Pretender," "Dirty Woman," "Leave Me Alone"

Lows: At nine tracks of average length, the whole affair feels a tad too brief.

Bottom line: Solid, heavy, groovy, and catchy industrial from one of metal's most gifted and reliable musicians.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)