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Born From Pain - "Survival" (CD)

Born From Pain - "Survival" CD cover image

"Survival" track listing:

1. Sound Of Survival
2. State Of Mind
3. Sons Of A Dying World
4. The Wolves Are Loose
5. Never Die
6. Final Collapse
7. Endgame
8. Zeitgeist
9. The Hydra
10. Zero Hour
11. Under False Flag

Reviewed by on March 24, 2009

"Despite the bleak lyrics, musically the record is spot on. It is fast and heavy, but also just interesting enough to be good."

Born From Pain is pissed off – I mean really, really pissed off. Their fifth album opens with urban ambiance – sirens, traffic and the like, which eventually gets overrun by guns, bombs, shooting and shouting. After a heavy riff interrupts, vocalist Rob Franssen screams “This is a call for warfare.” And it’s off from there.

Born From Pain believes that “The world is more than ever in a state of disarray and chaos. The powers that be do not seem to care about the people they claim responsibility for and continue to feed their wealth.” The entire album is about this theme. Whether it is war, massacres, riots, famine, wealth – it all comes back to the struggle of the common man against unjust rulers.

Lyrically the concepts are simple and straightforward while Franssen screams and shouts his way to rebellion; just brutal vocals for brutal times. The lyrical themes really do dominate the record, as the band mixes overlays and breakdowns of spoken word messages with Franssen’s vocals. Franssen can be understood easily during the verses, and the listener is left with a bleak slate of death, destruction and despair.

Despite the bleak lyrics, musically the record is spot on. It is fast and heavy, but also just interesting enough to be good. Guitarists Dominik Stammen and Karl Fieldhouse throw in a handful of solos, and the intros and breakdowns are a breath of fresh air from the smog of the chugging riffs. The meat of each song sounds strikingly similar, with down-tuned guitars and sludgy open chords, so the album needs the subtle variations.

Like Born From Pain’s previous albums, this one is short - 11 songs clock at just over 34 minutes. Every song has 3 minutes or less of music, except for “Final Collapse” which is the album’s masterpiece.

“Final Collapse” starts with clips of “expert testimony” on the injustices of the world’s leaders, implicating them on a range of charges, including stoking the population crisis, illicit weapons sales, race-specific bio weapons, and power chasing through genocide and rigged financial systems. The band slowly comes in with a slow, monolithic riff. The verse arrangement is unique, with Franssen’s vocals over a simple sustained chord, not the standard thrash-style riffs. The chord progression itself sounds like a Dimmu Borgir outtake, which is very effective here, as it gives the lyrics room to breathe and take hold, rather than crash down like an avalanche; the listener has time to digest the themes and overlaid messages. This continues through the end of the song, where an outro of old German announcements and yelling makes the point all too clear.

Highs: The music is often hardcore at its best.

Lows: The breakdowns with spoken word overlays are usually heavy-handed and unnecessary.

Bottom line: If you like the idea of a bleak future through hardcore metal, this one is for you.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 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)