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Pro-Pain - "20 Years Of Hardcore" (2-CD Set)

Pro-Pain - "20 Years Of Hardcore" 2-CD Set cover image

"20 Years Of Hardcore" track listing:

1. Damnation (5:33)
2. Hands in the Jar(3:59)
3. Someday Bloody Someday (1:28)
4. True Liberation (3:50)
5. Foul Taste of Freedom (2011 Re-Recording) (3:28)
6. Make War (Not Love) ( (2011 Re-Recording) (4:34)
7. Denial (2011 Re-Recording) (3:19)
8. Shine (2011 Re-Recording) (3:35)
9. Keine Amnestie Für MTV (Böhse Onkelz Cover) (2:49)
10. Unrestrained (Live) (3:29)
11. Three Minutes Hate (Live) (2:48)
12. Can You Feel It? (Live) (3:00)
13. UnAmerican (Live) (4:31)
14. Neocon (Live) (2:55)
15. No Way Out (Live) (2:34)
16. Fuck It (Live) (2:25)
17. Draw Blood (Live) (3:13)
18. The Shape of Things to Come (Live) (2:11)
19. In for the Kill (Live) (2:57)
20. Let the Blood Run Through the Streets (Live) (2:12)
21. Foul Taste of Freedom (Live) (3:04)
22. All for King George (Live) (5:05)
23. Destroy the Enemy (Live) (5:08)

Reviewed by on December 12, 2011

"Ever since [1992] the band hasn't produced anything that would be considered classic to the point that it was even memorable, though Pro-Pain does have a propensity for catchy riffs."

It’s hard to believe that Pro-Pain celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with the compilation release "20 Years Of Hardcore," which is a package containing a double audio CD and DVD. When evaluating a compilation CD it is important to show the value of the material to the purchaser, since record companies are notorious for releasing compilation albums for quick cash (check out the plethora of them for Judas Priest) that are little more than the same rehashed songs lifted from album releases.

However, for this release, AFM Records includes four brand new tracks, a smattering of newly re-recorded older songs, one cover, and a ton of live stuff from the band's show in Brno, Czech Republic. The value is there, but has Pro-Pain really produced anything of material value since the debut release "Foul Taste of Freedom"? If you find that slightly melodic thrash/hardcore/crossover with little variation on the theme appealing to your tastes, or if you are a hardcore fan of Pro-Pain, then this is a great pickup for the value.

I'll admit that in 1992 I was one of the first in line for "Foul Taste of Freedom." At the time it was fresh and heavy and most of all it wasn't grunge. It was an enjoyable release and still is. However, ever since the band hasn't produced anything that would be considered classic to the point that it was even memorable, though Pro-Pain does have a propensity for catchy riffs. Over and over, the band has smashed the faces of listeners with punishing riffs and the grating vocals of Gary Meskil. Seemingly unnoticed, the band released eleven albums since 1992.

New tracks "Damnation," "Hands In The Jar," "Someday Bloody Someday," and "True Liberation" are the same basic formula the band used on the 2012 release "Absolute Power." The songs are decent numbers if you are preparing for a fist fight. "Someday Bloody Someday" is a very speedy and catchy song, but really there is nothing stunning here. The cover of "Keine Amnestie Für MTV" ("No Amnesty For MTV”) is the highlight of the release. A catchy tune originally recorded by Böhse Onkelz on the "Dopamin" LP (2000), the Pro-Pain rendition here does it justice.

Newly re-recorded tracks "Foul Taste Of Freedom" (from the 1992 album of the same name), "Make War (Not Love)" and "Denial" (from the 1994 album "The Truth Hurts") and "Shine" (from the 1996 album "Contents Under Pressure") all are step ups in sound quality and include performances of Pro-Pain alumni J.C. Dwyer and Mike Hanzell (two of the seven former drummers in the band's history) and Rob Moschetti (Generation Kill) (one of the five former guitarists). Certainly, the material is representative of the band's best throughout its history.

The live set from Brno, Czech Republic is quality recording with the crowd noise buried a bit. I would have enjoyed the reaction of the fans as they formed a pit to such songs as the uniquely Czech didies "Unamerican" and "All For King George." All in all, it is a blistering set of repetitious hardcore thrashing with "F*uck It,"In For the Kill" and "Destroy the Enemy" to name a few.

"20 Years Of Hardcore" is both a worthy introduction to Pro-Pain as well as a value release for hardcore fans of the band, if it suits your tastes.

Highs: Good value for a compilation.

Lows: The album is the same Pro-Pain you always knew, hardcore thrash with grating vocals.

Bottom line: "20 Years Of Hardcore" may be news to some that Pro-Pain is still around.

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)