REVIEW: PAIN – “Coming Home”
The mighty Peter Tägtgren is back for the eighth time with his melodic-Industrial Metal alter ego PAIN in the form of ‘Coming Home’. This latest album comes five years after the release of his previous effort ‘You Only Live Twice’ and will be out on 9th September via Nuclear Blast records. Describing the new album in his own words, Tägtgren mentions: “Musically, the album is a development of where PAIN and Lindemann left off; more experimental than what I’ve ever done before. There are acoustic guitars, and Clemens of Carach Angren lent a helping hand with the orchestra arrangements, and some guest vocals. Sebastian Tägtgren also did a great job on the drums.”
True to his words, the album does feature some new facets of songwriting that haven’t been employed in a PAIN album before. Right from the opening moments, the band cranks up the surprise through a bluesy hard-rock riff and super-groovy drum work. The opener “Designed To Piss You Off” is one helluva peppy number that will grab the listener’s attention and make them bounce. The subsequent track “Call Me” is more in line with the core PAIN sound — its thrashy opening riff will pierce your eardrums before the atmospheric orchestral arrangement consume it almost entirely, imparting a supremely powerful tone to the track. Sabaton’s Joakim Brodén joins the party, supplementing the raw warrior vocals. Clemens of Carach Angren does his job incredibly well, providing a thick ambient atmosphere to envelop the catchiness of Tägtgren’s compositions. The orchestra arrangements are quite detailed, and listening closely will reveal many layers in the compositions that the listener will enjoy discovering as they spin the album multiple times.
In the vocals, Tägtgren tilts slightly towards the cleaner vocal style, and reduces the overall grittiness that is usually associated with his style. However, they compensate it by making the compositions super-heavy and intensely powerful. Tracks like “Black Knight Satellite” and “Pain in the Ass” are a perfect amalgamation of heaviness and melody, and the epitome of epicness and grandeur. “Absinthe Phoenix Rising” brings a huge twist by leaning more towards the peppy techno/electro-industrial sound, deviating from the epic and atmospheric sound witnessed thus far. “Final Crusade” is yet another interesting track in the mix that initially doesn’t seem too different from the band’s core sound, but towards the final minute of the track, it suddenly pauses to throw a massive breakdown and a deathly growl that will completely shake you up. “Natural Born Idiot” too incorporates down-tuned monstrous guitars to provide a massive sound, only to be enhanced by a thunderous arrangement on the orchestra.
I have absolutely zero complaints with the sound of the band and the instrumentation. It’s dense and atmospheric, and the epicness will astound you at moments. However, when it comes to the lyrics, I find that this album is all over the place. From a bar fight the band was involved in during their tour to the Black Knight Satellite conspiracy theory, the band diverges a bit too much on the content. With such grandeur in the compositions, some of the lyrics feel too simplistic, and therefore a gross mis-fit. I echo a similar sentiment when it comes to the song titles. While “Black Knight Satellite” is a good fit, “Call Me”, “Natural Born Idiot” or “A Wannabe” doesn’t justify the spectacular orchestration and the epic songwriting they feature. If one can look over these minor flaws, then they may find ‘Coming Home’ to be one of the best albums the band has released thus far.
The production of this album is killer, as expected from the legacy of Peter Tägtgren. The length of the album is a little over 40 minutes with 10 tracks without any filler. Peter Tägtgren’s eighth installment in the band’s discography may end up being one of the finest released by the band. ‘Coming Home’ is a great mix of an ambient atmospheric symphony peppered with Electronic melodies, delivering a sound that is immensely powerful and catchy as hell. The collaboration with Clemens (Carach Angren) and his 17-year old son Sebastian Tägtgren on the drums works very well. Although the album has minor flaws in the lyrical content and overall theme, the epic instrumentation and powerful songwriting do more than enough to compensate for it.