This Week In Badass: Celebrating 20 Years of Hardcore with Pro-Pain (and Introducing Iron Lamb)

Written by Music, This Week in Badass

Dave Steed checks out Pro-Pain as they turn 20 and gets his first taste of the Iron Lamb.

This Week in Badass is going to take a look at all the killer music that has reached my ears in the current week, whether it be music that was just released or items coming out in the near future. You might even get some vintage badass to get you through your weekend as well. Music will be ranked on the badass’ness scale — which of course goes to 11, the only true way to measure if something kicks ass. So throw your horns up and get ready to headbang along. Bands are bolded the first time they are mentioned if you want to scroll through to see if there’s someone you like.

As mentioned previously, I’ve been really into Spotify lately. If you don’t have an account, go sign up for a free one at their site. You can listen to so much music for free, it’s simply amazing. And, you can share playlists with others – so each week I’m going to put together a playlist of things I’ve been listening to in the past week and if you have an account, all you have to do is click on the link below and it will take you right to that playlist to listen to the tracks. If you subscribe to it, it will get updated every Wednesday, so you’ll get the playlist two days before you see it here.

TWIB Weekly Mix

1991 was the year Pro-Pain formed. I started listening to them in 2010 and have since grown to love their catalog. Better late to the game than never at it at all, right? By now you know that I have never really been into hardcore but it wasn’t until last year that people started turning me on to various types of hardcore that both eased me into a genre that I had misconceptions about and showed me what was great about the bands that do it right. So here in 2011, my favorite fucking label, AFM, is releasing 20 Years of Hardcore (badass’ness: 10/11) celebrating the long run of Pro-Pain.

To me, Pro-Pain is hardcore for beginners and that’s really where I’m still at. Don’t take this the wrong way though. That’s not meant to be a negative statement. Instead, Pro-Pain over the years have taken straight hardcore and added elements of groove metal and thrash into their sound to create a sound that is really accessible for the masses. To me, they are the group that could be presented to a novice and if they like it, then move them on to something harder. But I’m not even sure I need something harder because I still want to kick ass after listening to them.

20 Years of Hardcore features a CD with four new tracks, four re-recordings of old classics, one cover tune and a 14 song live album recorded in the Czech Republic. It also has a DVD which feature multiple concerts, fan shot footage and more. I didn’t even bother requesting the DVD because I just don’t watch them, but the audio portion is killer.

Led this entire time by Gary Meskil’s voice, they have taken a sound and expanded it over the years, however they pretty much have a defined formula that has worked quite well for two decades. It’s no different in this package. The four new tracks are hugely melodic but with fierce riffs. “Someday Bloody Someday” will be a little too melodic for some as it’s got almost a pop element to it but damn if it isn’t catchy.

For the four re-records, Meskil brought in various members that had been with the group in the last decade or so with JC Dwyer on drums for “Foul Taste of Freedom” (off the 1992 debut of the same name). Eric Klinger joins on guitar for “Make War Not Love” (from 1994’s The Truth Hurts) while Mike Hanzell takes the kit and Rob Moschetti returns on guitar for both “Denial” (also from The Truth Hurts) and “Shine” (on 1996’s Contents Under Pressure). All four of these take on a much more modern sound and all become much groovier and more powerful than the original versions.

The live show is a blast too. Classics like “Three Minutes Hate,” “Neocon” and  “Destroy the Enemy” are represented nicely here with the band as tight as they’ve ever been. Listening to the live disc was a way for me to at least try to understand the energy they bring to the stage. Either way though, new tracks, old tracks, live tracks, killer fuckin’ tracks all around.

Another fist pumping record comes out on the 29th on Pulverized records – the debut from Iron Lamb called The Original Sin (badass’ness: 9/11). Iron Lamb is a Swedish group featuring members of Dismember and General Surgery as well as a few of the dudes from underground band, Repugnant. My eye was initially caught due to the fact that Grga Lindström is in this band as well as possibly being in the mysterious Ghost – one of my favorite new bands of 2011.

This isn’t anything like the doom laden ’70s vibe of Ghost however. It’s blisterningly fast Punk’n’Roll with the really nice thing being that each song isn’t a minute and a half. All the songs on the record have time to really showcase the main riff and have room to breathe to be able to really get into the heaviness of the tunes. With titles like “Suicide!” “I Don’t Like You” and “I Don’t Wanna Be Like You” you’ve got a bit of angry rebellion which is of course is the must needed staple of the genre.

“Dead Inside”
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