Act Of God


Nuclear Blast Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


When I discovered the joys of speed metal and grindcore in college, I think what drew me to the music was the brutal intensity of groups like Napalm Death, Slayer and Naked City (though Naked City was not strictly a grindcore band, just the ones that tripped the switch for me).

As I've gone forward in my musical journey of life, I've learned that speed is not always necessary for that level of intensity. Pantera showed me that around the time of Far Beyond Driven, and now Pro-Pain is showing me that with their latest release my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Act Of God. Gary Meskil and crew weren't the first band to play this style of music, but they are the ones who raised it to a whole new level.

The group - vocalist/bassist Meskil, guitarists Tom Klimchuck and Eric Klinger, and drummer Eric Matthews - know that the key to their style of heavy metal is to lay a groove into the intense rhythms they pound out. Anyone can strap on guitars, turn the amplifiers up so high that you're slammed into the wall from the comfort of your easy chair, and bark out vocals; hell, some throw-away bands have made a career of doing just that. What separates Pro-Pain from the pack is that they know how to write a song that makes you tap your foot in time with your headbanging.

One such example of this mastery is on the track "Act Of God". Everything is clicking right for the band, from the infectious verse riffs to the bridge, leading to a chorus that crushes whatever is left of your nervous system. What is also impressive is that Klimchuck and Klinger realize that you can say volumes with your guitar playing without trying to play a million notes in a 20-second solo, or by trying to snap the guitar neck in half. There is quite a bit of musical sensibility contained in this song, and it shows the skeptics that metal can be well-written.

Similarly, "Stand Tall," "In For The Kill" and "Pride" all stand out among their peers as being solid tracks. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to say there was a single weak track on Act Of God... and do I dare say that there is actually a poppy chorus on "I Remain," though in a molten-lead sort of way?

A relatively short album (twelve tracks clock in at just under 36 minutes), Pro-Pain throw everything they have into Act Of God, and the end result is anything but a natural disaster; rather, it's a solid metal album that is a great primer for anyone who wants to discover the brutal power of this genre. I've heard some talk that this album still doesn't measure up to Foul Taste Of Freedom, which I haven't had the pleasure of hearing (yet). If this is true, just imagine what this band is capable of!

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Nuclear Blast Records, and is used for informational purposes only.