Odds are, if Peter Tägtgren is behind something… I’m into it. Be it as a producer, musician, songwriter, whatever. I’ve followed just about everything he has ever been associated with. And with good reason, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve already covered what he may be most known for, that being his death metal project Hypocrisy. But today I want to hone in on a side project in a very different subgenre of metal. And that would be his industrial outfit known simply as Pain.
Unfamiliar? I wouldn’t be that surprised. Pain is a project that actually started back in the mid-1990s, but is an aspect of Peter’s career that only recently caught my attention (2008-ish?). Perhaps it’s because of the part time nature, or maybe it’s because industrial metal is more of a change-up genre for me in general, but either way it took some time for me to understand how glorious Pain’s blend of classic heavy metal with industrial rock could be. Technically, Peter is the only visionary behind Pain, but notable musicians like Horgh, Saroth, Michael Bohlin, among others, have been a part of this project either in studio or on stage. So it is something he takes seriously — but still (and quite obviously) has a ton of fun with. Most recently, 2011 saw the release of You Only Live Twice, and since then Pain have not brought about any news of new music. Regardless, this most recent album is where my list begins…
“Dirty Woman” (from You Only Live Twice, 2011)
I wanted to open with a recent favorite for a number of reasons. For one, the crunch of the lead riff for the verse of “Dirty Woman” coupled with Peter’s octave-higher vocal style is just awesome. Despite the obvious industrial elements, it is a more traditional take on metal from a structural standpoint, and that is a good thing.
“Same Old Song” (from Dancing With The Dead, 2005)
With the next song on my list, we move into a far more industrial/techno direction. Fronted by symphonic elements and simpler guitar passages, “Same Old Song” is one that quickly captivates you with an energetic atmosphere and manages to stay with you after many inevitable repeated listens.
“Shut Your Mouth” (from Nothing Remains The Same, 2002)
Ok, so this one made it onto this list because of the entertaining music video (at least partly). The prominent techno elements aren’t anything special — simplistic really — but they are definitely catchy. The chorus absolutely erupts in epic fashion and the pre-chorus line of “Just wipe your own ass and shut your mouth”… is just the best.
“Here Is The News” (from Cynic Paradise, 2008)
This is the first song I intend to feature from what I think is Pain’s best album. While perhaps not the most complex track in the Pain library, it is incredibly impressive in what it does. High paced from the very beginning, “Here Is The News” is four minutes of poppy bliss that you’ll want to play over and over again.
“Zombie Slam” (from Psalms Of Extinction, 2007)
If Cynic is my favorite Pain album, this is second. Any of these tracks could have ended up on my list, but there is no way I could leave off “Zombie Slam”. As tight and well thought out as the structure of this song is, Peter proves he can still effectively combine seriousness and amusement in one organized package. What an awesome song. Zombies.
“Crawling Thru Bitterness” (from You Only Live Twice, 2011)
The closing track to the most recent album is one that I cannot get enough of. One of the things I liked about You Only Live Twice was the diversity of the tracks. And I feel like “Crawling” showcases plenty of that. It has a bit of a darker, somber feel to it, but never sacrifices the industrial backbone of Pain. In short, it is still very catchy like everything else, especially the layering behind Peter’s vocals throughout the whole thing.
“On And On” (from Rebirth, 2000)
Going back in time a little bit here. But that’s only because I make damn sure this song is on every playlist of every party I’ve ever hosted. Are you kidding me with those leading techno passages? It is so simple yet still so entertaining. And the vocal effects don’t hurt that cause, either. Let’s get weird.
“Bottle’s Nest” (from Psalms Of Extinction, 2007)
A song about partying and alcoholism. Of course it made it on here. But what makes the song work most for me is the way the guitars come and go with the verse and chorus. Peter’s vocal passages are incredibly organized, which makes the song catchy initially. However it is the interplay between the instrumentals that has kept this song on my radar for the better part of a decade.
“Follow Me” (from Cynic Paradise, 2008)
And I’m rounding this whole thing off with the song that turned me to Pain in the first place. “Follow Me” is such a perfect song in terms of overall enjoyment. It is melodic, upbeat, and quite impressive on a lyrical level. And the introduction of Anette Olzon (Nightwish) as a guest vocalist is brilliant. Straightforward perhaps, but such a phenomenal combination of sounds on this one.
And that is really only the tip of the iceberg. I’m not the biggest industrial/techno metal fan in the world, but when it comes to Pain you really can’t go wrong. Rather than embed a Spotify track playlist or whatever at the end of this post, I decided to go the YouTube route. I referenced at least a couple of the many Pain music videos, so now you get a chance to see them for yourself. And they are a lot of fun. So enjoy.
“Ein Bier… bitte.”