In the modern hall of variable metal styles, melodeath is certainly one of the genres that is overdone the most. There are hundreds of new melodeath bands, that mostly come out of europe, which have zero personality. Their music sounds always the same; the riffs, drumming patterns and song buildups have all been done before. The members in those bands don't love what they do and simply try to gain popularity and fame. Luckily, there are some new, but sadly rare interesting melodic death metal bands left and Pain Confessor is definitely one of them.
Formed in 2002, the Finnish six-piece melodic death metal band has been going strong since then and they have managed to make a name for themselves in Finland. In other regions though (maybe except Sweden), they are mostly an unknown band. Fearrage is Pain Confessor's second studio album and was released in 2006. It was followed by the album Purgatory of the Second Sun which was released in 2007 and is sort of a concept album, handling the topic of world's end which is caused by two suns that are born next to each other. But now, lets move to the album itself.
On a first listen, Fearrage is your common, but good melodeath album. The instrumentation on Fearrage is exactly what you would expect from a ordinary melodeath band. The guitarwork found in here is nicely executed, but is fairly easy and predictable. Standard chug-chug-chug melodic riffs and power chords dominate throughout this album. There is a more serious shredding part found in almost every song though to make the songs more interesting and there is even a breakdown in the song "Fall On Evil Days". The drumming on this album is a little bit muffled because the production is a bit turbid. The main weight is clearly on the guitarists shoulders. Another thing that impinges on the ear right away is that the vocals sound a bit processed. They sound good, but you can't get past the feeling that they have been somewhat wrought. That goes especially for the clean singing parts.
On a second listen though, this album truly reveals its strong side. While the instrumentation is somewhat simple/standard on Fearrage, the album is still an interesting listen and that is due to the captivating melodies found in every song. From the instrumental intro "Path To..." to the epic "Powderburns" to the heavy, yet melodic "Fall On Evil Days" to the somewhat depressive "Another Door" to the beautiful "Butterfly" to the (lack of a better word) lovesick "DNA Of A God" this album is infested with beautiful melodies that are a pure treat to listen to. The collaboration between the guitarists and vocalist is also very good because the vocals match the melodies absolutely perfectly (hence the feeling they are somewhat processed) and so the songs provide, what is truly an exciting listen. And just to add to all this there is also a small thrash influence in some of the songs like "Life Keeps Bleeding" and "Nemesis".
All in all this is a great melodic death metal album by one of the most promising new melodic death metal bands. Pain Confessor show that they are able to make a good melodeath album by not progressing the genre in any way, but just inducting everything good that is in melodic death metal and putting it all together into an album that is Fearrage.