Review Summary: Not original, by any means. Neither is it particularly creative or representative of a redefining classic. But by God is it great to listen to.
Introductions have a disturbing habit of being deceptively misleading. Whether it is a quirk of evolution or some mystical malformation, countless numbers of these miniature aperitifs manage to purvey quite a different taste than what actually lays in store: they act as befits a building’s façade, a theatrical detractor from the actuality within. Nowhere have I found this clearer than on Supreme Pain’s sophomore effort ‘Nemesis Enforcer’. For those who don’t know, Supreme Pain were formed in 2006 as a brutal death metal outfit, one which proffered an impressive mixture of brutality and technicality on their 2008 full length debut ‘Cadaver Pleasures’, an album of fair potential for a small-scale band. Unfortunately, ‘Darkening Age Rise’, the afore-said subversive intro, hardly conveyed this element as it served up what equated to a lump of disappointment. What had happened to the scything guitar leads, the breakneck tempo changes, the raucous clamour of blastbeats? It seemed as if, annoyingly, everything had been sold short. But then the deception was hammered away. The riffs exploded out. The lies collapsed. Ah. That’s where it all was hiding.
Glossing over the shoddy artwork, the atrocious introduction and the clichéd moniker of both album and artist, ‘Nemesis Enforcer’ is one of the most engaging recordings I have so far discovered in my wanderings through metal’s twisted underbelly. To be totally blunt, innovative it is not. Nor is it genre-redefining, or a musical milestone, or worthy of worldwide applause. In truth, it is simply a very well-executed death metal album. The real genius lies within the execution itself. Everything… works. The guitars gel wonderfully with the malevolent roar of the vocalist, the drums offer dynamism and flair, the song structures are varied and seamless with countless points of interest. It’s as if the perfect composition of elements drawn from death metal has been finally aligned. The album thus possesses a wonderfully coherent sound, something that draws an equilibrium betwixt modernity and the traditional whilst remaining raw enough to satiate the purist taste. And although creativity is somewhat lacking throughout and occasionally repetitiveness rears its ugly head, it is this that makes ‘Nemesis Enforcer’ a cut above its contemporaries. Supreme Pain may not be a massively progressive band, but, by God, they are good at what they do.
So impressed was I with this implementation of the brutal death metal sound that I have risked descent into hyperbole. However, it remains important to note that nothing in this world is perfect, and this remains the case even for the most remarkable albums of our time. Despite all the flair and panache with which ‘Nemesis Enforcer’ is delivered, the lack of songwriting originality is sadly marked. Enjoyable as this listen was, inevitable comparisons with thousands of other death metal outfits drags it into the mire in which many underground bands are forced to stagnate. In my personal opinion, this detracted little from what I see as one of the more aspiring efforts I have recently subjected myself to, but unto others with a slightly more critical take this would devalue the album’s worth by a notable degree. It is unfortunate that such an issue is at the crux of Supreme Pain’s second album, but, in all honesty, the casual listener will be far from deterred as the overall quality here is ineffable. Only the more analytical amongst us, or those looking for a more progressive approach, will here be disappointed.
To conclude, I would like to make my rather exuberant praise of this album justifiable despite all of its detractors surrounding its template genre approach. The fact of the matter is I thoroughly enjoyed this album. So much that I actually ordered a copy the very next day subsequent to its discovery on Spotify. Indeed, I would go as far to say that it possesses a certain special quality that places it in a lone niche, something amazing but yet not overarching. True, its songs sometimes descend into forgettable territory. True, sometimes the album blurs and swims as it flows within itself. But listening to an album should be fun. And this was just as much fun to listen to as the classics.