Review Summary: 'Designed To Piss You Off' apparently. Make of that what you will.
I always find it a shame when decent production gets ruined by bad songwriting.
Hypocrisy frontman and Lindemann instrumentalist Peter Tägtgren has been releasing albums under the PAIN moniker for almost 20 years at this point, and it’s fair to say that the man knows what he likes – each record slams through snotty industrial riffery and synthesizers like they’re going out of fashion (which I’d be inclined to say they were if I didn’t have quite so much of a soft spot for them). So after such a comprehensive back catalogue and a branch out into a slightly more mainstream – but still unashamedly weird – side project in Lindemann, what does PAIN bring in 2016?
Now, Coming Home
certainly packs a punch, if brash industrial pomp is your thing, and the musicianship as a whole is to be commended for the ‘bigger is better’ approach rather than just rehashing 10 chug-synth-chug-synth-breakdown-big chugging chorus finale
patterns and calling it an album. A lot of clinical skill and care has gone into the electronic elements, and the orchestral passages that adorn so much of this record have been lovingly crafted and layered without ever sounding messy. However, this is where the bulk of my frustration lies with this record. There is simply no need for the subject matter to be surrounded in such crass grandiosity. Yes, there are some undoubted glimpses of talent and flair on this record, but the utterly cringeworthy lyrics (coupled with none-too-convincing delivery) make this much more of an arduous listen than it needs to be. Furthermore, the whole ‘I’m just a lovable asshole’ act that Tägtgren just drips all over this thing grates exceptionally quickly. Coming Home
is not quite intricate enough to work as an instrumental album, but sans vocals, one can’t help but feel this might serve a more fulfilling purpose providing the background for a Mountain Dew fuelled Twitch stream. Only really on ‘Final Crusade’ does the experimentation seem to come together, with a chorus akin to a battle-ready Andrew WK meeting a slightly more Hypocrisy-esque closing section.
To sum up the ill-placed grandeur to be found all over this record, allow me to impart this slice of seemingly obvious advice: there is never any excuse for layering an extravagant orchestra over the top of a sleazy romp about being an escort that steals Christina Aguilera lyrics for good measure.
At least it’s better than Skills In Pills