Review Summary: another solid Pain album, and that's all you can ask for.You Only Live Twice
marks a period in Pain’s existence where they’ve been around for quite a while. They’ve released seven albums now, and with every album, their metaphorical beards (or not") have grown longer. I have some good news though – they’ve shaved. Sure, they still do the same brooding, creepy industrial metal in the style of Rammstein, but this doesn’t mean they’ve fallen down on the job. In fact, Pain have always found a way to make their relatively simple style never seem stale, and that’s exactly what they do here. They may not be breaking new grounds, but they don’t need to, and I doubt they can.
Expectably, not much has changed with this release. The only unexpected difference between this and previous albums is the guitar, which now plays bone crushingly heavy riffs. In comparison to the poppy, weaker songs of the last album, having such an overwhelmingly heavy attack gives the band a much needed boost. Also, Peter Tagtgren’s vocals have never sounded better, as he switches between clean singing, gothic singing, whispers, and screams. Often, he layers his screams on top of his clean vocals, and this proves to be effective. With heavy guitars and Peter’s vocal control, the music is often powerful.
Not unlike the vocal layering, every song is dense with industrialisms and electronic fluff. While this could easily suffocate the listener, it instead provides an engaging listening experience that can sometimes be reminiscent of Devin Townsend’s works. Although the electronics try their best to sound and feel creepy, the album doesn’t depress due to strong melodies and surprisingly memorable choruses. Prime example is their shocking cover of Sonic Syndicate’s song, ‘Leave Me Alone’, which is made to sound like a dreary song, but even then, the melodies break through the dark clouds. No matter how it seems at first, You Only Live Twice
is an entirely accessible album that should please metal fans.
Once the shock of the crushing guitars has worn out, and the thick soundscape has had time to settle, interest fades. Since the music is meant to sound eerie and it doesn’t always work, the songs occasionally grow tiresome. The album works better when the songs are more melodic, as opposed to dark and gothic. Ultimately, it’s technically great, but don’t expect it to grow on you. You Only Live Twice
is a predictably solid Pain release, and that’s good enough. If you come to this album with the hope that Pain have changed (even the slightest) you’ll be disappointed, but fans of Pain will definitely find something to enjoy here.