• Designed to entertain you for a while - A review of Pain's ''Coming Home''

    Pain - Coming Home (2016)

    Pain is a band that is quite hard to categorize. The band mixes alternative and industrial rock with electronic elements. An important element are the provocative lyrics that often criticize our society. The group has a talent to develop concise and diversified song structures with catchy choruses and addicting melodies that won’t get out of your mind. The group’s eighth studio album in twenty years includes ten potential single candidates. Pain never sounds shallow or uninspired but the new output is getting a little bit tame and predictable after a while as there isn’t a song that really stands out.

    A first highlight on the entertaining record is the opener ‘’Designed to Piss You Off’’ that starts like a country tune, becomes a rockabilly track and ends up being an epic industrial rock song with an addictive chorus and rebellious lyrics. This first impression of the album is catchy, cool and diversified and these attributes are somehow the guidelines for the entire release. Another strong cut is the bittersweet and melancholic title track ‘’Coming Home’’ that talks about the essence of life from the point of view of a tired man in his midlife crisis. It makes me think of the atmosphere on Johnny Cash’s last releases and the occasional acoustic guitars even add a slight country touch to the tune. The sinister electronic rock tune ‘’Natural Born Idiot’’ sounds more like a mellow mixture of Emigrate and Placebo and offers another interesting statement about annoying people in our contemporary society. This works quite well because most people have lived similar situations and can identify with the topic.

    The simplistic ‘’Absinthe-Phoenix Rising’’ is probably the weakest tune on here and focuses on an exchangeable sing-along chorus that one could expect from a pop punk band like Good Charlotte. The plodding symphonic closer ‘’Starseed’’ doesn’t sound as epic as it tries to be and fails to end the record on a high note. This is the kind of ambitious track with classical elements that Thirty Seconds to Mars crafted about a decade ago. 

    In the end, Pain’s Coming Home is an entertaining rock album that is lacking the certain something to be more than just slightly above average. While the song writing is creative, I’m missing some real emotions and energy in several tracks. From that point of view, the additional live album that comes with the limited edition has much more oomph and rates this release up by a few points. My final verdict is that this record is definitely listenable once or twice but not remarkable enough for a purchase in my opinion.

    Final rating: 65%

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