Age of Tyranny - The Tenth Crusade by Pro-Pain
Release date : March 2007
Reviewed by Mark Fisher
In late January 2006, it was revealed that Pro-Pain was in the process of authoring material in support of a tenth studio album, but writing sessions didn't materialize until June. From mid to late April, the group performed several European dates, complete with support from Undertow and Dryrot. J. C. Dwyer cut his drum tracks during July, whereas the other Pro-Pain members laid down their contributions throughout the rest of the year. In February 2007, the album's title was revealed. Entitled The Age of Tyranny - The Tenth Crusade, a March issue was slated, whilst the album's artwork and track listing was additionally unveiled. Upon the composition “Beyond the Pale”, Icarus Witch vocalist Matt Bizilia guests.
Ever since the unique sonics of 1993's Foul Taste of Freedom's initially graced this reviewer's walkman, yours truly has been a fanatic of Pro-Pain. Fronted by erstwhile Crumbsuckers bassist Gary Meskil, the outfit has issued ten albums over the course of fifteen years, and without the aid of radio, MTV (at a time when the station still actually aired music videos), or notable media outlets. Fanatics fuelled Pro-Pain's success, and fanatics keep Pro-Pain alive to this very day. Pro-Pain has penned several great albums, though 2004's battle cry Fistful of Fate and 2005's crushing Prophets of Doom were almost flawless exercises in raw, dynamic Rock. It was difficult to imagine the outfit would surpass either. The Age of Tyranny - The Tenth Crusade surpasses those two releases however, and raises Pro-Pain towards loftier heights.
Throughout the years, Pro-Pain has penned splendid, testosterone laden music that proved to be exceptionally one-dimensional. Raw angst is the group's central motive; Meskil has always seemingly harboured more angst than could be deemed his fair share, and has exploited that. In this specific instance however, something wholly fresh is introduced. A near concept album, The Age of Tyranny - The Tenth Crusade draws parallels between the biblical crusades and the modern war upon terrorism, dubbing the 2007 Middle Eastern situation “ the tenth crusade”. The approach consequently spawns a more focused musical sound, as well as an immensely intriguing lyrical direction.
Upon The Age of Tyranny - The Tenth Crusade, Pro-Pain still irrefutably exhibit their trademark stylings. However, this full length marks the inaugural record in which Pro-Pain's Classic Rock origins surface. Courtesy of the album's no holds barred guitar assault, these origins particularly shine. Boasting fresh ingredients from the axes of both Eric Klinger and Tom Klimchuck, the record causes the listener to muse as to why the men's multi-dimensional guitar skills weren't fully exploited upon previous albums. Great examples of this, “Will Roll” and “Beyond the Pale” possess blistering solos which underlie Gary Meskil's vocals. The latter additionally features dual lead vocals, shared by Meskil's trademark NYC Hardcore grunt, and the looser, bluesy, marginally whiny intonations of Icarus Witch's Matt Bizilia. A great composite, this almost heightens “Beyond the Pale” towards perfection. A deft trade off solo occurs between both electric and acoustic guitars, exhibiting such dynamism that mere listening will provoke a sweat.
Lyrically and musically, each respective track is pertinent, and achieves its goal. To date, The Age of Tyranny - The Tenth Crusade is Pro-Pain's most accessible full length, and that's solely a complimentary statement. In every respect, the group provides much to think about. Broadening their sound further enough, it's still distinct nonetheless, yet seizes the focus of those listeners who find Meskil's constant grunting troubling. The Age of Tyranny - The Tenth Crusade is Pro-Pain's most important release thus far, and the group bring each and every quality to the table.