Renegade Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Someone should buy Peter Tagtgren a fish tank... a jigsaw puzzle... a Where's Waldo book... something to give this guy a hobby other than music. I lost count a long time ago of how many bands Tagtgren's working with (the best known undoubtedly Hypocrisy), and how many groups he's produced in the last few years. In terms of staying busy, Tagtgren is the Frank Zappa of extreme metal.

Yet Tagtgren has a side to his music that wants to break out of the death/speed/grind-core aspect - which is what Pain is for. Essentially a one-man band, Tagtgren shows on Pain's latest effort Rebirth that the most qualified person to do a musical marriage of electronic rock and metal is someone who has their roots firmly grounded in the metal scene. And, for the most part, Tagtgren does things amazingly well. If only he had that one missing element which would keep the listener hooked into every beat and note.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

For someone who is almost legendary in the metal community, Tagtgren is to be commended for staying in the world of industrial/electronic rock as much as he does with these 11 songs. It would have been far too easy for Tagtgren to have relied on lightning-fast rhythms and crunching guitar parts to carry Pain's sound. Instead, he focuses on keyboards and his own vocals, and delivers results which may pleasantly surprise even his most loyal fans.

It's not the easiest transition, though. While the opening track "Supersonic Bitch" is a pleasant enough outing, it doesn't have the hook musically which is able to keep someone's interest throughout the entire song. It's not that Tagtgren doesn't know how to seal the deal musically - "End Of The Line," "Breathing In, Breathing Out" and "She Whipped" are stellar examples of how good this genre can be. But this particular track is missing something which could have pushed it over the edge and into the upper echelon of songs on Rebirth - and I don't pretend to have the answer to that mystery.

Indeed, there is not a bad song on Rebirth - though I admit I'm at a loss to explain the transitional piece "12:42" and what it was meant to accomplish. Yet there are times when Tagtgren falls just short of the bullseye, and there are times when he sends the musical dart clean through the board. Why a track like "Suicide Machine" succeeds and another like "Dark Fields Of Pain" doesn't measure up as well, I don't know exactly.

Rebirth also includes a video for "End Of The Line" - just don't ask me to explain what the hell is going on in it, because I can't even begin to decipher it. (Obviously, Tagtgren has seen a few Nine Inch Nails videos.)

Everyone needs some side project to vent off a little steam from one's day job, and Rebirth is proof that Pain is a great project for Tagtgren. Even with my quibbles (which are minor), it's well worth the time to check this one out.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2002 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Renegade Records, and is used for informational purposes only.