Entwine - Painstained
Spinefarm Records
Gothic Metal
10 songs (43:26)
Release year: 2009
Entwine, Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Thomas

After revolutionizing my view upon gothic metal with the brilliant Fatal Design from 2006, Entwine are back with their latest effort Painstained. From their first days as a band until today, Entwine has changed drastically. They started out as a death metal outfit with their drummer doing the growls before shape-shifting into the elite gothic union we know them by today. Before listening to this, rumors made it clear that this was even more commercial and radio-friendly than Fatal Design where they managed to balance things perfectly. It got me a little worried, as Fatal Design was balancing on the edge of darker commercialized pop/rock. As I predicted, the rumors were more or less true, and whilst not entirely, in lack of a better term, selling out, this is definitely geared more towards the poppy side of the crowd.

Entwine has always been catchy and melodic. However, some of the stuff here are so sickeningly poppy, it makes me twist in disgust. And please guys don’t use your neck-pickups for riffing. It sounds way too lifeless and dry and not at all as dark as you want it to sound. Luckily though, the utter worthless moments are few and far between, and Entwine more or less remain true to their style while on the other hand balancing even more on the edge of pop in every single song. Another thing that definitely has seen better days is the riffs. There are a lot of riffs here that flow together and the overall quality is pretty damn low. The guitars should really stick to backing up the great vocal performance and melodies of Mika Tauriainen. When they’re attempting to create aggressive and entertaining riffs like on the opening of the second track The Strife , they completely fall through mainly because of the mindless distortion which almost sounds like a heavily distorted bass.

However, when all seems to fail, the beautiful melodies are more than able to lift this to an entirely different level. Tauriainen is more or less responsible for making this an enjoyable listen despite all the various flaws created by immaturity and a complete lack of creative mindset with the other guys. The emotional chorus on Dying Moan lifts an otherwise mediocre song through the roof, and instantly catches your attention no matter how brainless the riffs are. His dominant voice is strong and powerful and not the least emotional, hence very fitting for this darkened and gloomy piece of music. The keyboards backs him up with short and nice passages that builds on the darkness this creates without exaggerating or getting in the way of anything else.

God knows I have been pretty hard on the guitarists here. They do however deserve some praise for being able to create the rhythmic establishment that so firmly backs up the vocals. They’re best when they keep it simple; churning out chord-driven riffs and not trying to be something they’re not. After a number of spins I’m left with mixed feelings. One part of me finds this rather enjoyable, while another one can’t stand it in any way and the vocals more or less saves what would otherwise be a record rooted deep in the realms of mediocrity. If you’re not the sound-whore that I am, you will probably like this better than I did, but all in all this isn’t even close to Fatal Design, and quite frankly, I expected better.

Killing Songs :
The Strife, Dying Moan
Thomas quoted 69 / 100
Other albums by Entwine that we have reviewed:
Entwine - Chaotic Nation reviewed by Alex and quoted 69 / 100
Entwine - Fatal Design reviewed by Joe and quoted 82 / 100
Entwine - Dieversity reviewed by Jay and quoted 80 / 100
Entwine - Time Of Despair reviewed by Jack and quoted 85 / 100
Entwine - Gone reviewed by Chris and quoted 86 / 100
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