Pain Division - One Path
Raw Heavy Metal
10 songs (37:26)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Pete

Pain Division is a brilliant name for a band and, in the words of their drummer, Pete Hunt (ex Dragonforce and Marshall law), the band do exactly what it says on the tin. I have to agree with the man, because their new album, One Path, is quite a hard hitting experience and earns the right to have a blood stained knuckle duster on the front cover. With their name and knuckle duster cover it is quite easy to pigeon hole Pain Division as a New York hardcore band before a note is played but this couldn't be further from the truth. The band is a straight up metal outfit, but it's metal in such a raw and pure form that albums such as this are somewhat the rarity in today's over produced and slick sounding age. It is because of this, One Path instantly works because it's a reminder of how heavy metal can still work without all the dressing up.

One Path is a very heavy album, however, this depends on your definition of the word 'heavy'. If you define heavy as, 'a wall of down-tuned guitars, a lightning fast drum track, a bass sound that can crack the walls and a singer whose guttural growl stirs your own stomach', then this album isn't that heavy. For myself, this disc has the same intense delivery as the Doctor Butcher album, which is one of the heaviest long players I have in my collection. It may not sound heavy but it has attitude and bile dripping from every note and in my opinion comes across as being far heavier than something that sounds heavy. One Path relies on the quality of the riff, the hook and the attitude than on layered guitars, big chords and overdubs. There's nothing wrong with either, but those who lived through the eighties, when arguably the riff, hook and attitude were king, will find a little spark of nostalgia amongst the crushing metal.

From the outset, excluding the rain soaked introduction that is The Gates Of Ashen Wake, guitarist Stu Marshall shreds his way around the main riff of Flames Of The Reaper. It's a song that borders on punk driven thrash due to its intensity and the shouting of bass player/vocalist Dan Quinlan. Face It is a brilliant follow on with a opening riff so simple that you wonder why no-one has written already (add some more shredding at this point as well). Beyond The Pain doesn’t let you catch your breath combining pace, more shouting and even more quality lead work. At this point you wonder how any band from Australia can be this pissed off and angry.

For all the positives Quinlan's vocals could be considered an acquired taste. He's a pretty good shouter but he can become a little monotonous after a while because it's more or less monotone. When he does flex his vocal muscle, as he does on the title track, he does a really good job. He combines clean with coherent shouting and thus makes One Path the highlight of the disc. In fact, the album is stronger when Quinlan's controlling what he's singing rather than shouting at the world. On another note, half the songs start with the drums, which is against the norm within metal. Perhaps this is Pain Division's style but it does suggest the drummer had probably written most of the material. It's not long before the metal kicks in but some more imagination in the introductions wouldn't have gone amiss. This may be a little nit picky but it's an aspect that stuck out. Thankfully, it doesn't detract from the album as a whole.

Whereas many bands huff and puff, Pain Division actually threaten to blow your house down. As mentioned before, it's not a heavy album as far as Sonics go, but for sheer definition of the word metal then One Path is a good example. It also contains a decent crack at Accept's Balls To The Wall. Add their own material around it, of which there is little or indeed no room for filler, then you have an album to get you pumped up for any occasion. If you like your metal raw with guitars intertwining themselves through almost every pore then this is an album worth your time. Let's just hope they don't make too much money and spend it on the follow up album, keep it raw.

Killing Songs :
Flames Of The Reaper, Face It, One Path, Of Flame And Fury, Beyond The Pain
Pete quoted 81 / 100
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