Born From Pain - _War_
(Metal Blade, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (8 out of 10)
Along with their labelmates in Cataract, Born From Pain have long been one of European metalcore's brightest hopes. Their reputation as a devastating live act has been all but cemented over the course of incessant touring alongside genre stalwarts like Hatebreed and Agnostic Front. Yet for all the aggrandised beatdowns this Dutch quintet are able to so deftly inflict within the confines of their stage show, their albums have always lacked that extra something to allow one to recognize them as more than simply a pleasant stopgap on a live bill.

Nevertheless, with potential by the truckload, there's no reason why _War_ couldn't be the album to buck the trend, and it certainly turns in an a commendable effort in this regard. Indeed the material offered here was evidently appealing enough to elicit guest appearances from Napalm Death's Barney Greenway, Sick of It All's Lou Koller and a show-stealing performance courtesy of Jan Chris de Koyer of Gorefest. It's easy to see why: from the less-than-subtle opening chant of "Relentless" through to the catchy as all get-out old school hardcore of "Burn Me Fighting", it's not so much about what Born From Pain do right as it is what they don't do wrong.

Where as recently as _In Love With the End_ the band had the penchant to simply let songs bleed together into a faceless distorted garble, here they take a more sensible and effective stance. Each track feels more succinct, punchy and distinctive. On "Crusader" the band flay the mid-tempo stomping with hints of melody that are realised again to even greater effect on the later instrumental, "The War Is On". But for all its variety, the real treats on _War_ are the simple back-to-basics numbers, "Behind Enemy Lines" being a prime example. These songs hit harder thanks to the band's multifarious approach, and while at no point is anyone pretending that Born From Pain are about to re-write metalcore's rulebooks, _War_ represents their best work to date by a nose.

Contact: http://www.bornfrompain.com

(article published 10/11/2006)


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