Another year, another Pro-Pain album. These guys keep putting out albums about as regularly as Iron Maiden albums get reissued. That’s not a complaint, just an observation. Now calling Candlelight Records their home both stateside and abroad, it seems fitting that the NYHC stalwarts have released their most metal – and possibly their best – album to date.
Easily the album of theirs that I have enjoyed the most, I’m finding it difficult to separate my personal feelings from the objectiveness one must have as a writer. I can only imagine how silly I’d sound going all “fanboy” here. But, I do feel confidant enough to say that Fistful of Hate delivers one hell of an ass-whopping from start to finish, with little time in between to breathe.
The group wastes no time knocking you down with album opener “Can You Feel It?”, which is guaranteed to become a sing-along anthem at all future live shows. It’s heavy; it’s got groove; it sounds very metal yet is unmistakably the Pro-Pain brand of hardcore. These attributes adequately sum up the entire sound and feel of the album, so I won’t mention them anymore. “Left for Dead” follows suit, and then we get to hear two things rarely, if ever, heard before on a Pro-Pain release: the keyboards and clean vocals that appear in the chorus of “Godspeed”. The clean vocals here are provided courtesy of Stephan Weidner of German punk/hardcore act Die Bohse Onkelz, whom the band have such regard for, that this apparently is a major selling point of the album. Anyway, the track kicks ass. Soon after is “American Dreams”, this time featuring clean chorus vocals by none other than frontman Gary Meskil, who has never done clean vocals on an album before. They sound pretty damn good, and the main chugga-chugga riff is custom-built for headbanging. The final standout track here is “The Better Half of Forever” an almost six-minute instrumental chock full of awesome riffs and double bass that you may find yourself double-checking the band name.
Now, all of the other tracks here are great as well, don’t get me wrong. But those above damn near eclipse the entire album. “Cutthroat” has some solid riffage that will inspire many a pit that should enable the old-school moshers to show the windmill kids how it is done. “Freedom Rings” is classic Pro-Pain, and the closing title track is driven by double-bass and another soon-to-be-classic sing-along chorus.
Pro-Pain has essentially been reborn here, a fact that even the band will attest to. Tighter and heavier than before, this Fist packs a punch that you will be more than happy to be beaten-down by.