Pro-Pain is one of the workhorses of the hardcore/metal genre. You can count on them to release an album every year or so about as reliably as you can count on each year bringing another Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath back catalogue cash-grab. So, hot off of last year’s stellar Fistful of Hate, they are back with Prophets of Doom. Unfortunately, much like Shreds of Dignity was a lackluster follow-up to Round 6, the new album is a bit of a letdown. That isn’t to say it’s a bad album, of course, it just doesn’t come up to the level of it’s predecessor, which landed in my top ten for 2004.
It goes without saying that Pro-Pain has always been very pro-American in their music while still being cynical of the society we live in here. On this album, they take it up a notch, with the whole thing taking on a very pro-America/anti-government (read: the current administration – they’re not anarchists) stance. Pulling no punches, they proclaim those in power and their blind followers “Un-American”. Meanwhile, Dubya and his cronies find themselves in the crosshairs on the aptly titled “Operation Blood for Oil”, which also serves as something of a brief biography and resume of the current president – no surprise then that this is one of the high-octane moments in an album dominated by mid-paced hardcore that is more focused on groove than ferocity (I’ve always preferred the latter when it comes to this band). “Neocon” and “Death Toll Rises” fall into the same category, although not quite as lyrically direct.
There’s some interesting stuff here musically as well, like the acoustic intro to “Hate Marches On” and the nigh-doom leanings of “Days of Shame”. Other than that, this is all stuff you’ve heard before. Not meaning that it’s all rehash, but that it’s the Pro-Pain you know and love. “Getting Over” is another standout track that combines a faster, more aggressive tempo with good ol’ hardcore groove.
Prophets of Doom is not a stellar album, but it is a solid one with few standout tracks that makes for a well-balanced listen (on the other hand, Fistful of Hate was a bit “first-half” heavy). This is, of course, mandatory listening for all Pro-Pain fans, and recommended to all the hardcore kids who think the genre just started when “Headbanger’s Ball” came back a couple of years ago.