Originally written by Erik Thomas
When you have a voice as distinct as Andreas Hedlund (Vintersorg,Borknagar, Oytg, Cronian), the problem is every project you are involved in tends to sound like the other, and while Fission is in itself a decent slab of slightly progressive melodic death metal, you can’t help think of Borknagaror Vintersorg.
And while being compared to those bands insn’t necessarily and bad thing, the fact is on Pain Parade the songwriting and development has improved so much from 2004’s rather forgetful Crater, that in conjunction withVintersorg’s unique voice, essentially made me think I was in fact listening to a new Borknagar album.
Hedlund’s time in Borknagar has unquestionably rubbed off on him and Benny Hägglund (drums, guitars) as they sat and wrote the material for Pain Parade. After a thrashy and more progressive up tempo opener “Chains,” which delivers the same sort of well done but hardly groundbreaking material off the debut, the duo of “Frequency Control” and the excellent “Dear Frenzy!” truly show off the Borknagar –isms; epic, swirling, layered riffage that sounds like it was penned by Øystein Brun himself and some truly captivating vocal work from Hedlund with the chorus of “Frequency Control” and the closing moments of “Dear Frenzy!” actually being some of the better examples of melo-death I’ve heard recently – but again you just can’t help feel you are listening to a new Borknagar album, especially “Dear Frenzy!”- not really a bad thing though.
After those two excellent tracks, the album levels out somewhat but keeps the same overall sound with the title track delivering a very svelte form of synth flocked melo-death delivered with charisma and character rather than by the numbers predictability, but again ‘that other band’ keeps burrowing into your mind as each riff dances and croons. “Machination (The Kallocain Protocol),” changes things up with a more sturdy traditional At The Gatesgallop, just with Hedlund’s clean vocal work smattering the tones with a more eclectic feel. “Collision and Collapse” returns to the depth and soaring style of Borknagar with a dreamy midsection but “Earthquaker” returns to a sterner, synth backed sound. The native tongue closer “Mekanisk Är Själen” has a bit of a mid era (Visions From the Spiral Generator, The Cosmic Blur)Vintersorg lean due to the language and synths work, but again not really a bad thing and the chorus is to die for.
Ultimately, even with about half of the album sounding like a lostBorknagar/Vintersorg recording session, that alone actually makes this album worth it and a cut above most contrived melo-death being produced these days, if only due to Hedlund’s presence alone.