To celebrate twenty years of NYHC godfathers Pro-Pain, AFM Records have released this bumper collection of nearly three hours which cover nearly most of the history of the band. What you have here is a CD / DVD collection with studio and live recordings, former members revisiting classic tunes and footage from many different shows and festivals from the last two decades.
The album starts with four new tracks. ‘Damnation’ starts off the album mid paced, ‘Hands In The Jar’ cranks up the pace just a little, mainly thanks to the prominent kick drums of Rick Halversen driving them along. The other two new tracks are faster, and more typical of the Pro-Pain sound but still stick to the tried and tested formula. Each one of them will rouse a healthy pit when played live. Theses songs mark the debut for newest member Adam Phillips, who replaced guitarist Tom Klimchuk after health issues forced him to leave the band earlier this year.
The four songs that have been re re-corded for this release have all benefited from having clearer production than first time round including the classic ‘Foul Taste Of Freedom’ from the debut album of the same name. I was glad to see that my and (possibly many other people’s) introduction to the band ‘Make War Not Love’ included. The heavy rotation of this video on MTV’s Headbangers Ball was one of the reasons for my love of most things hardcore since then. They have also brought former members Rob Maschetti, JC Dwyer, Mike Hanzel and Eric Klinger to appear which makes the idea of the new versions just that little bit more special. The last of the studio tracks featured is a cover of ‘Keine Amnestie fur MTV’ by German punk rockers Bohse Onkelz which is given a full old school NYHC makeover.
The second half of the album contains fourteen tracks recorded live in the Czech Republic that capture the band at their furious best. The production is clean but no over polished, so you can feel the energy the band exudes live. The set list chosen for the recording is interesting, not just choosing a greatest hits set, although ‘Foul Taste…’ makes its second appearance on the album. The sole remaining founding member of the band Gary Meskil (vocals, bass) spends the show sounding as menacing as ever and encouraging the type of mosh pit chaos that a younger version of myself would jump at the chance to be involved in.
The accompanying DVD has a full live show, along with footage from three separate With Full Force festivals and five tracks from another show as well as fan filmed footage. For a new fan getting into the band or the scene, this is an essential purchase. Pro-Pain might not have had the push that fellow NYHC veterans Biohazard or Sick Of It All got, but nonetheless they are a vital part of the scenes long history, and it is good to still have them around, and still performing at this high level. On the form shown here, the next album looks very promising.