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Album Reviews : Pain – Cynic Paradise

By on January 7, 2009

For those of you that don’t know who Peter Tägtgren is, let me tell you a bit about him. First and foremost he is the founder, composer, guitarist and vocalist of Swedish death metal band Hypocrisy. He has also been a vocalist for Bloodbath and The Abyss, live guitarist for Marduk, drummer for Algaion and War, pianist for Therion, and much more. On top of that he has produced albums for a long line of well known metal artists such as Amon Amarth, Dark Funeral, Immortal, Rotting Christ, and the list goes on. Needless to say, Peter has been one of metal’s main men. According to the internet, he owns a small village in Sweden as well.

Then there’s Pain, an industrial side project in which Tägtgren writes and plays every instrument. He certainly is a busy man. ’Cynic Paradise’ is the sixth release under the name, and while I have not heard any of the previous ones, I am definitely going to go back and have a listen to them now. It may seem like the most obvious industrial reference, but early Rammstein is closest comparison I can come up with.  To put it rather simply, this album is just more enjoyable than anything Rammstein have put out.

On top of the somewhat standard electronics and industrial riffage, Tägtgren blends in an abundance of more symphonic sounds ranging from some very epic sounding keyboards to beautiful piano pieces. More often than not these symphonic influences come flying in from all directions when it comes to a chorus, giving the songs a huge sound. While there isn’t really any musical comparison, these choruses are right up with there with the huge Arena rock bands of the past, and I imagine would sound spectacular live.

There are a few highlights here. “I’m Going In” is a powerhouse of a song, one of the fastest on the album and one that would get you pumping at a live show. “Follow Me” features Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon and while she fits in really well, the song leans a bit too much toward pop music at times. There isn’t a huge amount of variety throughout the album (which isn’t a real problem considering it only just breaks the 40 minute mark), which is probably the reason why “Have A Drink On Me” stands out so much, showing what happens when Tägtgren gets in touch with his inner cowboy.

If you don’t like mainstream (for the lack of a better term) influences in your music then ‘Cynic Paradise’ will be very hit and miss for you. During the faster moments it almost sounds like nightclub-worthy techno at times, and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine some of the more melodic songs on commercial radio if they were advertised a bit differently. Those parts are evenly balanced with the heavier, more metal side of things, but still might be too much for some metalheads. For those of you that just like catchy, well written music with a bit of punch behind it, have a listen. 8/10

Band: Pain
Album: Cynic Paradise
Year: 2008
Genre: Metal/Industrial
Label: Nuclear Blast
Origin: Sweden

Track listing:
1. I’m Going In <- Reviewers choice
2. Monkey Business
3. Follow Me
4. Have A Drink On Me
5. Don’t Care
6. Reach Out (And Regret)
7. Generation X
8. No One Knows
9. Live Fast / Die Young (It’s A Cynic Paradise)
10. Not Your Kind
11. Feed Us


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.