To The Pain hail from Long Island, New York and the band were only formed in January 2012. Nothing special in that, I hear you cry, but less than eighteen months later, and they have recorded and released their debut album which consists of seven hard and heavy rock tracks! Now that is impressive - so let's look at the album in more detail...
'For The People, Buy The People' starts straight off with a good heavy guitar riff supplied by Mark Trojanoski whilst vocalist John Intagliata has a good clear voice. As you can probably guess from the spelling, this song has political overtones, and with the exception of, maybe, Megadeth's 'Peace Sells (But Who's Buying)' you don't hear too many political songs from Metal bands.
I have to say that this song does have a very catchy chorus whilst the song overall has a nice sound, especially from the guitars, and the only slight annoyance for me was that we're robbed of a second guitar solo from Steve Shaver as the song fades out rather quickly.
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'Silent Horror' has another great riff to start the track, which really reverberates throughout the song. Again, Intagliata does well with some of the high notes that you'd think only Rob Halford could be capable of reaching - so top marks for vocal ability on this track. There is a slower section mid-way through which blends nicely into another great guitar solo from Shaver before the song returns to the original riff and a rather strange start-stop section before the track finally ends. A strange ending, but this track is a firm favourite with me.
There's a sound effects laden intro to 'City Of Flames' which gives way to the central riff with, again, the band sounding like a very tight unit. Drummer Jimmy Klimatas shows his skill with some fancy fills but unlike the previous track, Intagliata sounds like he's struggling slightly to reach the high notes, but gets some help in the backing vocals department from the rest of the band.
There's another great solo from Shaver and the (what seems now to be) ubiquitous catchy chorus ensures that this track is another one that will be listened to again and again.
Halfway through album comes the longest track, 'The Smell Of Sulfur/Rise Of The Demons' which is introduced by more sound effects including a tolling bell and some Monks who make way for "demons" to come out of what sounds like a swamp. Quite what tolling bells and monks have to do with swamps, I'm not sure by this track is just fantastic. Unlike the others, this track is slow and plodding and with the main riff, this wouldn't look out of place sitting next to a track from the mighty Black Sabbath.
The vocal style of Intagliata suits this slow number very well as he stretches words like "sky", "ground" and "sins" and he actually sounds like Glenn Danzig at times. What this song proves, though, is that To The Pain don't just do fast and heavy numbers - they are just as good at writing slow and moody numbers too.
'Burn With Me' brings the speed quotient back up and is a good heavy number with its memorable riff, which is reminiscent of 'Blackened' by Metallica but, again, that could be just me! The track has a memorable chorus that just lends itself to the live arena with the repeated use of the term "burn", it be an ideal opportunity to get the audience involved and is also sure to get those fists and metal horns raised in the air.
Penultimate track, 'Fuel Injected Nightmare', is another good mid-paced track with Intagliata giving his best Metal growl just before mid-way through the track when everything changes - gone are the rasping angry vocals and there's a great slow guitar solo from Shaver that builds slowly before the chorus bursts back in. From there it's onto the final track, 'A Good Revolution' which harks back to the political content of 'For The People, Buy The People'. Another fast and frantic track, it's clear that this band aren't afraid tackle social comment head on.
All in all this is a very enjoyable debut album for a band with obvious songwriting talent. They have done a handful of live shows and I think that, at the moment certainly, their chances of coming to the UK for a show are very limited - so let's hope they start posting live clips on their YouTube site because I, for one, am keen to find out how these songs sound live in concert.
For The People, Buy The People
City of Flames
The Smell of Sulfur/Rise of The Demons
Burn With Me
Fuel Injection Nightmare
A Good Revolution
To The Pain are:
John Intagliata - Lead Vocals
Steve Shaver - Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Mark Trojanoski -Guitar
Jeremy Lustig - Bass/Backing Vocals
Jimmy Klimatas - Drums