In 2012, Rob Sandoval and Hoyt Binder formed Pain Love ‘n’ War. The duo got Bobby Allbright on drums and they got around to releasing their debut album Over Looking Back a little earlier this year. My first thought when listening to their album was that they sounded like Alice in Chains if they were more into Industrial music. They play a hybrid of industrial, metal and grunge. The metal they infuse from the production to the delivery has the aesthetics from bands like Breaking Benjamin, Evanescence and Korn. It’s more of a contemporary metal sound as opposed to the defining style of metal bands that were playing in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
You can hear the combination of Industrial and metal elements on the first song “Pain in Love and War.” The heavy hitting industrial beat you hear on the verse you can picture being used by KMFDM or NIN (in their more industrial days) while the guitar riffs are reminiscent of Alice In Chains if they palm muted more and put high end distortion on their guitars. It’s a high-energy song that you could picture a UFC fighter using before he or she stepped into the Octagon.
I was happy they decided to use electronic elements here and there but they don’t go overboard. This is a guitar album but the addition of arpeggiated synths and pads are a nice treat once in a while like you hear on “Only Time Will Tell.”
The band kind of experiments with “Psycho X.” Some of the atmospheric, ominous moments around the one- minute mark reminded me of Tool. “Taste My Religion” is a constant onslaught of heavy guitar riffs and fills while “Crystal Ball” is a swampy almost drone like song that was a highlight on the album.
Some songs like “Strange Morning Light” feel like straightforward metal/alternative songs that will appeal to a wide demographic. Other songs are a bit more experimental like “Torn.” “Torn” submerges you with a mantra like vocal melody and waves of white noise during the verse. The band closes with “Never In This Life” which was a departure from everything else on the album. It’s sparse revolving around guitar and vocals.
Metal has made its way it the mainstream a while ago and I think Pain Love n' War style will appeal to a large audience because of that . The music feels contemporary and also a bit nostalgic for those of us who remember when harder bands from the ‘90s like Incubus, Slipknot, NIN and Alice In Chains were huge.
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