PAIN CONFESSOR, Turmoil (2004, Megamania)

The skull:
This guy was clearly just discharged from the Vic Rattlehead Institute of Osteoplasty, having opted for not just the iron staples to close his jaws, but also some kind of bone graft to actually seamlessly seal his top and bottom jaws together. Quite sharp! The staples in the forehead seem a bit excessive, but isn’t that always how it goes? Once you get some work done, each additional procedure seems less like a big deal, and before you know it, you’re ending up on some Buzzfeed listicle called “23 Bony Tragedies”. This guy isn’t at that stage yet, so hopefully he’ll heed the advice of his buddies, who will all tell him he looks great now.

The music:
I’d heard Pain Confessor before this, but I remember them being a bit more brutal. Maybe I’m thinking of some other band, because this is an amalgam of modern (circa 2004) Scandinavian death metal and thrash, and latter-day Sentenced (although that influence is mainly limited to some semi-melodic singing in the choruses.) Actually, this is pretty solid stuff, if a little unimaginative. At least it’s hooky. Pain Confessor bring a little more to the party than your average Soilwork knockoff, and they even remind me a little of one of my favorite melodic death metal also-rans, Withering Surface (if only their fourth, and weakest album.) I have enough stuff like this in my collection that I don’t need to run out and buy any Pain Confessor, but if by chance I had picked up this disc in the 00s, it would be good enough to squeeze some other similar thing out of contention. You might call that “damning with faint praise,” but around here, that’s nearly the best kind of praise you can expect!
— Friar Johnsen

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