about%20-%20jpg.jpg reviews%20-%20jpg.jpg interviews%20-%20jpg.jpg gigs%20-%20jpg.jpg cd_review_pain_cominghome001006.jpg
Five long years have passed since 'You Only Live Twice', the last PAIN album, although it's not like Peter Tägtgren hasn't been busy in the intervening years, what with extensive touring in support of said release; a new Hypocrisy album in 2013, plus further tours; last year's Lindemann album, 'Skills in Pills', with the Rammstein frontman; not to mention his production work in The Abyss, including his own bands as well as two new Sabaton albums. So, yep, I guess the man can be forgiven for the delay but, eventually, he's back with the next musically invigorating chapter in his ever-interesting, ever-evolving PAIN guise. And it's a very welcome return. The evolution is subtle, as the core PAIN sound remains intact; it's just become a little more expansive in its sonic and stylistic breadth. However, it could also be said the progression is not so subtle on certain tracks, particularly with the passages of music that have been embellished with some majestically conceived orchestral parts (for which Carach Angren's Clemens "Ardek" Wijers assisted).

And the long wait has been worthwhile as Tägtgren has achieved, at least in my opinion, perfection this time around. 'Coming Home' is everything you'd expect from the essence of a great PAIN album... and then some. Moreover, it's that rare kind of album where it's, somehow, instantly accessible but also a grower. Songs are likeable from the off, as they explode into sweepingly huge, epically melodic refrains in their choruses and, sometimes too, in the verses and bridges. There are hooks galore and enough melodically catchy handles to adore 'Coming Home' from the off. However, with each new listen, it seems to reveal further emotional depths and sonic allure, where I've found myself connecting to its appeal more and more.

Another strength of 'Coming Home' is that it transcends PAIN's perennial "industrial metal" branding with a heterogeneity of stylistic divergences. Astonishingly so, given Tägtgren's relative autonomy and auteurship with PAIN's studio recordings. Composing all the songs, plus performing, recording, producing and mixing all instruments himself, except for the drums (his son Sebastian replaces regular PAIN sticksman David Wallin behind the kit this time), it's incredible just how consistently great the material is and, also, how diverse it's transpired to be. Aside from the archetypal PAIN songs (of which 'Pain in the Ass' is, perhaps, the most paradigmatic here), we have the alt-metal charms of 'Absinthe Phoenix Rising'; the infectious marching metal stomp of 'Final Crusade'; the Bowie-esque verse/bridge arrangements and melodies of 'Starseed'; the country rock/metal twang of 'Designed to Piss You Off'... and so on. There's even a guest vocal appearance from Sabaton frontman Joakim Brodén on 'Call Me'.

Production-wise, 'Coming Home' has a pristinely polished sound, and the many layers have been mixed to perfection, yet the music still retains its soul. You would expect nothing less, though, as Tägtgren is a masterful producer - one of the best in metal, in fact. You want proof? Just look at his extensive and impressive list of production credits. You want further proof? Listen to 'Coming Home'. The incredible production shouldn't be taken for granted, though, despite Tägtgren's credentials and experience. This is still a remarkable achievement here. Just like the songs themselves. And, like the best PAIN albums in his ever-expanding discography, 'Coming Home' has boundless repeat playability value. Undoubtedly one of the albums of the year.
Nuclear Blast
Review by Mark Holmes
9th Sept 2016
1) Designed to Piss You Off
2) Call Me
3) A Wannabe
4) Pain in the Ass
5) Black Knight Satellite
6) Coming Home
7) Absinthe Phoenix Rising
8) Final Crusade
9) Natural Born Idiot
10) Starseed
"'Coming Home' is everything you'd expect from the essence of a great PAIN album... and then some."