For the most part, Coming Home is Pain‘s attempt to capture that classic rock vibe, and the attempt makes for one hell of journey back in time in the vein of the comic series and film Heavy Metal. “Designed to Piss You Off” starts off aggressive and gritty despite the crisp, modern shine the band is known for. Outside the chorus, the track oozes with a southern inhospitality full of drinking, living one’s own life, and continuing to exist just to get under the skin of those who try to rule over someone who cannot be ruled. It’s a less polished version of the recent single and following track “Call Me” which plays up a very lust-filled theme of the eighties quite well in every regard while also maintaining a rock n’ roll attitude. The only gripe is that I wish this song, along with many others, had an actual orchestra backing the music instead to give the songs a larger-than-life feel they desperately deserve. After all, if you intend to go big as Pain does with this performance up to and including Joakim Brodén of Sabaton, its only fitting to go all out.
But then you have “Coming Home” which is a very laid back performance that, if it weren’t for the symphonic and electronic elements, could easily pass for something from the nineties or early two-thousands more than an original modern composition. There’s also a certain Lordi appeal to some tracks, such as “Absinthe Phoenix Rising”. The main verses are your standard enlightened light rock material, though the heavier, bass driven chorus features some deeper vocals in the background that are spot on to that of the aforementioned group’s own doing. But if none of this interests you, there is a little more to this release the initial single “Black Knight Satellite” alludes to.
There’s actually very few science fiction themed performances on this album it seems. The initial single “Black Knight Satellite” is one of the few to carry that distinctive astral element with a somewhat over-the-top presence courtesy those additional symphonic notes. It still reigns as one of the better performances, though in the grand scheme of things a fairly misleading single. “Starseed” carries that tone lyrically, but that’s about it. Musically it’s pretty grounded, utilizing the science themes more as a manner of inner reflection than actually travelling amongst the cosmos. But the heaviest track stands as “Final Crusade” which has a modern Samael feel to the main verses, but everywhere else has a lighter marching sensation with a rhythm held by the bass in a sort of Devin Townsend Ziltoid the Omniscient manner.
Pain is alway known for doing things a little different from time-to-time, and Coming Home is no exception. The eighties to nineties rock outer coating stands as more of a template for the underlying concept of fame and living that style of life that appears among the many subtle other topics thrown about in this release. It’s unfortunate it was initially marketed with a science fiction feel given the first single, but if you have heard “Call Me” then you’ll have a better understanding of what this effort brings to the table. The main problem this entry has is that as those wild times start to fade away, as does the appeal of the music. The more grounded Coming Home gets, the less interesting it actually is, concluding more on a note that feels like a journey from amazing compositions to merely catchy yet acceptable ones.