The Almighty Excruciating Pain: E.P. EP

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The Almighty Excruciating Pain: E.P. EP
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The Almighty Excruciating Pain: E.P. EP
Melodic Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Self-release
August 4th, 2011
Release length: 25:03
Bandcamp
Myspace
The Almighty Excruciating Pain “hails from the deepest, dankest, and most awesomest dives” of Vancouver, Canada according to their band biography. Given their name, you would immediately expect the group to not take themselves too seriously, and an introductory line like that would almost cement it to anyone who hadn’t heard of this band prior to their debut independent EP release. Titled the E.P. EP (what I’d assume to mean Excruciating Pain EP), the group actually brings a strong mixture of early Thrash and Crossover Thrash concepts, blending them with a Melodic Death Metal sound, and plenty of energetic aggression. But, does this six song EP release put the band’s best foot forward?

This release actually seems like it encompasses more than just one set of recordings. The first set of songs here hold a very clear quality, but with it comes so rather sharpened guitars that just feed off what comes off as pure angst from the mixture of Thrash and Melodic Death Metal, as well as the tight material and energy incorporated by everyone including the equally as sharp shouting vocal performance. All of this is backed up well with a bass guitar performance that stands out nicely in the mix, but isn’t too deep to conflict with things, giving it enough of a blunt side that it has an edge without dulling the sting of the guitars that much. The drumming here shines through well too with the entire kit leveled nicely in the audio, finding the cymbals to come through in a manner as equally important to the deeper clicking kicks and the tight sounding snares. Surprisingly, this all works well during some of the more melodic moments of the album too, such as the guitar solos and some slower bridges that don’t fall prey to general hooks, but rather well suiting material that comes through as a more hopeful or mournful, pending the way it’s handled of course, that is often transitioned into well. These sections don’t really end up sounding as good as the Thrash-fueled elements that clearly feed off this audio quality, but you simply cannot say it sounds bad in any sense. But again this covers the first few tracks.

The first four songs here come off clearly designed for this specific EP. “Idol Worship” starts off with some mid-tempo material that has some good guitar work and overall accentuates the Crossover Thrash sound that sometimes appears. It eventually becomes more like a traditional Thrash track, but still retains that general rhythm which will immediately have you bobbing your head along instinctively as the song gradually builds. There’s a subtle aggression found in the music that helps to keep the listener feeling as he or she is on the edge of their seat the entire time the song progresses forward, and there’s plenty of well executed transitions to keep it all flowing naturally, even if slowing down momentarily so it can rebuild back to the tense mid-tempo that feels held back on purpose, which is released full throttle by the end to send anyone paying attention into a mosh pit-worthy feeding frenzy. But thanks to the variety this EP brings, “Manatee” and the songs that follow end up being completely different monsters all together.

“Manatee” actually finds a bigger melodic focus to the track, though not completely departing from its Thrash template. The slower pace really sets up a different atmosphere all together, and you never feel as though you’re waiting for a building climax to hit. The mood is a little more laid back, but still pretty heavy that you won’t let your guard down. The guitar solo here captures that rather hopeful and mellow tone that sticks with it from the start, but really enhances it before it goes into a heavier guitar solo. The two-stepping Crossover Thrash approach works to give it an eighties touch as well, the kind you would expect to hear during a song that finds the band trying to push a meaning they feel strong about such as the environment, but luckily this song in no way becomes that preachy. “Don’t Worry, the Worst is Yet to Come” is another solid offering from the band, and shows more of a traditional song progression and sound for a Thrash and Melodic Death Metal group, so it doesn’t necessarily stand out, but ends up being a great song regardless. It’s what’s next that sticks out though, and that’s “Taco Song,” which shows off the band’s light-hearted nature.

“Taco Song” is just weird to hear, and also seems to end the actual EP. It’s a Spanish serenade track handled with a subtle accent, acoustic guitars, additional female vocals and region-specific instruments. It’s enjoyable for its silly lyrics about tacos, love, beauty, and the singer’s guitar. But, it’s a song that, after a few spins, you’ll start to get a bit bored of it as the humor starts to fades from it. But this also acts as a segway to the final two songs, which seem like live tracks, or just rawer audio recordings from a different time that have a greatly muffled audio quality that either were recorded as bonus tracks. These nicely show that the band’s sound on this disc is not just from the studio though, which is a plus for anyone listening. “B.O.S.A.” sounds like a great song for a live performance, showing off the group’s nice mixture of melodic elements and solid Thrash aggression with some slower passages that clearly cater to the first of those two sounds. “A.T.M.” doesn’t quite have that much of a lo-fi sound, and doesn’t feel like a live recording in any sense. Either way, what somewhat raw quality causes the track to actually feel a little more aggressive vocally, and the bass really stands out here compared to the other tracks. There’s not much to say about it other than it’s a good song, but really not one of the most impressive here.

The Almighty Excruciating Pain have put together a good EP, and there’s solid tracks to be found. However, “Taco Song” can get rather boring quickly, and “A.T.M.” is just a good track, but by then you can pick up on some repetitive issues such as the song going into a random slow section to push the melodic touch of the band further, mostly in a guitar solo, then quickly building back up. But, even with those faults, E.P. EP has four songs that are worth listening to, though the last of them, “B.O.S.A.,” is impressive in a completely different way. Considering this release is available as a “name your price” download on their Bandcamp page, it’s actually pointless to not check out this release if you’re a fan of Thrash Metal in general. The songs are rather unique for the style today, and overall the E.P. EP does have enough material that you’ll want to come back to on a later date.

01. Idol Worship – 5:50
02. Manatee – 5:21
03. Don’t Worry, the Worst is Yet to Come – 3:42
04. Taco Song – 2:55
05. B.O.S.A. – 3:25
06. A.T.M. – 3:50
Overall Score: 7/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by The Almighty Excruciating Pain.