Thy Pain
More Than Suffering

I’m going to get straight to the point, much like this criminally short mini-album from Thy Pain. More Than Suffering is no frills, no musical jargon kick ass American death metal. I just wish it were a longer ass kicking.

Here’s what you get in 21 minutes: some very aggressive, pounding yet melodic American death metal without the Morbid-Corpse-Tion sound. Thy Pain has taken a similar approach to Shadows Fall or Burning Inside, injecting a Swedish sense of melody into their thrash inspired form of death metal. However, I should say that Thy Pain are not quite as accessible as Shadows Fall, a slightly more emphasis on speed and grinding differentiates the two.

Opening with kind roaring dramatic riff that all albums should start with, “Far From Darkness” kicks things off with thrashy, balls out speed attack, breaking into a typical American death metal staccato segment. To be honest, starting out, I wasn’t that impressed. But at the minute and a half mark, they break into a huge melodic soul piercing solo that would make any musician with a Gothenburg zip code weak at the knees. At this point, I realized I wasn’t listening to anything ordinary. It’s these moments of diverse escapism that give More Than Suffering, a nice sense of relief from the trappings of death metal’s predictable templates.

Yes, this does have some shared elements from most other big U.S. bands (Testament and Death come to mind), but Thy Pain have injected a very subtle sense of foreign blood to mingle with the homeland influence that gives them a “new” feel; much like …Of One Blood brought to the table a couple of years ago. Whether it’s the Bay Area-inspired breakdown midway through “United in Blood,” the closing flourish of “20 Years in Eclipse”, or heartfelt clean vocals during “Wounded Heart.” Thy Pain has made an effort to make all seven (albeit short) songs have that one moment that leaves a lasting impression. Thy Pain has also ensured that the more interesting elements are not swamped in 5-minute dirges of blandness. The songs are short, to the point and complete with no extraneous material. This is good, but also leaves the listener a little empty after only 20 minutes.

Production wise, you couldn’t want for a better sound, Rocky Gray (guitarist of Soul Embraced) has spewed forth a crunchy, down-tuned, beefy noise that successfully melds old school power with new school clarity -‘ Andy Sneap couldn’t have done it better. However, Thy Pain does show some inexperience, namely the guitarist/singer Damien McNeil. His guitar work is a solid ode to Bay Area thrash and NWSDM, and his clean vocals excellent but underused. Unfortunately, his gravely rasp is lacking power and seems forced from the throat. This does mute some of the power. It seems to me as if he was a clean singer first, then was required to perform the death vocals. It’s here Thy Pain come up short.

Luckily, most of the ass-kicking riffs are sans vocals. Drummer David Srczynski, while solid, is unspectacular. He pounds away at a Terry Butler like pace, although in the big picture, this suites the nature of the music. OK, I lied, this review isn’t short and to the point, but Thy Pain gave me so much to like in such a short period that I couldn’t help it. A short review wouldn’t have done this great mini-album justice. Much like the United States is the melting pot of cultures, Thy Pain is a melting pot of styles that combines to create an enjoyable thrash/death metal release that doesn’t sound cliched or hackneyed. This is an engrossing 21 minutes of music and I will be looking for great things from Thy Pain in the near future. You guys are working on a full length album, right?

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 27th, 2001


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