REVIEW: Pain of Truth – Not Through Blood [2023]

Artist: Pain of Truth
Album: Not Through Blood

One of my favorite things about heavy music—hardcore especially—is when you can just tell where a band is from based on their sound. Sure, other genres do this too, but there’s something particularly satisfying about hearing the first lines of a song rip and being able to sigh and say to yourself, “oh Hell yeah, these guys are from New York.”

And sure enough, Pain of Truth are from New York.

Emerging as a particularly active, particularly violent and particularly aggressive outfit from Long Island and gaining immense traction within the community over a span of relatively few years, Pain of Truth embody the quintessential clash of high-speed energy and rambunctious aggression that—at least personally—defines east coast hardcore, and they do it very damn well on Not Through Blood. Combining an energetic onslaught of riffs, two-steps and jaw-busting breakdowns and juxtaposing them against bitter and occasionally introspective lyrics, Pain of Truth live up to their name, imbuing a harsh reality into their already-harsh take on hectic, heavier than Hell hardcore.

Not Through Blood is a fun, furious half an hour built on frenzied percussion and jarring, abrasive guitar that coalesces to hit like buck shot to the chest. From the anthemic introduction to “Lifeless on the Ground” through the metallic “Actin’ Up” and personal favorite “Too Late,” the band’s percussion is a cavalcade of speed intermixed with punchy grooves, serving as the band’s cantankerous heartbeat. “Pickin’ Up Scraps” sees the band’s percussive element work excellently with a bold, snappy bass, giving the song a dancy, energetic candor (which isn’t to say that any of the record’s other tracks were lacking it, just for the record). Meanwhile, “Actin’ Up” is a powerhouse of dissonant chugging and explosive percussion, constructed with what feels like one carefully honed purpose: slicing the listener into confetti. Pain of Truth bring a primal, powerful breed of hardcore to the table with subtle splashes of metal, beatdown and a unique cadence that allows Not Through Blood to truly foster a stand-out and impactful identity.

With each song landing like a surge of adrenaline pushed right through the ear, Not Through Blood—while powerful—needed something to lend it a little more variety and depth. That something just so happened to be one of the most impressive collections of guest vocalists heavy music as seen all year (and possibly even longer). While Pain of Truth are certainly no strangers to impressive features, Not Through Blood brings that sense of community and collaboration to a new level. Whether its a NYHC meeting of the minds with Madball’s Freddy Cricien on “You and Me,” the record’s title track featuring Incendiary or 200 Stab Wounds lending an extra layer of grit on “Actin’ Up,” there is no shortage of pure vocal power on Pain of Truth’s 2023 full length release, giving each song a distinct identity and giving the record as a whole an impressive replay value.

Not Through Blood is a blistering listen—immolating would probably be an understatement—and serves as another strong entry by an already prominent band. Laden with nothing but mosh-inducing, fight-inciting chaos in the form of scathing riffs and crunchy, zealous breakdowns, Pain of Truth alongside Never Ending Game and Balmora for some of the year’s finest hardcore

For Fans Of: Never Ending Game, Life’s Question, Merauder, Madball
By: Connor Welsh