Artist: World of Pain
Album: End Game
The world is an insane place—every day we are bombarded with news reports of terror attacks, shooting rampages and criminal behavior as if that’s how the world is supposed be. It’s almost become humdrum, as many of us do little but shrug and sigh in resignation at the sorry state of our planet. There are those, however, whose “sigh” is a more violent outburst of disgust and aggravation—those who aren’t complacent with the downward spiral the world seems to find itself riding. San Diego beatdown outfit World of Pain are the musical manifestation of those voices. With their latest full length album, End Game, World of Pain create a violent testament to the unjust state of the world as evil as the actions that inspire it. World of Pain take a foundation of fast, pissed hardcore and turn up the heat, roasting the listener with infernal, intense blast of beatdown that will leave jaws broken, eyes blackened and egos eviscerated before the last track is done with.
World of Pain don’t necessarily reinvent the wheel when it comes to heavy hardcore, but they certainly attest to the genre’s livelihood. End Game toggled between speedy, skin-shredding blast beats and beefy, bold breakdowns that batter the listener hither and to like a piñata at a child’s birthday party. Percussionist Paul Dove finds himself at the center of the band’s devastating dynamic. Dove’s drumming is capable of being quick and bouncy (“Eden Unjust” is a catchy example) yet slow and slamming (see “Inquisition” or “Two Face”). Dove doesn’t boggle the listener’s mind with lightning-speed blast beats or five-minute long fills, but after all, World of Pain isn’t out to entrance the listener with technicality–they’re out to tear limb from limb with calculated, crushing anger—and Dove does this expertly, especially when assisted by TJ Seely’s slinking, low bass. Seely and Dove craft a smooth-yet-smothering low end that weighs down on the listener like a leaden yoke. It is because of Seely and Dove’s devastating firmament that guitarists Tristan Huarte and Vito Lograsso are able to create such immense, earth-quaking breakdowns with incredible ease. From the first hammering hits of “End of Days” to the last resonating chug of “Strive to Survive,” Huarte and Lograsso swing like two sledgehammers amped up on speed, sending deep cracks across the listener’s skull before the album is even half way done. Again, while the duo may not be 2016’s flashiest guitarists, the duo riff and chug away with fretwork plenty ample enough to keep up with Dove’s drumming and Seely’s grooves.
World of Pain’s vocal element—while not bad by any means—is precisely what one would predict from a west-coast heavy hardcore act. Frontman Noah Friend (a somewhat misleading name, given his intense and intimidating vocals) reigns over End Game with a beefy, harsh roar that scorches the listener’s ears and fills their skull with hatred. Friend’s vocals are the bitter product of a malevolent world, and his lyrics are no different—proclaiming disgust and disappointment at the entropy of his surroundings, Friend’s vocals make for a tasteful and catchy compliment to World of Pain’s punishing musicianship. “Eden Unjust” sees Friend’s lyrics a notch above the genre’s standard, while “Two Face” and “Subliminal Diversion” don’t do him any favors, coming across slightly corny as well as a touch nonsensical. All the same, those in search of fuel for a mosh-driven flame will find all that they need to keep feet and fists flying with Friend’s furious vocals—and really, what more can one want?
In a word, World of Pain’s End Game is pissed—yet bitter, heavy and relentless are all acceptable substitutes. This Californian quintet leave no holds barred, giving the listener half an hour of hellfire and horrendous heaviness without filler or remorse. Packed with poignant commentary on the world today, as well as a plethora of punishing breakdowns and fight-inducing riffs, World of Pain’s latest record is the dictionary definition of ruthless. At points, the band could benefit from slightly better lyricism, but the listener is forced to remember—it’s a beatdown-laden heavy hardcore album: the sort that makes you swing first and ask questions later…if you’re still conscious to ask any at all.
For Fans Of: Whatever It Takes, Wolfpack, Drowning, Street Rat
By: Connor Welsh