Pain Link

'The Burden of Sin'

(Peace or Die records)

MARK: 87/100


Let me give you Thrash metal junkies an advice aside from your age; if you are into acts capable of manufacturing a bridge between the old and the new school with elevated technical skills practically and not only by the words of a biography, do yourself a favour and get the debut-CD of this Cincinnati's band. The review might end here but as usual I feel obliged to give more details, especially considering that we're dealing with the first effort of a band; they are actually seasoned musicians and it shows in every second and they've chosen the easy way on a local label after releasing a self-titled demo a while ago.

A sad and somber violin is the unusual manner of opening and closing a CD, and the opener "Choose Your Path" is meant to make clear that nothing here is as you would expect; the calm before the storm and viceversa. The next tracks are a sonic assault from start to finish with just a coupla exceptions.
From the following "Dying Hope" you can immediately enjoy highly Techno-thrash metal riffs and axe solos, several stop 'n' goes and a healthy alternation of semi-clean and rawer vocals. Nothing is outa place and every utilized note appears to be there for a precise reason behind, and "Moshpit Mafia" is the best pattern to this explanation, moving between Anacrusis' rifferama and drumming a là Glenn Tipton (Fight era).
Of course everything is perfectible as they are humans, and therefore the only mark I feel like suggesting them is that main vocalist Brandon Neeley needs to try and be more various stylistically; this limit is plainly hearable in "When Sand Turns to Glass", a composition that lives different moments and sensations as expressed by the lively guitars, and consequently could have sounded better with vocals not constantly aggressive; the right direction is walked in "Tick" tho, an original piece with a tough vocal duet with lead 6-stringer Chris Brown. This composition is surmounted in beauty only by "Camp Pain", a stupefying hybrid of Thrash and Groove Metal-core containing superb guitar solos reminding the Marty Friedman of Megadeth's "Rust In Peace"; I don't exaggerate if I declare this song connects Megadeth, Slipknot and Biohazard and is worth buying the CD alone!
"Seal of Disapproval" is a semi-ballad in the vein of Down, which bursts and grows like the Pantera of the good ol' times, while "S.P.I.H." recurs to the more wicked vocals of the album, and "Forfeit the Hate" is nothing but deluxe Thrash with two diverse vocalists; its riffs break your neck and back, the rhythmic section makes an awesome work of hammering, the high vocals reach the quality peaks of Flotsam and Jetsam's Eric, and the piercing axe solos make in 1,000 pieces what's left of you.
"Tears of the Fallen Angel" is an instrumental piano song, a realxing interlude to the stolen (sorry) riff from "Reign In Blood", following a good introductory one; on the other hand, the rest of "Distorted Perception" is personal enough, and displays the more modern side of Pain Link, in line with As I Lay Dying, Shadows Fall and so on, yet with an old-fashioned footprint within the same song (as for the refrain and other riffs); what makes it quite desirable is the positive use of the two guitars, in this case playing a different guitar plot and not the same line doubled as before.

"The Burden of Sin" is one of those records growing slow, flowing smoothly in your ears only at the third listen. Had it come out before 1990, it would've become an historical album, notwithstanding I'm confident the ripe musicianship in it won't get unobserved nowadays either. Acquire the disc now and you're gonna feel all the wiser when hapless heads begin to roll.


Line-up on this record:
Brandon Neeley, v.
Chris Brown, g., v.
Greg Neeley, g.
Paul Parece, b.
Dave Bauer, d.

Band: P.O. Box 225 Hebron, KY 41048 - USA
CGL management, P.O. Box 31045, Cincinnati, OH 45231 - USA

Official sites:

-The Burden of Sin (CD - 2005)