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BadAss - More Pain, More Gain

BadAss
More Pain, More Gain
by Anna Chase at 10 August 2017, 3:00 PM

BADASS is a four-piece Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band based out of Italy and created by Alberto Rigoni in early 2016. Despite forming pretty recently, each band member has an extensive resumé of musical expertise- for example, vocalist Tani has played drums with NECROPHAGIA and collaborated with Takayoshi Ohmura (of BABYMETAL and MARTY FRIEDMAN), bassist Rigoni has played with ex-members of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and DREAM THEATER (and has been featured in countless international bass magazines to boot), and the remaining members have too many accomplishments to list here. “More Pain, More Gain”, which is coincidentally the band’s debut album, was released in April of 2017 much to the excitement and acclaim of the group’s impressively large fanbase. Like any first release, the album’s success could either make or break the band’s future. However, BADASS seems pretty confident about the album’s outcome, as they said on their website, this release has “powerful vocals, killer heavy bass, massive rhythm guitar riffs, drums from hell… isn't that perfect to kick your butt?” They talk a mighty fine talk, and definitely have that rockstar swagger and self-assurance. When I was sent this album, I was expecting it to “kick my butt” as promised.

“Intro” is a dark, extremely Industrial take on an album opener. Given this band’s penchant for Hard Rock, this track came as a shock. I wasn’t expecting the crackling, gritty distortion or the echoing, ethereal guitar riffs. However, those same riffs gave the slightest glimpse into what BADASS can do with a melody while holding back just enough to entice the listener to want more. In the title track, “More Pain, More Gain”, a pulsing bass riff starts off the track in a unique and interesting way. Tani’s voice is perfectly suited for the band’s blend of classic Heavy Metal and more modern Hard Rock. He’s got that slightly scratchy but still powerful tone that screams “rock star” and his vocal versatility is showcased as he goes from a melodic chorus to a threatening growl. The drums are also a key element in this song, and assist the bass in providing a powerful heaviness which gives everything a sense of rhythmic perfection.

In “Nightmares of My Youth”, an intense, catchy guitar melody blasts into the listener’s ears right from the get-go. The contrast between the chugging riffs and the ringing guitarwork in the verses keeps you on your toes, and when the tone takes a turn towards the Melodic Rock route in the chorus, the band’s ability to change styles at the drop of a hat is highlighted. The solo here is incredible. While, definitely inspired by early Metal solos, it still is a tornado of flawlessly executed notes and rhythms. “Royal Chains”, again, makes use of a strong isolated bass riff in the introduction. However, the rest of the track is polarly different from its predecessors. I especially enjoyed the layered tone of the vocals here, and the synth-y background track which weaves in and out of the central melody. While this track is solid in its musical technique, and had many elements I enjoyed, it did feel a little disjointed to me, especially in the beginning. However, the chorus is pure shrieking Hard Rock, and honestly I think that’s what saved this track.

In “Strong and United”, the band goes toward a more melodic route, and points the spotlight on Tani’s clean vocals. This song was like the intermission during a play. It was a refreshing break in style. I enjoyed the transition back into the band’s heavy Hard Rock style though, too, don’t get me wrong. There were so many different elements and techniques introduced in this track, especially in regards to the vocals and guitar. The main point of this track, in fact, (at least in my opinion) was to highlight Tani’s incredible vocal range. “What We Need” is all about Denis Novello. The guy is an absolute powerhouse. His rhythms and beats are always spot-on, and here his energy and relentless drumming are the best part of this track. Don’t get me wrong, the guitar riffs are catchy and electrifying, and the entire piece has a little bit of an early MEGADETH vibe, which I love. The heaviness and melodic qualities of this track are in perfect equilibrium, and it’s definitely my favorite on the album.

“One More Night” is a bit misleading at first. It starts with a slow, tranquil guitar riff and a melancholy vocal melody. However, in classic BADASS style, it soon pumps into a chugging, almost percussive riff and a chorus reminiscent to Power Metal. Tani’s vocals flip from soft and muted to Heavy Metal growls in a split second, and this song introduces a catchy overarching melody which contrasts the heavy sections just enough. In “Join Me”, the bass and drums mesh together into a cohesive background which almost overtakes the vocals and guitars in their combined force. The chorus here is evocative of any radio-friendly Hard Rock hit, and Tani’s raw, electrifying vocals showed real passion and power. I thoroughly approved of the addition of another drum solo here. I think the focus BADASS has on the percussion section is unique and gives their particular style of music a whole other dimension.

“Redemption” is definitely slower than their other songs. However, it amps up the heaviness to a whole new level, and relies on exposed bass and drum tracks in order to establish a defined, chugging rhythm. The vocals match the rest of the instruments perfectly in their intensity, and the guitars go from screaming solos to pulsing rhythmic riffs to clear melodies in a heartbeat. One of the most impressive talents of BADASS is their versatility and ability to change styles rapidly and cohesively. In “Don’t Bother Me”, a definite sense of Heavy Metal power is established. The vocals are slightly distorted in parts, but retain the same electrifying power throughout the whole album. This track is without a doubt one of the heavier ones in “More Pain, More Gain” and has a slight influence of classic Heavy Metal while still keeping unique elements that maintain its sense of modernity and uniqueness. It’s another one of my favorites, and pushes an attitude of take-no-prisoners anger and aggression.

Finally, “Outro” harkens back to the album’s introduction with an over-the-top distorted bass riff which, strangely enough, is based on part of Bach’s Cello Suite Prelude. It’s a fun, but also artistic, way to end an album. In conclusion, I think BADASS are a group of seriously talented guys with a lot of passion and experience regarding the music they play. They’ve got a distinctive sound, and while the production quality isn’t the best ever and in some parts their songs can sound a bit disjointed, their successes far outweigh their faults. If you’re looking for a heavy, Hard Rock banger of a debut album, then you’ve come to the right place.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Intro
2. More Pain, More Gain
3. Nightmares of My Youth
4. Royal Chains
5. Strong and United
6. What We Need
7. One More Night
8. Join Me
9. Redemption
10. Don’t Bother Me
11. Outro
Lineup:
Titta Tani - Vocals
Alberto Rigoni - Bass
Alessio Tricarico - Guitar
Denis Novello - Drums
Record Label: Lion Music
     


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