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Purest Of Pain - Solipsis Award winner

Purest Of Pain
by Jon Conant at 18 April 2018, 1:09 AM

I am a HUGE fan of Merel Bechtold, she is an incredible guitarist who made DELAIN instantly better as soon as she joined, bringing a level of intensity and darkness to the guitar we had not previously heard from them. So it goes without saying, I am pretty hyped about the debut effort from (kind of) newcomers PUREST OF PAIN.

Bechtold is the driving creative force behind the melodic death metal 5-piece from the Netherlands. Their debut effort, “Solipsis,” is as guitar orientated and technically advanced as you would expect from this group of musicians. Topped off with mastering duties performed by Jens Bogren (OPETH, ARCH ENEMY, SOILWORK), this is a hell of a way to make a first impression. With Bechtold handling the majority of the writing, I expected plenty of proggy and melodic, lead guitar focused metal. We certainly get plenty of that, executed to near perfection. It’s also just as heavy as expected, driven by unrelenting harsh vocals from J.D. Kaye and consistently brutal tones.

What I was NOT expecting was how much this album djents. And I don’t care what anybody says, this album fucking djents. I love that and can’t get enough of it. Is that a personal preference? Yes, but this shit objectively JAMS. That t0ne. Oh, that sweet sweet t0ne. But it’s not just all zeroes and ones, while Bechtold does bring plenty of that dark and staccato djent we love so much, it’s blended in seamlessly with equally complex lead guitar lines working in amazing melodies. Songs like “Vessels” and “Momentum” are perfect examples of how well they found this balance point, it’s not just a one trick pony.

But it’s not just that, we get lots of droning and pulsating classic MDM riffs that weave in dark and atmospheric emotions and melodies. Track 7 “Tidebreaker,” is a prime example of this. It sounds like something straight out of a DARK TRANQUILITY entry, right down to the vocals. The diversity and veteran presence of exemplifying all the best aspects of the genre is impressively on display.

The album is long too, coming in at 14 songs, but it is not tedious to listen to. It builds and grows momentum throughout, further weaving in new stylistic choices and concepts with each new song, so you’re never left with a feeling of it being boring and derivate. For me, the album crescendos at track 10, “Noctambulist,” a passionate, heavy, and melancholic thriller. It’s easy to let an album, especially an MDM album, feel tired when it gets past 10 songs. Huge credit to PUREST OF PAIN for avoiding that, and keeping things pulsating and growing all the way through to the end.

Realistically, this is barely even a melodic-death metal entry. Yes, that is where the roots lie. A death metal sound driven by melodic and proggy lead guitar lines, no denying that. And the MDM influences are clear, lots of DARK TRANQUILITY, AT THE GATES, maybe even a little TESSERACT on the djentier and proggier side of things. But, Bechtold and company transcend the genres boundaries with ease. They have found a unique and modern sound that is almost worthy of a new genre description. Melodic djent death? Who knows. But, it’s incredible, it’s new, it’s fresh, and if you love either MDM or djent (or both), you’re in for an amazing time with this impressive debut from PUREST OF PAIN.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Pragmatic
2. Truth–seeker
3. Vessels
4. Crown of Worms
5. Momentum
6. The Sleep of Reason
7. Tidebreaker
8. Trial & Error
9. Terra Nil
10. Noctambulist
11. E.M.D.R.
12. Phantom Limb
13. The Solipsist
14. The End
J.D. Kaye – Vocals
Merel Bechtold – Guitars
Michael van Eck – Guitars
Frank van Leeuwen – Bass
Joey de Boer – Drums
Record Label: Independent/Purest of Pain


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Edited 04 February 2023

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