People’s motives for making music or creating art in general are as manifold and individual as the people who create it. Art often works as a way of treating one’s own problems and emotional pain. I would even go as far as to say that some of the most powerful and unique pieces of art–some of the most impressive paintings, songs, movies and books–are the result of painful and difficult situations or conditions in the artist’s life. Countless writers, artists and musicians committed suicide after a history of depression, and many more try to drown their pain in drugs and alcohol. Pain seems to be one of the most important motors of creativity. And in the world of music, I think it is safe to say that in no genre this is as obvious as in metal and hardcore. Whole subgenres have emerged that are entirely rooted in depression and emotional damage, self-hatred and misanthropy, sorrow and suffering.
Michigan-based two piece Hardcore outfit Problem of Pain carry pain in their band name and the music they are presenting on their new five-track EP I Will Always Want To Let Go really does it justice. Comprised of drummer/vocalist Jake Beaver and guitarist/vocalist Garrett Finch, the band takes elements of everything from metallic hardcore to black metal and sludge and turns it into their own heavy and eclectic sonic identity.
The harsh vocals on this EP are performed in the typical hardcore way of hoarse shouting and screaming, and are actually the most definitive hardcore element of Problem of Pain’s sound, which otherwise has a very sludgy, even blackened character to it. Blast beats and bleak, eerie-sounding dissonant riffing with some eventual tremolo picking here and there are reappearing elements of the band’s captivatingly dark and unrelentingly heavy sound. All these elements should make Problem of Pain’s music very interesting for fans of extreme metal who are not into hardcore music per se. That’s not to say that classic hardcore fans will be disappointed with this record. There are still enough chugging guitars to break the bleak atmosphere up from time to time and add another layer of heaviness to the mix.
The lyrics on I Will Always Want To Let Go deal with the problem of accepting one’s own mortality and imperfection, as well as anticipating the inevitable, in a very personal and poetic way. In spite of all the pain expressed in the songs, there is a glimmer of hope in the lyrics – a hope beyond the confines of earthly existence that eventually makes all finite suffering tolerable. However, to say that the lyrics are positive or uplifting would be an overstatement. More than anything, they are drenched in pain and the feeling of being overwhelmed by the daily challenges of existence and fit the dark music perfectly.
Overall, I Will Always Want To Let Go is an EP that combines the sheer darkness of black metal with the heaviness of sludge and the aggression of hardcore in a very competent and impressive way and makes for a captivating and entertaining listening experience for fans of any of the aforementioned genres alike.
“I Will Always Want To Let Go” can be streamed and purchased digitally from Blood and Ink Records’ Bandcamp Page.
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