Seeking a refuge from the sunny pop-punk of the LifeSavers, Michael Knott created a shadowy sibling for the outfit, LifeSavers Underground, or L.S.U.. Shaded Pain's dark chords and death-obsessed lyrics created a maelstrom on its initial release, causing it to be returned in mass quantities by horrified listeners expecting a jovial punk rock album. Shaded Pain instead recalls the same sort of hollow, threatening darkness conjured by artists like Bauhaus and Nick Cave. Knott sings like a man possessed, howling and shrieking through driving numbers like "Die Baby Die" and moaning like a prophet of doom in the chilling "Bye Bye Colour." There is no absolution on Shaded Pain, just endless emptiness. Even the up-tempo "Our Time Has Come" is built around the grim chorus: "Our time has come to kiss the cleaver." Despite this, the record still sounds like a burst of creative energy, Brian Doidge's guitar screaming like a rabid swine and Knott's haunting voice is the embodiment of regret and self-loathing. Though it was misunderstood at the time of its release, Shaded Pain would go on to attain the status of cult classic, inspiring artists like Starflyer 59 and the Huntingtons.
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AllMusic Review by J. Edward Keyes