Born from Pain

War

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Though they hail from the town of Heerlen, in The Netherlands, Born from Pain's metalcore aesthetic has always been inspired primarily by American East Coast stalwarts like Agnostic Front, Madball and Hatebreed. The simply named War is their fourth full-length album overall, and, not surprisingly, its songs don't mess with this decade-long tradition; only fine-tuning it further and attempting to turn the power levels to such a heightened state that nobody should remain unmoved (or un-bruised) when they leave the moshpit floor. "Behind Enemy Lines" and "Scorched Earth" are especially unforgiving in this regard, spraying rapid-fire whup-ass in the face of any challengers, and offering hardly any breakdowns in which one might even try to catch one's breath. On the other hand, "Stop at Nothing" and "Doomsday Clock" exemplify another breed of Born from Pain songs: still positively crushing, yet deliberate enough to accommodate additional melodies and rhythm-punctuating gang shouts (the all-instrumental "The War Is On" makes for an interesting wild card amid all this). And somewhere between the two trends lies the stunning musical and lyrical achievement of "Bury Me Fighting" -- as close to a career-topping tour de force as one could hope for within this album -- and all of the year's best metalcore, in fact. Speaking of lyrics, of course it goes without saying that all of the songs on War come laden with harsh but empowering messages crucial to the makeup of any true hardcore band. Prefaced in the CD booklet by no less than an open letter of intent, these invariably impart brutally earnest and often dour worldviews, but ultimately urge all listeners to "never give up, never lose hope, rise or die."

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