Cynic Paradise

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Industrial metal reached its creative peak in the late '80s and early '90s thanks to agitators such as Ministry, Godflesh, and White Zombie, but there is still room for quality industrial metal in the 21st century -- even if it's a less than groundbreaking album like Cynic Paradise. Peter Tägtgren's Pain, of course, came to the industrial metal party later than the abovementioned bands; Tägtgren founded Pain as a one-man band in 1996, and Pain has remained a side project for the Hypocrisy founder (who is known for producing death metal and black metal). But if Tägtgren is a follower rather than a leader where industrial metal is concerned, that doesn't mean that Pain's work isn't worthwhile -- and Cynic Paradise is an engaging disc even though it doesn't pretend to break any new ground for industrial metal. The thing that, above all else, makes Cynic Paradise a winner is Tägtgren's attractive sense of melody. Industrial rhythms are part of the equation, certainly, but at the end of the day, Cynic Paradise is about melodies, hooks, and songcraft more than beats -- and Tägtgren's work is enjoyably infectious whether he is making some goth-influenced moves on "Follow Me" and "Feed Us" or bringing a Motörhead-ish attitude to "Have a Drink on Me." Those who know a lot about the history of industrial rock know that many of the industrial trailblazers of the ‘80s didn't necessarily stick to a traditional verse/chorus/verse/chorus format, but Tägtgren -- much like Rob Zombie -- never claimed to be an industrial purist, and this album will easily appeal to fans of melody-driven industrial metal even if they have never been able to comprehend, say, Skinny Puppy or Throbbing Gristle. Serious industrial connoisseurs who have accused Pain of being derivative won't change their minds after hearing Cynic Paradise, but that doesn't make this 46-minute CD any less enjoyable.

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