Metropol, Hengelo, Netherlands
5th July 2014
New York hardcore veterans Pro-Pain have been around since 1992 and continue to take their riff heavy metallic take on the genre out on the road regularly. They rarely make it to the UK though as far as I can tell so when I saw that their tour for latest album 'The Final Revolution' included a date in Hengelo in the Netherlands when I was in the area I went out of my way to check them out.
As luck would have it their show clashed with the Dutch national football team taking on Costa Rica in the World Cup so sensibly they decided to start early and finish in time for their audience to watch the game as the country was football mad right up to the semi-final.
It wasn't even 8.30pm and still light outside when they hit the stage and launched into the fiery riff for 'Deathwish' from the latest album. There professionalism was apparent from the off; they are a no nonsense kind of band, experienced and at home on a stage. Full of fiery energy and aggression they were still tight as a drum, none of the anarchic, loose vibe that some other hardcore bands have live.
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As this was my first time seeing the band live I have no idea if they are always this focused and intent on getting on with the show or if they were hurrying up to make sure they finished early but one song followed another with no respite for band or audience.
The band were full of fire, guitarist Marshall Stephens never stands still as he riffs away allowing his six-string compatriot Adam Phillips to blast out some searing solos among all that punky outrage. The rhythm section was really impressive to me, drummer Jonas Sanders was a sweaty blur most of the time while Gary Meskil pounded out his bass lines while growling his vocals about social injustices and unjust wars.
They had the metal leanings of great riffs and the punk energy of hardcore but everything had a really impressive groove. In the moshpit they weren't just jumping around, they were loving the rhythms. Even the band's roadie at the back of the stage was grooving along!
It wasn't just the band who were veterans here as their audience has aged with them and it was to be honest the oldest moshpit I have ever seen! Not the biggest either with most folks content to stand back and watch but the old grey haired hardcore veterans in there somehow managed to keep up with the band, all credit to them!
Sometimes it felt like the band were racing through their back catalogue and I was disappointed that they only played one song from 'The Final Revolution', an album I really enjoyed. However the fans seemed happy with a succession of old favourites like 'Unamerican, 'In For The Kill' and the classic 'Foul Taste Of Freedom'.
All too soon they had the crowd chanting along to 'Make War (Not Love)' and then it was all over with best wishes from the stage for the football to come and a hope that buying Pro-Pain t-shirts might guarantee a Dutch win!
Eighteen songs in an hour had left most of the room a sweaty, satisfied mess and the majority of those present headed off to enjoy the football. I really enjoyed my first sighting of Pro-Pain and it's a shame they don't play the UK more often, I think a lot of people would enjoy their energy and vibe.
Gary Meskil - Vocals/Bass
Adam Phillips - Lead Guitar
Marshall Stephens - Rhythm Guitar
Jonas Sanders -Drums