Heard It All Before

Having released their first CD in 1999, Born From Pain credit themselves as one of the first European bands to play in a metalcore style - and that's a bit like boasting about being one of the first farms in your neighbourhood to develop Mad Cow Disease. In their defence, however, Born From Pain are a bit more on the 'core' side of the metalcore equation than many of their trend-driven contemporaries, and new album "War" is packed to the gills with NYC hardcore style breakdowns, old-school thrashing and angry gang vocals. Sadly, it's also a case of 'been there, heard that, vomited in the Mean Fiddler toilets and passed out.'

Opener 'Relentless' is certainly that, with its unvarying mid-paced chug and repeatedly chanted refrain of 'This war! Is relentless!' Unfortunately, it's also as boring as hell and the rest of the album doesn't really redeem itself after this poor start. Energy levels are consistently low on "War;" tempos are often kept at strolling speed and while in more capable hands this can often build a crushingly heavy atmosphere, in Born From Pain's case it just sounds lethargic. When the accelerator pedal is pressed the album's more thrashing moments are spot on Slayer imitation, but unhappily for Born From Pain (and anyone listening to their CD) they sound closer to the confused and directionless Slayer who recorded "God Hates Us All" rather than the metal titans who spat out "Reign In Blood" at an unsuspecting world. The Slayer comparisons don't end there, as vocalist Che delivers his lines in a fairly typical modern hardcore belch, sounding somewhat akin to Slayer mouthpiece Tom Araya chewing a toffee whilst suffering from a heavy cold.

There is a glittering array of guest stars on "War," with Napalm Death's Barney Greenway, Lou Koller from Sick Of It All, Gorefest's Jan Chris and Pepe from Hatebreed popping in to do their thing. However, all these guest contributions do is serve to remind us that Born From Pain still have a long way to go before they're in the same league as their heroes. Riffs are unmemorable, breakdowns are uninspiring, lyrics are simplistic; this is one "War" definitely not worth dying in.