There’s long awaited and then there’s long awaited. Los Angeles' Foreign Pain have been slow cooking this one but rest assured, it’s well worth the wait. Though formed in 2016, Death of Divinity marks the band’s debut full length. Handling the release is Good Fight Music who, a decade on, continue to fly the flag for highly varied hardcore punk and metal the world over.
Whether or not the band cribbed their band name from the closing track on fellow Californians The Warriors 2005 album, War Is Hell, their connection is worth noting. In fact, the gang vocals you hear on “We Are What We Fear” are provided from the very same wild ones from Tehachapi. Also popping in for features are members of Comeback Kid and Xibalba, co-signs sure to catch some ears.
There’s plenty here to satisfy fans of early ‘oughts metalcore as well as Counterparts and their modern ilk. Featuring ex-Ghost Inside Aaron Brooks manning one of two guitars, the band’s rounded out by the similarly chug-obsessed Darel McFayden on the other. The rhythm section of drummer Sina Xiansheng and battery mate Shawn Skadburg on the four string is ferocious, topped off by a rabid and commanding performance by vocalist Andrew Doyle.
The lead single “...On Failure” was enough to get me frothing for the full length, but it’s the followup and Song of the Day “Knell’ that has me impatiently clockwatching for its impending release.
Finding the band at their most driving on the album’s most hardcore influenced track, they still shoehorn not one but two bludgeoning breakdowns for the metalcore and mosh inclined. Eschewing the cleaner approach of early '00s metalcore, Foreign Pain go full-throated and bludgeon from the jump. They manage to call to mind both Botch’s technical rumblings and Every Time I Die’s unmoored fury.
Lyrically, though, they forego any traces of light. In fact, they plummet the listener deep into the recesses of our darker impulses a la labelmates, The End. Essentially an exorcising tour of catharsis, “Knell” bashes you in the head whilst plumbing the depths of suicidal ideation.
I hear dashes of All Pigs Must Die or Trap Them when they break into a quickly fleeting but thrilling D-beat onslaught around the minute mark. As expected, there’s a tense and building passage that culminates in a crowd-killing crusher of a breakdown that should satisfy the set of folks loyal to the “when they bring back the nasty riff, but slower” meme.
They’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here, but they’re happy to re-engineer the damn thing. The song ultimately fades into a washy dalliance with ambient sounds, though based on its placement on the album, that respite doesn’t last long. No spoilers, but the whole damn thing rules.
Pain is sadly not so foreign to any of us. Neither should Foreign Pain be. Let them in. Purgation awaits.
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