From sex to space travel with Swede industrialists

For nearly 20 years Peter Tägtgren has piloted the good ship Pain through choppy waters and has cruised through six albums. Now, some five years after “You Only Live Twice”, he and the rest of his cohorts in all things industrial have returned with “Coming Home” – and it’s a collection that is every bit as disparate and fun as you have come to expect.

He starts in playful mood with the exceedingly dumb “Back To Piss You Off” which as mindless as it is, is full of catchy, sleazy charm.

The mood continues down the same path with “Call Me”. Lyrically this might have been rejected by Poison circa 1986 for being just a little sleazy (at one point it actually uses the Christine Aguilera line about Genies in bottles and rubbing the right way), but the major selling point here is Joakim Brodén as the Sabaton singer gives the kind of performance only he can as the song is power metal meets Readers Wives – and is as good as that sounds!

From here, things can only get more normal, really, and “A Wannabe” mixes between OTT power metal intent and shimmering acoustics, “Pain In The Ass” on the other hand is thumping Rob Zombie arena style industrial bombastics and is sure to be a thrilling affair in the live arena.

There are occasions when “Coming Home” appears to be an excuse to try as many ideas possible, and “Black Knight Satellite” is huge and lush – but the fact is that whatever is attempted here works.

The title track, for example, is a gentle, almost emotional affair – and belies a depth in the songwriting that is difficult to do in music like this – which seems to chart the journey of the band itself, perhaps.

That they follow it up with a heads-down piece of dancefloor filler “Black Absinthe Rising” seems to suggest (metaphorically at least) that whilst the occasional piece of reflection never does anyone any harm, this is essentially the music of a good time.

With nothing to outstay its welcome the album fair old hurtles along, “Final Crusade” ushers itself in on a harsh electro beat, and “Natural Born Idiot” has an obscenely big groove, just because it can.

It’s the closing “Starseed” that might garner the plaudits, though. For this album it nearly classes as stripped back (that it is to say that it only puts a bit of orchestration over the stark verses) but it has weighty matters on its mind about a universe that is “bigger than God”.

Given the sheer humungous intention of most of the songs here, the same could be said of “Coming Home” in general.

It’s like this: if less is more, than on “Coming Home” Pain say this: “yeah but if less is more, then just think how much more, more could be.”

Rating 7/10

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