The collection of tracks on this album really shows the hard-edge punk sound that Mental Pain has been trying to craft in the Southeastern corner of Ohio for the last five years. One cannot do any better but start off this album with “Together We Stand”, a track that puts Mental Pain alongside The Unseen and The Casualties for pure streetpunk. “Raw and Ruthless” may not have the pure catchiness that the tracks immediately preceding and following (“Sceners”) have, but really diverts Mental Pain further into a sick, dirty punk sound.
The difference in sound between the “Raw and Ruthless” EP and “Punk Equals Pride” is almost as much of a difference as night and day. There are much more in the way of seeds present during tracks like “Punk Equals Pride” that would later grow into full vegetation by the time the EP came out. What is really noticeable is the muted sound of the guitar in the earlier tracks; when Mental Pain got to the studio in 2004, Bill had the chops to put some sick riffs into each track. Something that is present through all of the tracks on this discography has to be the intricate bass lines of Logan, something that really comes to bear during tracks like “Listen to the Politics”. “Listen to the Politics” is a shining example of what Mental Pain would evolve into; a catchy chorus is bookended by a shrill guitar and “Got The Time” (Anthax)-styled bass lines.
This album should be a great introduction to the band and will undoubtedly light a fire under the ass of the band to come out with a new album in the near future. With the average track length of songs during “Five Years of Pain” clocking in at about two minutes a piece, Mental Pain knows exactly what it is that they wish to do and how they want to do it. There are introductions to songs (one need only listen to the guitar-heavy beginning of “F.T.G.”) but they are not the bloated, extended fare that drag down a number of heavier punk bands. If you can get down to Marietta, check out Mental Pain; the music on this album contains much of their live fury but one simply cannot say they understand the band without seeing them live. The album contains five years; here’s to hoping the band can brave another five and expand what is already a full sound.
Top Tracks: Waste of Space, Raw and Ruthless
Mental Pain – Five Years of Pain 99’ – 04’ / 2006 Self / 17 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/mentalpain / http://mentalpainpunx.tk / Reviewed 06 March 2006