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Death Trip - Pain is Pain: The Complete Death Trip 1988-1994

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Artist: Death Trip

Album: Pain is Pain: The Complete Death Trip 1988-1994

Label: Ektro

Review date: Jul. 12, 2012

Unless you’re a bit of a psycho, there are certain bands that it helps to be in a certain mood to appreciate. Finland’s leather-clad death rockers Death Trip are a perfect example. Relatively obscure outside of their homeland (though the band included members of Finnish punks Terveet Kädet, for you trainspotters out there), Death Trip were purported to be one of Finland’s more intimidating outfits during their brief run from 1988 to 1994. Ektro Records (run by Jussi of the band Circle) recently released the 14-track compilation Pain is Pain, which compiles the band’s complete discography — three singles, a demo, and a killer seven-track live set.

Equal parts Stooges guitar depravity, hypnotic noise, and gothic-metal crunch, Death Trip’s sound is a throbbing mess of bad vibes and violent urges. The song “Deep Red” is a blueprint built on doomy, plodding guitar riffs and singer Laja Latex’s sadistic growls and wails, while “Please Skin Me Alive” offers three minutes of pure S&M guitar damage. Clad in bondage gear in the insert’s many photos, Death Trip does strike an unnerving pose. But for all of the transgressive “bring-out-the-gimp” showmanship here, there’s something a little corny underneath it all, and if taken the right way, it actually becomes one of the more enjoyable aspects of the band. “We’re Gonna Die Tonight,” for example is basically an industrial-tinged Cramps homage, replete with rockabilly riffs and garbled papa-oom-mow-mow hyper-ventilations. “Something” is a grungy, down-tuned dirge that, while certainly powerful, really isn’t any more imposing than anything, say, the Melvins ever did — the question is whether Death Trip posses even a modicum of that band’s essential self-awareness.

At their best, as on the live versions of “Piece of My Mind” and “Chainsaw Goddess,” Death Trip is capable of some pretty brutal metallic punk and can create a sonic junk sculpture worthy of The Birthday Party. I don’t doubt that Death Trip mean it, man. But like I said, you have to be in the right mood for this kind of thing, as much for the “extreme” content as for how absurd that very content can be in the first place. It’s almost as if the band becomes less interesting the more committed they are to their aesthetics of anguish.

By Nate Knaebel

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