DOOM — No More Pain (review)

DOOM — No More Pain album cover Album · 1987 · Technical Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
It has been seen many times in history that creative processes emerge simultaneously around the planet as if some invisible force is beaming new creative mojo into the energy fields. The same seems to be true in the musical world as well as every once in a while, totally different bands half way across the planet come to similar conclusions and forge their paths in eerily similar fashion despite being completely out of the box in their approach. DOOM formed in Tokyo, Japan all the way back in 1985 by former Zadkiel members Koh and Jouichi and found their passion in the crossover potential of hardcore punk and thrash metal but they also had a proclivity for avant-garde experimentation and technical workouts.

It could be said that DOOM was Japan’s answer to Voivod with their heavily charged Piggy-esque thrash riffing, tender surreal moments of art rock and a vocal performance not unlike Snake with a snarling shouted demeanor. While it may be tempting to write off DOOM as a Voivod inspired metal band, the fact is that the two bands developed on the same timeline, only one in Quebec, Canada and the other in Japan in an era before the internet. The band released their debut EP “Go Mad Yourself!” in 1986 and then their debut full-length NO MORE PAIN in 1987, which is exactly the same year Voivod released their tech thrash masterpiece “Killing Technology.” While it seems the bands developed independently, it’s not out of the question that the members of DOOM were Voivod fans and simply anticipated the technical developments, however DOOM were actually more experimental and technically adept at this point.

Like most things emerging from Japan, NO MORE PAIN is a bit stranger than its North American companion “Killing Technology” while not engaging in sci-fi folklore or futuristic imagery, the music itself is surprisingly complex for the tender year of 1987, only a few short years after the birth of progressive metal initiated by Watchtower. Despite all the weirdness in the form of psychedelic meanderings and experimental touches, NO MORE PAIN is unmistakably a punk infused thrash metal album through and through with relentless bombast in the form of blitzkrieg galloping guitar riffs, pummeling percussion and some excellent fretless bass workouts by Koh Morota. In sync with the mid-80s thrash world, there are plenty of whizzing guitar solos and Takashi Fujita’s vocals are as filled with testosterone filled angst as any Slayer album. While a mere trio, Fujita, Morota and drummer Jyoichi Hirokawa perform a veritable noisefest that hits all the proper metal marks of the era.

Despite the “Killing Technology” comparisons, DOOM’s debut, despite being more eclectic and experimental, is also less focused. It opens with a sitar and tribal percussion before breaking into thrash and the psychedelic meanderings are sporadic and seems rather aimless in the overall flow whereas Voivod had clearly developed a strong sense of self with their fourth album which found them reaching maturity. Overall, DOOM cranked out an interesting 80s artifact that while not perfect is a strong slice of thrash metal with technical and experimental touches. The band would get even more eclectic, experimental and technical as they would release more albums but NO MORE PAIN is all the evidence one needs that Japan had its fingers on the pulse of the extreme metal market that was taking off like wildfire in the Americas and Europe. One of the strongest aspects of NO MORE PAIN is the fretless bass virtuosity which for the time is unparalleled.
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