Today Is The Day - Pain Is A Warning
2011, Black Market Activities
Today Is The Day is back with a new album, new members and, partially, a new sound. The band has almost completely sloughed off any remnants of the psychedelic, progressive noiserockiness they've become known for and, to a certain degree, trimmed down the material into more traditional rock n roll structures. This makes for some - probably intentionally - bizarre effects, like the very AC/DC-esque riffage in the title track or the anthemic cock-rock chorus in The Devil's Blood. At the same time this trimming has opened up the playing field for a slightly more commercial sound, that is perhaps more accessible than some (or most) of their older stuff. Also there are some much calmer, somber - almost ballad-like - tracks on the album, one of which, titled This Is You, for some reason reminds me a lot of Tom Petty And The Hearbreakers. But, just because my overall impression of the album is one of restraint that doesn't mean the band has somehow lost their way artistically or musically. Not at all. Quite the opposite. The music on Pain Is A Warning is throwing off sparks in every concievable direction, positively seething with barely contained rage and with its paranoid gaze set on external enemies and internal demons alike. The album never goes off the extreme deep end like the band did on Kiss The Pig and Axis Of Eden, but lyrically everything still oozes with anger and a holehearted disgust towards the majority of humankind. I have a feeling Steve Austin wouldn't mind a serious culling of the human herd if it ever came up for discussion.
But wether this percieved misanthropy is only lyrical posturing, satire or heartfelt sentiment it is quite clear that Austin is one of the best song writers in the scene today. I find myself smiling like a rabid dog, my head bobbing in syncopation, every time I hear the Satyricon-esque riffs in the opening of Wheelin' or the epic Manowar-like grandeur of Slave To Eternity. This is vintage TITD only with the excess fat trimmed away, the vision more acute and the execution more precise. There is still some time before I've managed to completely digest the album but I have a feeling PIAW will be of of this year's top releases.