Death Trip - Pain Is Pain: The Complete Death Trip 1988-199 [Ektro Records - 2011]Pain Is Pain: The Complete Death Trip 1988-1994 compiles the complete discography of this Finnish punk/ doom quartet into one handy hour-long compact disc.
I’m inclined to believe releases like this are most likely conceived as a favor to the typical fan’s proclivity to dub obscure artist discographies which span any number of records onto a single format for the sake of compactness and convenience (especially short ones like the three Death Trip 7” releases in question). In addition to the proper discography, several live versions and demo tracks of unreleased material are available as well, adding to the desirability of the disc for fans and completists.
The disparate nature of the band's chosen styles is possibly explained by the large number of other past and concurrent projects its members have been involved with: Terveet Kädet and T.H.E Rutto (hardcore punk), Aavikon Kone Ja Moottori (industrial), The Leo Bugariloves (synthpop), The Black League and Faff-Bey (hard rock/metal) among others. Despite the convergence of these various projects and the riffing styles they choose to employ (punk, straight rock'n'roll, doom), Death Trip has one unifying characteristic: the single-riff song. From the opening two-chord eponymous track to the I-IV-V progression of the debut’s flip side and beyond into the band’s mid-90s cadence the number of riffs almost never exceeds beyond two per track. This simplicity is effective in Death Trip’s sound: no pseudo-intellectual posturing here, just songs about being skinned alive, chainsaws and blood.
Despite such a small amount of overall material, an interesting factor is the quick progression of Death Trip’s sound. Granted, it didn’t involve much effort to evolve away from the first record’s psychedelic caveman surf rock - the drums are so primitively recorded, in fact, that they resemble little more than a rudimentary clunking metronome of the most basic variety. Moving from quite typical rock trappings, the band later chose a more doom-based sound and indeed the most textbook example of that genre’s riffs is represented in the track “Deep Red”: the diminished fifth (otherwise known as diabolous in musica – the opening riff on Black Sabbath’s debut). Perhaps the one steady component of these styles are the vocals Läjä Äijälä delivers. They span the range of guttural and uncaring barks to gruff howls, and perhaps may even be seen as a proto-black metal rasp if once chose to associate the band with their Norse neighbors to the west.
The aforementioned notwithstanding, Death Trip’s discography is not one which is to be over thought. If you enjoy your underground punk rock sloppy, dark, hedonistic, primitive and operating at a kind of base-level nihilism this release is a no-brainer for you.Scott W