PAINMUSEUM – Metal For Life


Demolition Records
Release Date: November 16, 2004

Guitars: B
Bass: B
Percussion: A-
Vocals: C-
Lyrics: C
Recording Quality: A
Originality: B-
Overall Rating: B

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Mike Chlasciak (Metal Mike) got his initial “big break” when he joined the band Halford as the primary axe-man. Since that time, he’s done more than keep busy – sought after to participate in numerous projects with the who’s who of Metal, recently joining the band Testament as a full time member, and formulating his new project called PainmuseuM. Joining Metal Mike in PainmuseuM are Bobby Jarzombek on drums (Halford, Riot, Iced Earth), Steve DiGiorgio playing bass guitar (Testament, Iced Earth and others), and the little known Tim Clayborne shredding through the vocals (Hatred).

PainmuseuM’s philosophy, according to Metal Mike (check out the streaming audio interview available at Metal Express), is to “do it their way” and to commit to nothing regarding Metalistic styles except for that which feels “right” to the band. The result is an incredibly powerful product in Metal For Life that blends sub-genre elements of Power, Death, and Thrash Metal, and incorporates crushing-force guitar riffs and chord patterns, explosive drum combinations, and punchy bass guitar work a la Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath. This album has the intensity of a Sherman Tank rolling over and flattening all vegetation, automobiles, and life forms of any sort in its way. After listening to Metal For Life, you’re either going to need to blast your fist through a brick wall … or take a nap … depending your ability to digest and process the effervescent energy contained within this album.


The album starts out with a 1-minute intro that gives way to the track “Speak The Name.” Clayborne struts his vocal stuff in this song by varying up and showing all of his various capabilities. Metal Mike generates the first of many great opening riffs that leads to fist-pounding chord patterns, and the band just sounds tight overall. Next up is “Hosanna Hosanna,” which delves more into Death Metal and is also a great success. Living up to the band’s philosophy of “not fully committing to any one sub-genre,” “Live And Die” and “Bloody Wings” feature a cleaner vocal approach by Clayborne, along with a more deliberate musical structure by the band, resulting in possibly the two biggest highlights within Metal For Life. “Burn Flesh Burn” is also a great song as is the 95% instrumental closing track “I Am Your Keeper,” which gives Metal Mike the opportunity to truly showcase his overall guitar capabilities.

Musically, Metal For Life is an extremely well written album. There’s not a huge amount of innovativeness or originality here, and Metal Mike doesn’t go ape-shit on many of the solos (opting instead to allow each musician to blend their talents together without demonstrating big egos), but there is plenty of very solid and passionate Metal in this album. There are ten full length tracks on Metal For Life, and although the six noted above are the most stellar for the various reasons discussed, all ten are going to musically impress the hell out of you if you like your Metal fast, rough, and filled with aggression.


Although Clayborne shows he’s a capable vocalist at certain junctures, he also takes away from the total success of about 4 of the songs. At times, he gets caught in a quasi-clean/death shrill vocal style that sounds really cool the first time you hear it (like in “Speak The Name”), but grows tired when performed too often without variation. When this style is utilized as a component of an overall vocal presentation, it works … when used too often, it has a tendency to give a “nails running down a chalkboard” sensation to the listener.


Metal Mike wanted to stick to his guns and write/perform/play what was important to him when assembling PainmuseuM. More power to ‘em, because this is the type of “from the heart” album that the Metal community needs. It’s “true” Metal in every sense of the word … in concept, in attitude, and certainly in performance. Metalheadz who like it fast, furious, and ugly without keyboards or other “French Pastry” getting the way, should definitely rush to check this one out!


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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