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Review of the Album "Power and Pain" by American Thrash Metal Band Whiplash

Updated on April 7, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

A Photo of the CD Power and Pain


Introduction to Power and Pain and the Members That Played on the Album

"Power and Pain" is the very good debut album by American thrash metal band Whiplash. If their second album Ticket to Mayhem deserves only an average score, this debut will more than likely get a higher score than that one. Power and Pain was released in 1986 and being a person that grew up during this time and looking back, I can say that the 1980’s was better especially for American heavy metal. Whiplash is not some Slayer clone let me tell you that. They are a band that is influenced to a certain degree by punk bands as well as the band Mike Muir sang for. Heavy metal fans know what I’m referring to here. The band lineup for this album has three members all with the same name of Tony. They are:

Tony Portaro: vocals and guitars

Tony Bono (1964-2002) bass guitars and

Tony Scaglione: drums

Stage Dive and Red Bomb Are Two Songs That Are a Great Way for the Band to Have Started Their Career

The first song Stage Dive features lots of speed and it is also very much punk influenced. The middle of the song has a beautifully crafted interlude that even Iron Maiden would be proud of. These guys were here to play and the passion in this song shows. Red Bomb is a song that is mid-tempo with a catchy riff. This song is about a woman walking on the street at night and the song actually addresses what a prostitute would do in order to earn a living. She will do whatever she can to attract the attention of men that may be interested. If you want her attention, be prepared to pay a big price for her services. As the song says, “she is no cheap thrill.”

"Last Man Alive"

The Band Whiplash Uses Political and Social Lyrical Themes In Their Songs

The next song called Last Man Alive is a song that discusses the possibility of what would happen in the event of a nuclear war. Most of us wouldn’t believe it even if we saw such a thing happen because we would be in a state of shock. The threat of nuclear war was very real during the 1980’s as the US and Soviet Union were in a sort of Cold War and beefing up their military might. The song War Monger lyrically is similar to the two songs before it. The album by this point is already better than the album Ticket to Mayhem because the songs are better written even if the production isn’t as polished as studio albums were in the 1990’s and later. All major empires throughout world history have had war mongers in them that wanted to have domination of nations and resources.

"Stage Dive"

The Second Half of the Album Power and Pain Is Pretty Strong Too

The next song after this one called Power Thrashing Death is a song that tells us to live and breathe heavy metal as the power and influence of it is around us when we are exposed to it. All we have to do is get up and go to a show. I have not gone to a metal music concert in so many years but it was something I would do because it was fun to see your favorite bands in concert. Tony Portaro sounds somewhat like vocalist Andre Harootunian of the band Hexen (also from the United States for those of you that have forgotten). As we near the end of the album, Tony Portaro’s vocals combined with the riffing on the song called Spit on Your Grave shows that they would give rise to bands such as Havok. Havok would not exist in the music business until 2004 but the seeds for their existence may have been planted by bands such as Whiplash. The last song called Nailed to the Cross has some impressive lead guitar in the beginning. With this performance, Whiplash showed that they could create a more than decent debut with the album "Power and Pain" and this one is definitely a better album than Ticket to Mayhem. The three best songs in this album are Stage Dive, Red Bomb, and Power Thrashing Death.

"Red Bomb" Has a Call of Ktulu Influence In the Beginning

© 2018 Ara Vahanian


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