Pain Of Truth // Not Through Blood // Album Review


New York hardcore is currently running things & Pain Of Truth is riding the wave of the resurgence of hardcore in 2023. Rubbing shoulders with great bands like Scowl, Drain & Sunami. The band has grown a worldwide fanbase within a few years.

P.O.T. a relatively new band that only formed in 2020 but with a fantastic debut E.P. “No Blame…Just Facts” the band switched up the scene & brought back a much-needed old-school sound to the hardcore scene.

Melding classic NYHC bands such as the mighty Merauder & Madball with the style of modern hardcore such as Terror & Trapped Under Ice the band have been able to mix old & new to create a fresh & energising take on hardcore.

After a split release with Age Of Apocalypse & a compilation single release, the band are finally releasing their debut full-length, “Not Through Blood”. Eleven tracks of straight-to-the-point, hardass music that will make even the seasoned pit warrior scared to get in the mix.

One of the P.O.T’s strongest assets is their use of guest vocals. From the very beginning the band has a feature on every track & “Not Through Blood” has raised the bar, featuring some of hardcore current big names & some you wouldn’t aspect make this album the most aggressive & diverse material the band have written to date.

Right from the first note P.O.T aren’t pulling the punches. “Lifeless On The Ground” feat Anthony Didio and Jon Lhaubouet ( goes right for the jugular. A great bass groove from Zach Stache opens the track & sets the tone as the band builds to the meat of the song as the gang vocals start.

Chanting your band name has to be one of the hardest moves ever & P.O.T pulls it off. A bouncy track opens the album perfectly as it builds to the first ridiculous breakdown of the album as it lets out his Jacob Bannon style screams opening a portal to hell.

“In Your Heart” feat Scott Vogel (Terror) keeps the momentum going, a faster but still very groove heavy track. The kind of track that makes you want to jump up & down on the spot. Featuring a great quick guitar lead this track carries on the band’s unstoppable pace.

Next up is the lead single on the album, “Actin’ Up” feat Steve Buhl (200 Stab Wounds) and it has to be my favourite track the band have written to date. Somewhere between a Dying Fetus & Stigmata this track is a solid pit anthem. Steve Buhl’s feature on this track is perfect. Adding to that death metal groove but in a hardcore vocal phrasing makes it the hardest track i’ve heard all year.

Drummer Nick Barker’s performance on this track really stands out too. His use of cymbal work adds to the pure chaos of this track & it’s great to hear them over the mix of such a punishing song.

In a full circle moment “You and Me” feat Freddy Cricien (Madball) feels like a passing of the torch. P.O.T are firmly on their way to being this generation’s Madball & having Freddy on the track is the perfect collision. Sounding like a b-side of “Hold It Down” this track is a great midway point to the album.

Later in the album “Pickin’ at Scraps” feat Jay Peta (Mindforce) and Austin Sparkman (Buried Dreams) showcases my two favourite vocalists with such a unique vocal style. Peta is a hardcore legend & hearing him over a P.O.T track is just the perfect merging. With it being a faster track with some great chugging moments its two worlds colliding. And Sparkman’s chaotic vocals just turn the intensity to 11 as the track closes out into a war zone. Can see this track being in the band’s live setlist for a while.

Closing out the album with the title track “Not Through Blood” feat Brendan Garrone (Incendiary) and Corin (Last Wishes) feels like the band setting their own terms & flying the middle finger to all those who have crossed them. A real anthem for the band, feeling like a play from the Hatebreed arsenal but in their own way this track is a true banger. And sets in stone that Pain Of Truth is an unstoppable force.

After what felt like a lifetime wait, finally having a full length from Pain Of Truth has been worth it. This is one of the best hardcore debuts in a long time. Like Terrors “One With The Underdogs” Or Madball’s “Set It Off” Pain Of Truth has been able to write a modern classic hardcore album that has the legs to stand a lifetime & influence a whole new generation of hardcore.

Joseph Mitchell

Not Through Blood is via DAZE on September 8th 2023


1. Lifeless On The Ground feat Anthony Didio and Jon Lhaubouet (

2. In Your Heart feat Scott Vogel (Terror)

3. Actin’ Up feat Steve Buhl (200 Stab Wounds)

4. You and Me feat Freddy Cricien (Madball)

5. This Falls On You feat Shane Moran (Bad Seed / Title Fight)

6. Too Late feat Justice Tripp (Trapped Under Ice / Angel Du$t)

7. Pickin’ at Scraps feat Jay Peta (Mindforce) and Austin Sparkman (Buried Dreams / Haywire)

8. Out Of Our Hands feat Vinnie Caruana (The Movielife / I Am The Avalanche)

9. Same Old Story (Instrumental)

10. Under My Skin feat Josiah Hoeflinger (Criminal Instinct)

11. Not Through Blood feat Brendan Garrone (Incendiary) and Corin (Last Wishes)

Pain of Truth is Michael Smith (vocals), Nik Hansen (guitar), Ridge Rhine (guitar), Zach Stache (bass), and Nick Barker (drums).