PAIN OF SALVATION


"Remedy Lane" (InsideOut Music)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Rather than follow-up "The Perfect Element – I" with the 'promised' second part, Pain Of Salvation have chosen to forge ahead with another dark tale of woe with "Remedy Lane." It goes without saying that "Remedy Lane" is yet another concept album.

"Remedy Lane" features plenty of progressive elements as Pain Of Salvation keep finding new and interesting ways to express their stories of agony. "Remedy Lane" delves into the craziness and chaos that relationships, love, and sex bring to our lives (and not necessarily in that order). Overall, Pain Of Salvation take a few steps back from their aggression and dissonance on "Remedy Lane" and utilize more lower-key tunes that better depict desolation and loneliness with a more studied, symphonic approach.

Numbed by one too many confusing searches for the truth in relationships and how much emotional baggage each one of us brings to a new relationship, Pain Of Salvation explore the depths of how humans deal with removing all pretense in relationships and how that openness can be exploited and even betrayed. Heavy stuff, indeed. Two examples that meld music and lyrics into complete wholes are "Undertow" and "Rope Ends" which also form the heart of the CD literally and figuratively. When the sustained chords of "Undertow" take hold of your heartstrings you can feel the tension and ugliness of a relationship unraveling. "Rope Ends" reminds the listener instantly of the beautiful chaos that Pain Of Salvation could summon and contain in their music from the early days of the debut CD "Entropia." I'd go on about the other eleven tracks, but this would be the longest CD review in history.

It is important to note that technical proficiency and wizardry takes a back seat to the mood of the songs. However, the drumming on "Remedy Lane" is unique, challenging to listen to, and more indicative of the progressive nature that Pain Of Salvation embodies. Sometimes the songs' musical passages wander a bit too long, but that's really only a minor complaint.

As expected, Daniel Gildenlow's lead vocals cover a wide range of styles and displays his expansive range which rivals many vocalists in the music biz today. Gildenlow even includes a little bit of rap, not in the typical rapping style, but rather in the rhythmic sense. This threw me for a loop, and will certainly throw many of the band's fans into a tizzy, but thankfully it isn't dominant.

"Remedy Lane" takes a little bit to get into, but is a very satisfying CD. With "Remedy Lane," Pain Of Salvation are evolving into (and proving to be) one of prog-metal's finest bands. 

Pain Of Salvation is Daniel Gildenlow on lead vocals and guitar, Johan Langell on drums and backing vocals, Kristoffer Gildenlow on bass and backing vocals, Frederik Hermansson on keyboards and samples, and Johan Hallgren on guitars and backing vocals.

For more information visit http://www.painofsalvation.com


"The Perfect Element - 1" (Century Media/InsideOut Music America)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

It's safe to say that Pain Of Salvation aren't threatened by concept albums. "The Perfect Element - I" is the first part of a two part epic dealing with childhood and adolescence in the educational and social aspects of each person forming their identity. That's weighty stuff for many folks, but fits right into the mold of what this progressive outfit is capable of turning into thoughtful treatise.

It takes guts and ambition to attempt a work of art that tackles the topic of growing up. While most of today's angst-laden nu-metal uses screams as its means of catharsis, Pain Of Salvation release the collective inner demons of grown-ups everywhere by probing deep into the wounded psyche of all children. This type of story probably ends up being too unlike any one individual's life, but it is still a story rich with emotional depth and resonance.

Generally, Pain Of Salvation have created a sound so essentially Pain Of Salvation that using other bands as reference points seems kind of pointless. However, one band is inescapable: Pink Floyd. Elements of Pink Floyd can be heard throughout the disc, but especially in the song "Ashes." The thought and care that went into Pink Floyd albums is exactly what you get when hear Pain Of Salvation. The length of the songs suits the time it takes to get the message across - nothing more, nothing less. With Pain Of Salvation some musical ideas are expressed in under two minutes and some ideas take more than 10 minutes to reach their natural conclusion.

With "The Perfect Element - I" Pain Of Salvation feels comfortable enough now to go long stretches without relying on heavy guitars or dissonance to get their point across. The keyboards lean in a more classical direction on "The Perfect Element - I" and really give the subject matter a good background much in the same way appropriate pieces of classical music are selected for key scenes in motion pictures. As always with Pain Of Salvation, the music conveys just as much as the words do.

It's all too easy to say that Pain Of Salvation have their own distinct sound - that's pretty much been the case since the band unleashed "Entropia" to an unsuspecting music public - but it seems even more true now. Most anyone could recognize Pain Of Salvation's unique sonic touch as well as their well-thought out interplay of instruments. Daniel Gildenlow's voice is also unique and he employs his baritone and quasi-falsetto in very appropriate ways.

"The Perfect Element - I" is highly recommended.

"The Perfect Element - I" was produced by Anders "Theo" Theander, Daniel Gildenlow, and Pain Of Salvation. As always the production has considerable depth and clarity.

Pain Of Salvation are Daniel Gildenlow on lead vocals and guitar, Johan Langell on drums and backing vocals, Kristoffer Gildenlow on bass and backing vocals, Frederik Hermansson on keyboards and samples, and Johan Hallgren on guitars and backing vocals.

For more information visit http://www.painofsalvation.com


"One Hour By The Concrete Lake" (Inside Out Music America)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Seamless progressive metal from Sweden that shares more in common with unheralded superstars Shadow Gallery than the more widely known Dream Theater. The concept of this album gives the disc its strength - the story details the conflicts of the proliferation of nuclear energy and the rights of indigenous peoples.

As with any concept album the importance of each song is that it adds something to the finished story - Pain Of Salvation excel in this endeavor. Very little is wasted on this disc with the solo sections being neither too brief nor too long. Every instrument gets a chance to shine with a sense of drama being the final product. Some of the musical motifs are a bit cliché, but the entire package rings with creativity and thought. 

There's lots of ear candy on "One Hour By The Concrete Lake," but you may not hear it all during the first few listens. Keep plugging this into the CD player and you'll be amazed at the subtle musical interplay on each track. The disc also does a great job of keeping the musical themes related without repeating itself over the course of the eleven songs and fifty-two minutes. 

There are some highlights worth mentioning. The chorale of "The Big Machine" belies its serious subject matter and "Water" is a killer track that you might expect from progressive giants. The finale, "Inside Out," is probably a bit typical in style, but it is still a good ending.  

The vocals are average and perhaps a bit operatic for my tastes.  However, the vocals are clearly what you'd expect (and want) from a progressive band. The lyrics are poised enough to convey the meaning of the story without being too literal. The ongoing battle between creeping industrialization and the loss of history is the source for the tension in the lyrics. 

"One Hour By The Concrete Lake" was produced by Anders Theander and Pain Of Salvation. The production is well above average and this disc is a joy to listen to. 

Pain Of Salvation is Daniel Gildenlow on lead vocals and lead guitar, Fredrik Hermansson on keyboards, Johan Lagell on drums, Kristoffer Gildenlow on bass, and Johan Hallgren on lead guitar. Everyone contributes backing vocals. 

For more information visit the band's US website at http://home.earthlink.net/~entropia/ to learn more about this Swedish progressive band. 


"Entropia" (Inside Out Music America)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

"Entropia," Pain Of Salvation's 1997 debut release, is now available in the US for the first time thanks to Inside Out Music America. Pain Of Salvation, hailing from Sweden, have been getting rave reviews all over the world and it's not hard to see why.

"Entropia" is equal parts heavy metal, progressive metal, and pure rock. "Entropia" plays out like a movie soundtrack with high emotional content in a way Pink Floyd did "The Wall." The story is presented in three chapters with every imaginable device used to convey the content of the story line. Crunchy guitar blasts, atmospheric guitar lines, supple keyboard work, group background vocals, expressive lead vocals, and vocal harmonies - it's all here and it's used for great effect! 

There are many out-of-the-ordinary twists and turns to the music and that makes for a good listening experience. Like the changing prism of light through a diamond, "Entropia" is Pain Of Salvation's remarkable take on the musical landscape. During the course of the 65 minutes that make up "Entropia" you'll hear every thing from classic metal riffs to unique rhythms, super heavy guitars to quiet acoustic passages, funky bass underpinnings to inventive rock and roll bits, subtle musical inflections to abrupt progressive changes. The vocals are raw, but expressive. Not once does any of this seem unnatural. 

"Entropia" rebels against the norm and embraces it at the same time; it's hard to believe, but it may be the only appropriate way to describe the music. I guess originality is the key word to explain what I'm hearing - I've not heard anything like Pain Of Salvation without resorting to examples from the far extreme music scene. It has been said that Pain Of Salvation combine the best elements of Queensryche, Faith No More, and Dream Theater and I find it hard to argue. But that's not to say Pain Of Salvation sound like any of those three bands - not even close. You'll have to imagine the idiosyncratic mental creativity of Faith No More, with Queensryche's expansive understanding of  storytelling dynamics, with the overall skill of Dream Theater.

"Entropia" was produced by Anders Theander. The production is fabulous! 

Pain Of Salvation is Daniel Gildenlow on lead vocals and guitar, Daniel Magdic on guitar, Kristoffer Gildenlow on bass, Fredrik Hermannson on keyboards, and Johan Langell on drums. 

For more information visit http://www.algonet.se/~gilden/Home.htm


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Revised: 18 Dec 2016 12:46:21 -0500.