Released: 2004, InsideOut Music
Pain Of Salvation have done it again. Done what, you say? Simple, they’ve produced yet another concept album and yet another excellent album. These guys can do no wrong.
Where to begin? Well, BE is probably the band’s most ambitious work to date. It’s a concept album that, in a very brief nutshell, lays out the question of man’s being. It presents ideas about who we are, where we come from and where we’re going. To help weave the story there is a narrator who steps in to guide the listener from time to time and characters who represent certain elements of society, such as Mr. Money and Miss Mediocrity. In it’s scope and ambition BE seems to be trying to top Pink Floyd’s THE WALL. That may sound pretty pretentious, and truthfully it is, but it all works somehow, even if BE doesn’t come close to reaching the majesty that is THE WALL.
While writing about the album in the liner notes Daniel Gildenlöw explains that the concept for the album had been brewing in his head for almost a decade. He goes on to say that his inspiration behind the album comes from several philosophical and religious books he has read over the years and the similar patterns he has recognized in mankind’s belief systems. BE is his attempt to put all of that into music. That sort of undertaking means that this album is not easy listening and is meant to be heard in it’s entirety in order to be fully appreciated. In that regard, no track really works as a stand alone song.
Pain Of Salvation continue to venture out into interesting territories with their sound on BE. Among the musical elements to be found are metal and hard rock, which is to be expected, but there are also folk-inspired sections, a bit of jazz influence at times and even a nod to negro spirituals. Sound strange? Perhaps, but it all works. Seriously. On my first few spins of this CD several weeks ago I was ready to toss it aside, but I stuck with it, set aside my biases and just listened. Once I stopped wondering where the hell the metal went, I started to recognize the greatness of this album.
As mentioned earlier, there really is no way to call any track a highlight. Having said that, there is one particular moment during the album that sends chills up my spine no matter how many times I listen to it. “Vocari Dei” is a piano driven instrumental track with a very touching overlay of various messages left on what appears to be God’s answering machine. The voices are men and women from many walks of life. Some of the messages are expressions of gratitude, some are expressions of hopelessness and doubt, many are expressions of frustration and a longing for answers. Anyone who has ever had any of those feelings will surely be moved by this section of the album. Very classy. Very nicely done.
Pain Of Salvation are, quite honestly, one of the best bands on the planet. Sadly, because of the gradually softer direction the band seems to be going as they continue to mature, this may be the last Pain Of Salvation album to be reviewed here at Metal Rules. That shouldn’t discourage a single person from following this band though. So to metalheads who will include nothing but metal in their diet ... listen to excellent music wherever you can find it! You’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice by passing this album up. Of course, fans of the band will dig the hell out of this album. Though I haven’t read much of the buzz about this album yet, I would suspect that most Pain Of Salvation fans will be calling this the band’s masterpiece. I’m not ready to go that far, but it’s damn good.
Highlights: This album must be listened to in it’s entirety to be appreciated.
Genre References: Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal