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Next review: » Pain Of Salvation - Remedy Lane
Pain Of Salvation
Released: 2002, InsideOut Music
A crushing disappointment. I have been a fan of the band for some time now and own the first three studio CD’s all of which are fantastic. I recently commented in one of my reviews (before I heard this CD) that Pain of Salvation were one of the of the new progressive bands putting the term “metal” back into progressive metal. How wrong I was! This CD is pretty weak. Normally I don’t slag stuff but this is really disappointing.
Where to begin? There are good points about this CD. The talent level is incredibly high. The production is great, not as good as the last one but still almost top-notch. The CD is another belaboured concept and in total honesty I do not have the fully packaged deal, so I am not totally qualified to judge on that aspect. So what’s the problem? This CD is pretentious and self-indulgent. Harsh words I realize and after all aren’t Prog CD’s supposed to be just that? Well, No. Not if the songs severely suffer. I’m not suggesting I want a 120 bpm , 3.5 minute long song with a “verse-chorus-verse-chorus happy solo-repeat chorus six times “ format. Not at all but these songs really lack cohesion and power.
Almost every track starts with a gentle, very gentle acoustic guitar or piano or electronic ambient type noise that goes on waaaay to long. The songs are very, very mellow. Many of the elements of what made POS so cool before have been left behind or turned against them. The slight, nu-metal rap style influence vocals of the last CD have degenerated into an annoying rap-shout style especially on “Ending Theme”. The vocalists falsetto on “Chain Sling” made me cringe. The sad part is he can sing! Why they choose to use such a voice is beyond me. There are a number of other muffled (eg, mixed way back and distorted on purpose) shout-whisper, vocal combinations through out the CD that serve to annoy, they are difficult to hear!
Most of the songs have a really stop-start staccato feel. They will start nicely enough but then out of nowhere a burst of piano, then a dose of acoustic guitar and then a shot of synthesizer effects, all in the same song. The songs are really scattered. It as is the band discovered the word “juxtaposition” in the dictionary and went mental playing with it. The drummer, in the words of Jason Bonham, has a callous disregard for timekeeping. The guitar solos, which are few and far between, are dull and uninspired.
This CD is a die-hard bass and drum, prog fans paradise. It will be revered because it is a piece of amazing work, however I feel it went two steps, too far. The band on THE PERFECT ELEMENT had found the perfect combination of progressive music, talent, skill and accessibility all wrapped in a cool package, but they changed… the music morphed into an dense, unwieldy and un-enjoyable listening experience. I guess that’s why they call it progressive. Nothing stays the same, but change for the sake of change, is not necessary, especially when it is a turn for the worse, like this CD. Better luck next time.
Pain Of Salvation
Released: 2002, InsideOut Music
ENTROPIA was good, ONE HOUR BY THE CONCRETE LAKE was very good and THE PERFECT ELEMENT was excellent. This begs the question then ... what do Daniel Gildenlöw and company have to offer the world on their fourth venture? Well, I’m not ready to call this one groundbreaking yet, but it does kick some serious ass!
I stated in my review of THE PERFECT ELEMENT that frontman Daniel Gildenlöw is a man of extraordinary talent. His voice can capture and convey a spectrum of emotions, which is an element many prog bands seem to lose sight of in the quest for technical wizardry. Yet his voice is only a portion of the abundant talent he possesses. Gildenlöw played rhythm guitar on REMEDY LANE, as well as writing all the lyrics and almost all of the music. In addition, he did all of the excellent artwork and most of the photography found on the cover and throughout the booklet. Further attention to the liner notes reveals that he wrote some of the music in 1987, which would have made him about 14 years old! Simply amazing.
It’s really about the music though and this album doesn’t disappoint. Songs like "Ending Theme", "A Trace of Blood" and "Rope Ends" lay a strong foundation for what becomes the highlight of the disc, the epic final track "Beyond the Pale", which is a track I find even more intense each time I listen to it. Truly a great way to end an album. In addition to being an album full of great music, REMEDY LANE is a concept piece, making this the fourth time the band has gone the story-telling route. I won’t get into the details of the story because I’m still trying to figure them out myself. However, knowing that REMEDY LANE was written during a time when Gildenlöw was dealing with personal marital issues, it’s perfectly understandable that those circumstances led to some pretty dark, emotionally-charged music dealing with relationships. Though there are moments when the story gets a little bizarre in the telling (like when a woman hangs herself in the bathroom with her husband’s Winnie the Pooh tie in "Rope Ends"), I chalk such moments up as an overzealous attempt to be artsy and move on.
In the end, I find myself ready to hand the prog metal crown over to these guys. Frankly, Pain of Salvation have no peers. And while I’ll admit I haven’t heard the new Dream Theater album (and I’m in no real hurry to), I’ll be pleasantly surprised if another prog metal album comes out in 2002 that can compete with REMEDY LANE. Hell, it will take alot to find any album in any genre for that matter. REMEDY LANE is that good. If any of you sinners have put off checking out this band, it’s not too late to repent. Salvation can still be yours. Just get your shit together, empty all the money from your loose change jar into your pocket, and then run down to the store to buy this CD.
Official website: http://www.painofsalvation.com