Pain Of Salvation – Scarsick
band: Pain Of Salvation
genre: Progressive metal
release: 17 January 2007
label: SPV/Inside Out
Pain Of Salvation: a band which doesn’t fit in any of the labels in the music scene, always suprising with every new record, always searching for their borders and a band full of emotions and deepers meanings.
With all their concept albums there is a whole story behind the music and with the new record ‘Scarsick’ that hasn’t changed. It is only presented in a different way and less obvious.
Normally Daniel Gildenlöw adds a whole explanation in the booklet with a very detailed literature list, like he did with ‘Be’. This time only the song’s lyrics are the key to discover the meaning of this album.
Song by Song Review
Fans from the band know that Pain Of Salvation always come up with an unexpected part. When I heard this song ‘Scarsick’ for the first time I only good say: it is heavy, energic, full of frustration. It is, but after some weeks I was more used to it and could filter the many layers.
Mainly there are two different parts in the song: the more oriental and serene part and the heavy uptempo melody where Daniel really sounds angry. The first minutes are heavy: Daniel continues the experimental way of singing like he did on ‘Be’(cd-dvd 2004-2005) with more screaming and talking, it is raw and full of emotions. The drums are more heavy and the whole rhythm section is focussed on the fact to reach their borders: pushing them to the limit.
Then the changement from the dark riffs into a more clean bass and guitarsound: minimalistic, but fragile. Daniel shows his soft side here in harmony with the backing vocals from Johan Hallgren. The end has such a great vibe: the adrealine is growing. Defenitly a more than perfect start of their new chapter.
The agression continues in a totally different way performed. Daniel says about this new record: ,, I always knew this album would be born sometime. The great thing about ‘Scarsick is the innnerlogic: you can’t change the tracklisting. Each piece reveals its full expression in this precise sequence and at the same time can stand alone.” There is no better example for that then ‘Spitfall.’ Elements from the previous song are mixed in a totally different way: the vocals from Daniel are even darker, the guitars riffs are more groovy and the piano parts are more in front of the mixture.
The other layer: the refrain is bombastic with totally different atmosphere. There is so much to discover in every instrument in this song. Just close your eyes, don’t analyse, let it come over you: enjoy every element, the emotions and expressions. Be ready for a emotional traveling truth the mind. This is the best the band can deliver right now.
A song what touches you in a different way than the previous two songs: It realized me that we are fragile and the world isn’t that beautifull as we want to see. A melancholic feeling, but Daniel has a meaning with that. He never let you feel something without a reason. His voice is almost broken and less perfect than before.
The classical piano, semi-acoustic guitars: it all minimalised and because of that there is a lot of things happening on the background. Halfway the song is growing in deeper, more darker sound and all the elements are heavier and more bombastic. This is ‘Be’ and all the albums before in a perfect mix: the band took a big step forward in their development.
The musical bounderies are broken when you hear this catchy, popy song. Pain of Salvation never been a real metal band, but it is the first time they come up with something like ‘America.’ Uptempo guitarlines, heavy and still very accessible for every music fan. The contrasts are less obvious to hear on first sight. The band defenitly must have a lot of fun to play this song: their energy easily grabs you.
The lyrics are given an other story, but there is the contrast and expression what the bands likes a lot. Daniel pushes his voice to the limit in a way that it makes you shiffer. The song is full of real emotions and takes makes is so strong: it gives an other dimension and with the strong body of all the elements you only can say it is perfect.
5. Disco Queen
The biggest surprise is ‘Disco Queen’ with danceable grooves and also a wink to the past. ‘Remedy Lane’ (2002) meets the John Travolta disco feeling. I don’t want to analyse too much, but you never can avoid that with those record reviews.
Not everyone will enjoy this experimental sound or understand the sense of humore in this song. Others will say that it is the best song on the whole record. Well I am not the one to judge about it. I only can say that testified of originality.
6. Kingdom of Loss
A moment to slow down and to stand still about the deeper meaning of ‘Scarsick.’ The second part of the album is much darker. Daniel: ,, On our previous albums we touched socio-critical topics, songs about psygo-social aspects and questions about life in general. Scarsick is a direct response to that.” That reflects clearly into this song. A more minimalistic sound, with a semi-acoustic guitar and with less changements in the instruments. The consequence is that there is more space for the message and make the listener realise that there is more.
7. Mrs Modern Mother Mary
A distrubed guitarsound, heavy grooves and a more surrealistic sound: a very unpredictable intro. Soon enough the agression returns, but this time the connection with the metal scene is clear: the guitars are the central point in the song. Daniel adds an extra dimension, using his voices in different ways. The last few minuts the climax is there, totally unexpected.
The first time that the drums are more in the front of the mix during an intro and it has a very ‘down to earth’ feeling. The previous song was minimalistic, but now the bombastic and full sound returns. This part from Pain Of Salvation grabs me more and touches me more also.
The dynamic between the instruments and the fact that there is so much to discover in the song. Twisting guitarlines, voice changes, different levels in the production. The oriental elements returns, together with the acoustic guitar after two minuts. The ‘old school fan’ from Pain of Salvation will like this song a lot I guess. This is an example of their classical way of building up a song.
9. Flame to the Moth
An uptempo beat, divers guitar and bass lines, and a very clean drum sound: all the elements are there for a more heavy and catchy song. Johan Langell has more space in this song to show his drum qualities. He is more the body from the song like before. Together with the other Johan, Daniel has totally contral about the more groovy guitar intermetzo’s.
He even comes up with the new vocal changements: screaming in a way that System Of A Down can learn from him. Easily makes the bridge between the high clean parts and his screams. You feel the song growing and almost have the feeling that it will explode. Suddenly the storm lays down and Daniel is apparently calm.
10. Enter Rain
The last song makes the story complete: a melancholic Daniel in more midtempo song. Together with a very minimalised guitar and drum sound. This song has the elements from the seventies, but totally different than ‘Disco Queen’. For the last time Pain Of Salvation shows here that they are more and more a unique, unlabeled band. Yes is it dramatic, emotional, suprising, but it is music in his most itense way. With a empty feeling I turn off the cd player, this is defenitly a more than welcome record. I made friends for life with it.