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Pain Of Salvation – Road Salt One

tekst: Pauline van der Kraats

titel: Pain Of Salvation
album: Road Salt One
genre: prog rock/metal
release: 17 mei 2010
label: Inside Out / EMI

In front of me lies the eith studio-album by the Swedish band Pain of Salvation Road Salt One. This is, as the name suggests, the first of two albums, of which the second part ‘Road Salt Two’ will be released October next year.

Pain of Salvation is usually classified as a progressive metal-band, but placing them on the shelf with Dream Theater and the likes, doesn’t do them justice by a long shot.

Rather, unlike most prog-metal bands, this band seems to embody the very definition of the word progressive. They have traveled through many genres since their first albumEntropia, in 1996, and thus never failed to surprise their fans.

Song by Song review

There’s still no official new bassist and there will be more than one bassist playing on this new record. On top of that, this is the first full length album featuring their new drummer, Léo Margarit. I’m burning with curiosity. The standard edition of Road Salt One kicks off with the powerful No Way. It sets the tone for the rest of the album, both music-wise and conceptually. It’s clear that this album will draw you in much closer than their previous record Scarsick. It is seventies wrapped up in Pain of Salvation, odd, but it works.

The ride past the bluesy song She likes to hide takes us to possibly the best song on this record: Sisters. Famous song Undertow has met its match in a painfully beautiful ballad. It’s impossible to not be moved to tears by Daniel Gildenlow vocals. The harmonies in the background of the chorus fit perfectly. There’s such unfulfillable longing in this song, simply marvelous.

After Of Dust (the little kid sister of Nauticus I), we end up at a Pain of Salvation country song Tell me you don’t know. The only complaint I have, is that it should’ve been longer. Before I know it we’re at the Disco Queen (hit on the previous Scarsick album) of this record: Sleeping under the Stars. The circus- tune reminds me of Amanda Palmer. It works remarkably well for Pain of Salvation. I am a big fan of the high-pitched vocals on the chorus and I’m loving the dark, ‘wrong’ edge.

Next up is another pearl: Darkness of mine. This comes all the way from the bottom of the heart. It is without doubt the sexiest song on this album. The song is followed by the much rawer Linoleum. That’s a familiar one, as it was also on the EP that had been released in November 2009. Somehow the 70’s vibe of this song fits even better on this record.

Curiosity is the only song that seems out of place, I can’t seem to get into it. It’s a happy tune, which is probably why it feels wrong. We arrive at Where it hurts, another ballad, with quite the same impact as Sisters. Goosebumps and heartache… and incredible vocals.

After this, the more mellow Road Salt lets you breathe (or cry your eyes out, whichever you prefer). This song has entered the Swedish Melodifestivalen and I’m not surprised it didn’t win. Not because it’s not good, mind you. No. It’s great, but I can see why it wouldn’t appeal so much to the masses.

The intense trip is concluded by Innocence. Pain of Salvation wouldn’t be Pain of Salvation without some sort of “epic” conclusion, and this song is just that. A very strong song that reflects on the road that we’ve just walked down both lyrically and musically.
I feel slightly broken, but content. I’m glad it’s not over, but also very glad we’ll have some time to let this all sink in before we’ll be swept away by Road Salt Two.

So, is it possible to still be original after seven studio albums? It is when you’re Pain of Salvation, that’s for sure. If you’re looking for another ‘Perfect Element‘, you’ll be very disappointed. If you’re, however, looking for a wonderful, raw, emotional and utterly amazing record? This is it. And there is still more to come.



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