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Pain Of Salvation - Scarsick CD (album) cover

SCARSICK

Pain Of Salvation

 

Progressive Metal

3.20 | 600 ratings

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Avantgardehead
1 stars Close to three years after the release of "BE", I think it's safe to say that "Scarsick" was/is the most anticipated follow-up of 2007 in both the progressive music and metal world. Unfortunately, the band seems to have become like one of those students who does very well only to get sick of the positive attention and then does horrible on purpose (I've done this several times...). It's almost as if the Daniel or the band has gotten tired of being top-notch. Let us expand upon that though.

The music: This is always the most important aspect of any album in my view. Pain of Salvation has been known to write music that is very enjoyable yet still tasteful compared to many other progressive metal bands. "Scarsick" represents a drastic decrease in enjoyability, compositional strength, direction, and general sound. This is all apparent from the very beginning with the track "Scarsick" as it's amelodic, repetitive, directionless, and drawn-out (not mention a rip-off of "S.C.I.E.N.C.E."-era Incubus). "Spitfall" channels Linkin Park with the rapping on top of heavy chords and single notes on the piano. And top it off with an annoying and clichéd rock chorus. Speaking of piano, the keyboards are barely on this album and the bass is practically non-existent as well. "Cribcaged" offers us some of the worst lyrics Daniel has ever written, "America" is incomprehensibly childish considering the band and people who wrote it, not to mention the way Daniel says America makes me want to punch him in the face. The song also sounds like something System of a Down might have written when they pre-teens. "Disco Queen" is annoying and grating. The fun-fact about the five prior songs is that they all sound nothing alike! That's a glaring compositional flaw as well as a startling lack of consistency. The rest of the album is a little more consistent, but the dark, brooding songs all sound the same after a while. For this band, such lack of consistency and quality is inexcusable.

The vocals: On previous albums, Daniel's vocals have thrilled and chilled while soaring to new-found emotional heights (see "Remedy Lane") and also doing an excellent job at playing characters on "BE" (Mr. Money is deliciously snobby). Here, that all falls flat. The well-written music and commanding vocals have always made Pain of Salvation for me, but here they just sound annoying. Not many outstanding moments vocally as compared to other albums.

The lyrics: Here is the biggest flaw in my opinion. Not only does "Scarsick" not mean anything apparent, but the rest of the album has a general anti-American and anti-capitalist theme to it. Now those aren't bad when done right, but here the lyrics sound like they were written by one of those angsty kids you see on debate teams. Immaturity and cheap-shots do not belong on a Pain of Salvation album. And neither does excess profanity; I was quite disappointed at Daniel's new-found potty-mouth. Also, it doesn't feel as if there is a concept here. But what could it be in the context of this album? Angst? Immaturity? Down with those capitalist pigs? That's pretty low-brow for this band.

All-in-all, this is the biggest disappointment of 2007 for me as well as one the biggest disappointments in the history of the music I listen to. I'd rather listen to Cradle of Filth's "Thornography" or AFI's "decemberunderground". And that's saying a lot. Although there are people who will enjoy this (hopefully not for the wrong reasons), but I can see this attract the entirely wrong kind of fan. This will be a major red-mark on the band's history that will be hard to overcome.

Avantgardehead | 1/5 |

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