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Pain Of Salvation - Entropia CD (album) cover

ENTROPIA

Pain Of Salvation

 

Progressive Metal

4.10 | 410 ratings

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sleeper
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Pain of Salvation has become one of the leaders of the Progressive Metal sub-genre over the last 10 years and have always maintained a high creative level. Entropia is the debut album from the Swedish five some and is remarkably diverse and strong for a band so full of youth at the time.

Entropia is an ambitious first attempt at an album and is reflected in a concept about war and its painful effects on people, set out so that it is difficult to follow, that is matted to some very experimental music. As others have noted, this is one of Pain of Salvations more metal like albums but its performed in a style that I have not heard from any other band before or since (that's not to say that they are unique, it just means that there has been no other band that has attained such a level of success with a style like this). Riffs and rhythms change completely and regularly throughout this album, but rarely does it ever feel like it is loosing cohesion and this has been a massive strength of the bands throughout there career.

There are many things that stand out on this album but vocals is something that you have to take particular note. Gildenlow proves to be in possession of a voice that is capable of impressive range and dexterity, going from a low growl of a voice to high pitched scream, though this will be more pronounced in later albums, in a manner oddly reminiscent of Peter Gabriel, and to a greater degree than many other metal singers. He quite definitely marks himself out as one of the best singers of the last ten years, possibly even the best singer. Daniel Gildenlow isn't the only member of the band to provide vocals though as drummer Johan Langell, bassist Kristoffer Gildenlow and guitarist Daniel Magdic (making his only appearance on a Pain of Salvation album) all provide excellent harmony and backing to Daniel Gildenlow's stunning lead, something that is used to great effect.

The level of musicianship that the band members display is very impressive but its harnessed by all to create sharp, expressive and highly focused songs. Never once does this band look remotely likely to fall into the trap of meandering instrumental sections that last for a long time and go nowhere worth bothering with. Indeed many of the songs are amongst the tightest and most impressive compositions that I have ever heard. The twin guitar playing of Daniel Gildenlow and Daniel Magdic has a strong character here with the main focus for them to be playing strong riffs and melodies that lead the songs on through each vocal and instrumental section. Kristoffer Gildenlow quickly proves himself as a stunning prospect on the bass. He shows a command of both plucking and slapping that is very impressive, but his ability to switch between both styles at the drop of a hat in the middle of a song, quite often enhancing the groove of the song at that point, is simply remarkable. I have to admit that Langell didn't immediately come across as a particularly impressive drummer but on closer inspection he has a strong sense of rhythm and a powerful style. Sadly I found Fredrick Hermanssons talents as an expert keyboard player, one that is particularly impressive at harmonising with the band and creating appropriate atmospheres, to be underused on this album, or at least too far back in the mix to hear properly.

This album does have its downsides. Though the exuberance and energy of a band embarking on its first album come through here, the creative medley of styles that are apparent don't always work. For instance, the bluesy section of Plains of Dawn could have been left out as it doesn't work to well, it just seems to break up the song for little reason.

This is without doubt a very impressive debut album that throws out some real gems in !(Forward), Winning A War, People Passing By and Nightmist and, in fairness, there are no weak songs at all here, though some sections of songs could have been done better. Due to its eclectic nature its not the best place to start when investigating Pain of Salvation but Entropia should never be overlooked. 4.5 stars for this as its highly enjoyable, rounded down to 4.

sleeper | 4/5 |

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