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Pain Of Salvation - One Hour By The Concrete Lake CD (album) cover


Pain Of Salvation


Progressive Metal

3.92 | 549 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars One Hour by the Concrete Lake is probably the most derided of the "classic" Pain of Salvation albums. However, I feel that this album has nearly as much to offer as the bands more acclaimed albums, just in a different way to the more well known records of The Perfect Element and Remedy Lane. As with all Pain of Salvation albums, Concrete Lake is a concept album that, in this case, deals with the effects on the environment and people of the weapons industry and irresponsible nuclear waste disposal.

One Hour by the Concrete Lake is different to other Pain of Salvation albums in that the music itself has an inherently bleak character to it pretty much throughout the album and to a far greater degree than the band have created before or since. I suspect that its this bleakness that permeates the record that is partly responsible for driving people away from it as it can be hard going sometimes. This tends to be manifested in a sense that the music is rather homogenous for most of the record, that it lacks any real dynamic change. However I find that this gives the album a life of its own and sets it apart from the other albums that the band has recorded and invites the listener to pay close attention to it to digest what is happening.

This is a rather interesting album that after the airy effects intro of Spirit Of The Land plunges into a very much metal oriented song, Inside, slightly reminiscent of Entropia's opener, !(Forward). it's the bleak outlook of the song and the mirroring of it in the music that sets the tone for the album and continues throughout in a similar manner until we reach the much slower and acoustic led Pilgrim that comes as a real reprieve from the relentless feel of what has come before it. The album ends on a song that shares much with the opener before a lengthy sound effects and odd instrumental section that finishes off the album.

Two things on Entropia that I thought could have been improved on is that Pain of Salvation could have made better use of Hermansson's keyboards, and the vocal harmonies showed a lot of promise that wasn't completely followed up on. One Hour by the Concrete Lake does address this, the keys are more integral to the songs and add greatly to the songs, whilst the vocal harmonies are used more often and tend to highlight certain sections excellently in different ways throughout the album. The musicianship as at an equal level to that of the previous album but this time all the songs are very tightly composed with each instrument woven together to create the whole. The production is also very strong here with each instrument being clear at pretty much all times, something I find very important.

One Hour by the Concrete Lake is a very strong album with no real weaknesses but the relentlessness of its character is only broken by the short song Pilgrim and the clear similarities in the feel of each song means that nothing stands out as being a stunning song. In the end this album addresses the few weak points of its predecessor but fails to deliver any really strong songs or anything that immediately strikes the listener and stays in the memory long after. It's a good album and deserves to be listened to far more than it is but its rather dense and definitely not a good place to start when getting into Pain of Salvation, 4 stars still as its very rewarding to those that persevere.

sleeper | 4/5 |


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