Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Pain Of Salvation - Scarsick CD (album) cover


Pain Of Salvation


Progressive Metal

3.18 | 577 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars 4.4 Stars

I'm Speechless! I do not own many albums of this band, but if this is the so called least inspired album from theirs, I have to get the rest of their discography! The music here is not that virtuosic, though you know the musicians are really talented. What they are focused on is emotion, melodies, and songwriting rather than very technical solos like Dream Theater. Speaking of solos ... this album has only a few and no song has 2 solos. The showcase here is Daniel and his vocals/lyrics more than anything, though the musicians complement the moods brought by the leader perfectly. The result is it being one of the most emotional albums I have ever heard; it really moves me. As this seems to be the second part of the Perfect Element, I don't know the introduction and I'd rather review the music more than the lyrics, which covers many different styles.

Scarsick: a synthesized guitar riff begins the album. There's a quick buildup until Daniel screams one word: "Sick!!" and the music turns very heavy with electric guitars and unusual effects. That's it, I was hooked in the first minute! Afterwards, Daniel starts rapping under really cool instrumentation which shows how rap should sound like. After the heavy riff that reappears, an extremely catchy chorus with anguished vocals and instrument arrangements that are a work of genius. Similar riffs and themes appear again but in a heavier format. The chorus sounds even more depressing than in the first time. The range of his vocals is impressive as he can sing really high/low notes, any style he wishes, and can portray moods so proficiently. Finally, the song's themes meld together and turns incredibly heavy and angry with the character of the story screaming how sick he is at the society he lives in. 9/10

Spitfall: What a shock! It begins as pure rap. I never liked rap, but the rapping here is very well-written and performed. I'm sure this particular style is played to show the message Daniel is sending to the listeners in the eyes of the story's character. This aggressive rapping really fits with the doom-metal behind it. The chorus is also very surprising and well-done: upbeat, angry, metal, pop, it is quite complex. After the second chorus, the music and the rapping changes, yet it is still as good. The third chorus is also different: it is mellower and its ending features an addictive guitar/synth line that is really memorable. It leads into more rapping with a frenzied guitar solo in the background. Really mindblowing stuff! The song ends with an extended chorus that plays that guitar line at the end, making it's ending a satisfactory one. 9/10

Cribcaged: Starts as a very simple laid-back tune with gorgeous and sad vocals that later turns angrier "I'm sick of homies, I'm sick of ..." and makes a bit of a list of stuff he's sick of and the first chorus plays which has a very neat electric guitar melody in it. The vocals continue and become angrier as well as the music. Daniel suddenly starts using the F word in every single line and I think it works well. This obscenity-overkill serves as a buildup to the second chorus which is much more powerful than the first one. I love the vocal performance in it, with vocals in the front and vocals in the background. 9/10

America: America, the controversial song. I know that Daniel doesn't like the country too much currently. He never tours the country, refused to do so when he was a member of the Flower Kings, so he bashes the country a bit with a mixture of punk, metal, pop, country, with very 'american' song elements. It sounds weird and was a turn off to me at first listen, but I think it works well. The second half shows that he really doesn't hate America, he hates how it is now:

don't you walk out on me just wait a second now please hear me out oh I'll do my best to love you oh yes I will I know you're out there c'mon raise your voices don't let them ruin your reputation don't let them wreck your constitution not out of fear not out of greed

An American could write lyrics like this and in my eyes, it seems like the lyrics of a patriot who speaks out when something is wrong with the government. The moment when he sings those words is the best moment musically, with lots of innovation in it. The rest sounds a bit weird and the chorus "I'm sick of America" is quite annoying. 5.5/10

Disco Queen is even weirder than America. Like the title says, it is driven by a disco beat, while it also contains prog and metal elements. As a result, it sounds like a very weird mix that sounds funny at first listen. However, after multiple listens, you begin to realize the genius behind this song dealing with prostitution. It just doesn't sound weird anymore, it sounds unique, coherent, and natural and contains a chorus that is embarrassingly catchy and sing-along: "My Disco Queen, Let's Disco!". This is a guilty pleasure track of mine. 9/10

Kingdom of Loss: I am at a loss of words. This song is just perfect. I can't even describe accurately how this song moves me. It has a dreamy atmosphere and a very memorable melody in the verses where Daniel sings passionately or talks about the irony of human society. It seems there are two types of choruses here. The heavy "All for Sale" that is one of the most powerful musical passages I have ever heard in prog metal. The "welcome down to planet Earth" chorus has some of the best melodies I have ever heard and subtle instrumentation with acoustic strumming. This chorus continues with another strong melody "If you're tearing down my world, please try to do it gently". After the second chorus, a guitar solo full of feeling and melody takes over and when it finishes, the "If you're tearing down my world" chorus reappears with more layers and a heavier and more symphonic sound and repeats for a minute until it fades out. Perfect song, one of the best non-epic songs I have ever heard. 11/10

Unfortunately, nothing will come close to the quality of Kingdom of loss afterwards, but it is still very enjoyable music.

Mrs Modern Mother Mary: a funky metal song driven by a simple guitar riff played under a time signature I cannot figure out. The riff plays during the choruses too but it doesn't get old. The vocals are the main interest of the song, with Daniel singing with a lot of variety. 7.5/10

Idiocracy: Powerful guitars and keyboards and lots of innovation once again. The vocals sound very different in this track from the others, proving how flexible his voice can be. The chorus is gentle, dreamy, and very moving, while the second chorus sounds heavier because the character can't accept the society he lives in, though it's slow tempo does not make it very loud and aggressive. The song ends acoustically. 7.5/10

Flame to the Moth starts brilliantly with a fast tempo and an amazing riff. The vocal performance here is stellar though I am not a big fan of the growling in the refrains. As virtually everyone seems to enjoy his growls, don't pay too much attention to my criticism here. After all, he uses it with a purpose. The outro of the song with gorgeous piano and 'the riff' is great. Overall, an above-average track with the style of the band, recalling their "remedy lane" era. 8/10

Enter Rain uses a drum line throughout the majority of the song. I believe the verses are beautiful. They are dark, atmospheric, gloomy and bring tension. The choruses are heavier and contain a memorable hook. Once again, Daniel sings tormented vocals in the background. After the second chorus, there is a new section that sounds more depressing than before and then, the last chorus plays and the character dies. 7.5/10

As you can see, this album is very diverse and emotional. Rather than focusing on complexity and virtuosity, Pain of Salvation chose to focus on the music, the lyrics, and the vocals. This album divides fan, but I recommend you to take the risk and see if you are one of the listeners who can enjoy this album to its fullest.

A modern highlight, Highly recommended and essential to prog metal fans.

Zitro | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this PAIN OF SALVATION review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives