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Pain Of Salvation - Be CD (album) cover

BE

Pain Of Salvation

 

Progressive Metal

4.11 | 661 ratings

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sleeper
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Be is quite simply one of the most adventures albums ever attempted, trying to fuse Pain of Salvation's own brand of Progressive Metal with classical, jazz and folk by effectively adding a nine piece orchestra to the line-up. On top of that, Daniel Gildenlow created a concept to encompass the creation of the world and its people, and to explore the possibility that God could be just as insecure as any person. As you can imagine, this was always going to be a tall order just to get the separate parts to work together here, and to a large extent, they pulled it off very well.

The first thing that you think of when you here that a metal band have added an orchestra is "oh no, their doing a Metalica" i.e. this is going to sound like a heavy metal band playing with an orchestra supporting, with no real mix between the two entities. This is most definitely not the case here, Pain of Salvation have successfully integrated themselves into the "Orchestra of Eternity" with the result being the feeling that you are listening to a large, fourteen piece, band. This is the most impressive aspect of the album, that each instrument interacts to create a whole that is as cohesive as any of the previous four albums, perhaps even more so than Entropia. Though the fusion of all fourteen musicians is probably the most impressive aspect of this album, it is not the most immediate one, that goes to the diverse range of styles that are played to perfection here. The first real song of the album is a metal track in the standard sound of Pain Of Salvation (if there's such a thing) with the orchestra being barley noticeable, but this quickly moves into a song that can only be described as folk. From here on out, folk, metal, jazz and classical based songs, and others that are a blend of two or more of these styles, jump out at you to show you how diverse this album is. In-fact this works so well to the effect that it isn't really a metal album at all anymore, though to those that feel they must pin down a genre to it, all I can say is good luck, because I cant.

The musicianship of Pain of Salvation has now been at the highest level, and used brilliantly, for the past three albums without a single dip. They hold true to that maintaining such a high standard almost effortlessly, though this time its stretched encompassing multiple styles. A big difference here to the previous albums is that the concept is more transparent than in previous works, it wouldn't take much use of the grey matter of any listener to gain an understanding of what the concept is and where its going, something that is very different from Gildenlow's previous style of having elaborate and cryptic concepts that required a fair bit of study and thought to understand fully. What hasn't changed is the well thought out, and above all performed, lyrics that still convey their meaning with plenty of imagery, charisma and finesse.

Now that I've stopped gushing about how good this album is, I'll explain why it isn't a masterpiece, despite the fact that it really should have been with only a few changes. The main problem is that the concept gets in the way of the damned impressive music all too often. The album opens with a two minute spoken word piece with only the sound of a heart beat to add, and such spoken sections happen frequently, especially in the second half of the album. To put it simply, they're very annoying after a couple of listens and become very much surplus to requirement, some being very much unnecessary, even to the concept. The one song that really gets on my nerves, though, is Vocari Dei. This song is a beautiful piece of music ruined with a horde of "messages to God" from fans from all over the world (ones even in Japanese). Now I wouldn't be to aggrieved with a few messages considering that God is a key part of the concept, but it just gets all a bit too much for me, someone that tries to avoid any theological position. I also have great distaste for the practice of having a song with large sections of silence, sections that last for a minute or more. Unfortunately this is how the album ends, a spoken word piece that has large gaps of silence between two pieces, a disappointing end to say the least.

This is a great album with some of the most impressively conceived and executed musical ideas that I have come across, but it's a flawed piece of genius where the concept gets in the way far too much and can even put some people off. A great album that I will always hold in esteem and fully deserving of its four stars, but could have been so much more with a little extra care. Not for the musically unadventurous or those that are trying to get into Pain of Salvation, but a must have for everyone else. Now, who said pretentious..

sleeper | 4/5 |

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