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Pain Of Salvation - The Perfect Element - Part 1 CD (album) cover


Pain Of Salvation


Progressive Metal

4.23 | 1223 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars An 80's hair metal band gets marinated in progressive rock.

I read a lot of very good reviews about this album and saw it was among the top rated prog metal albums on PA and MMA. Since I had just received Symphony X's "V: The New Mythology Suite", which is another top rated prog metal album on both sites, and I quickly grew to love it, I thought that this album should be among my next prog metal purchases. Honestly though, this one is taking its time to appeal to me.

The good points are many. Daniel Gildenl÷w has a very diverse voice and can sing anything from gruff barks to high screams to smooth and calm to somewhere in between it all. The album tells the story (part 1) of two broken people, He and She, who meet and begin a relationship. That's as far as I got there. I'm afraid the broken people stories don't go far with me. The best one I've heard is Nine Inch Nails' "The Downward Spiral". After that it's difficult to impress me with that kind of story. Still, Gildenl÷w uses his voice to effectively convey the emotions of each part of the story. The music is for the most part not too complex but like "The Wall" (in a way) mostly sticks to relaying the moments in the tale. The tempo stays slow to mid-range and I only noticed one part where a double bass drum comes into play. In this way, this is a pretty mild and tame metal album despite the theme of pain and frustration.

Two other points to mention in favour of the music are the guitar and keyboards. While there are no catchy, bang-your-head metal riffs, the guitarist (be it Gildenl÷w or Johan Hallgren) uses lead playing to create beautiful melody lines and as well there are some delightful licks here and there in the solos, particularly in "Her Voices" lies a favourite of mine. Fredrik Hermanssen is used very well to provide beautiful piano passages, atmospheric synthesizer, and some powerful rhythm synth work that treads into symphonic prog metal at times, most notably in the title track. I always feel that if you're going to have a keyboard player in a metal band then you should let him/her contribute to the overall quality of the music and not just keep the keys in the background for rhythm behind the guitars.

There's some great music on this album and the songs to stand out the most for me are "Ideoglossia", "Her Voices", "King of Loss" and "Reconciliation". These songs are where the overall feel of the album is wonderfully combined with some excellent music that captures the progressive metal quality best or where the music is simply beautiful. The title track offers some great moments too.

However, there are some aspects of the album that still haven't grabbed me. First, this is not really a heavy metal album. There are parts where the guitars are loud and the vocals screaming or full of raw energy but the majority of the songs are pretty lightweight. Even when the music gets heavy and aggressive I find myself thinking that it needs more bass to enrich the sound. It's as if the band wanted to show aggression without wanting to be offensive. The first four songs are easy to get by because they don't really get the album up and running. It's not until "Ideoglassia" that things really turn exciting and even then the song reuses the pseudo-rap of "Used" and reintroduces the chorus of "Ashes". It almost seems that the album is already reprising music before it has hardly gotten started. Thankfully the rest of the song really begins to show off POS's talent. There are also a couple of puzzling spoken lines like "Call your dad" at the end of "Her Voices" and the beginning of "Dedication" (I'm sure he says, "Call your dad") and "Will I ever walk again?" in the title track. If I familiarize myself with the story more it might make more sense to me, but these lines just seem to leap out from the music and I'm like, "Huh?"

For me, a good album should be enjoyable to listen to straight through and as well have a few songs that can be enjoyed on their own. The four songs that I have mentioned here are great stand alone tracks but the rest of the album goes by me without many parts signaling my attention. I agree that this is a great album insofar as the effort and outcome are concerned. But I am not as excited about the whole concept as I am about the music in a few parts.

For anyone who doesn't like really aggressive metal but can appreciate something a little more melodic and easy, this album makes for a nice safe step into progressive metal. I think it's still a good album, but I'd like to hear another POS album that is either a little more technical or a little more varied in pace.

FragileKings | 3/5 |


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