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Pain Of Salvation - Entropia CD (album) cover

ENTROPIA

Pain Of Salvation

 

Progressive Metal

4.10 | 413 ratings

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LiquidEternity
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Here is the point where mighty modern-day prog metal giants (though they hate the label of prog metal) Pain of Salvation begin. And what should it sound like, but an awkward and promising release?

The primary difference between Entropia and the next four or so albums is the lineup. A fellow named Daniel Magdic adds guitars and songwriting. And that's where I think much of the difference lies. The band hasn't yet found their primary core of musicianship, nor have they quite found the balance for songwriting (as in, 95% by Daniel Gildenlow). We have youthful attempts at making jagged and complex instrumental passages, odd time signatures, crunchy metal moments, vocal harmonies and solo shenanigans, and so forth. In short, a Pain of Salvation record minus experience and careful trimming of pointless material. That's one of the biggest drawbacks to the record: songs and song pieces that do not belong yet somehow are still present. Also, there is a dramatic and noticeable downtick of quality from the first portion through to the final one, which is not uncommon, but is still regrettable and troublesome. And what's more, the intense Mike Patton/Faith No More influence is stronger here than on any other record, most evident in the wild amount of slap bass and that singing/rapping/breathing/yelling thing that Patton is so well known for.

Entropia opens with the anthemic !, with the added subtitle of (Forward) lest we get confused and think our computer is unable to display the track title. It's a challenging tune, made up of what will make the band great, especially the vocal harmonies. The music then wades through an industrial moment of filler before lighting on Winning a War. This track is well written and well performed, but the shallow sound values remove a dramatic portion of its punch. People Passing By is the strongest and most Pain of Salvation song on this debut. Opening with very heavily slapped bass and a bit of funk, it twists and turns for nearly ten minutes through vocal harmonies, a long guitar solo, and even more funky slap bass. Definitely the highlight of Entropia. And what's more, Oblivion Ocean follows, a haunting song with a wonderful melody and low-tech production that actually adds to its flair. Unfortunately, the album only droops from here, otherwise it might be much more highly rated and regarded.

Stress kicks off the slump with an overabundance of Dream Theater-wannabe prog metal. The rhythms are wild and irregular, which would be pleasant if the song didn't sound so jerky and awkward because of them. It's a good tune to enjoy once in a while, but I can't but consider it a failed song concept. Revival is a more standard metal tune with a few moments of wonderful vocals and melodies but is otherwise nothing very special. A filler track moves us then to To the End, a song slightly less jerky than Stress but still awkward and clearly written by a young band full of ideals but lacking the experience to implement them well at all. A touch more of filler, and we have Nightmist, which is altogether average and nothing particularly outstanding. Plains of Dawn kicks the album back up a few notches, as it is full of deep harmonies and emotional vocals. The production and keyboard sound choices are a bit unfortunate, but the quality of the melodies and then the final minute or two make this a valuable addition to the Pain of Salvation song catalog. The finale is a bit of a filler itself, though it is explored much more fully and beautifully on the live album 12:5.

This is a pretty enjoyable album, though it's youthful enthusiasm quite often gets the better of its quality. Pain of Salvation fans will find plenty to enjoy, but other prog metal fans might want to try starting with something slightly more polished and well-crafted like The Perfect Element or Remedy Lane.

LiquidEternity | 3/5 |

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