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Pain Of Salvation - Entropia CD (album) cover

ENTROPIA

Pain Of Salvation

 

Progressive Metal

4.09 | 520 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 109

"Entropia" is the debut studio album of Pain Of Salvation and was released in 1997. It's the only album from the band featuring Daniel Magdic on guitar. He was substituted by Johan Hallgren on their next albums. So, the line up on the album is Daniel Gildenlow (lead vocals and guitar), Daniel Magdic (vocals and guitar), Fredrik Hermansson (keyboards), Kristoffer Gildenlow (vocals and bass) and Johan Langell (vocals and drums).

"Entropia" is a conceptual album concerning the story of a family in a fictional society that is torn apart by the war. The title of the album is derived from the words "entropy" (from thermodynamics, the measure of disorder present in a system) and "utopia" (the ideal society). Its concept is very loose compared with the concepts of some of their future albums. While it does follow a central story with specific characters, it also acts as a general commentary about war and societal injustice. So, it's far more open to interpretation and can be approached differently by different people.

However, as Daniel Gildenlow says, this is an album with a very complex concept that is pretty hard to grasp. It's about a family in a war situation, about a father that fails to protect his family, about a child who needs a father and not a soldier, about a society that kills and excludes and then takes its hand away from the remains in shock of what it has become. It's about a world he has chosen to call Entropia, which is in his opinion, suspiciously similar to our world. "Entropia" is the album that started it all. This isn't their best album, but it's still an amazing progressive metal album.

"Entropia" is divided into four chapters and has the following story. The story is about a child, his father and his mother through a period of war in a land called Entropia. When the father leaves his family to fight in the war, the son yearns for his father's return. Sorely missing the love and the presence of his dad, the son strays from his path and falls into poverty and disarray, and finally he died. Broken with the news, the father pleads to God, and swears to take what's left of his family and move away into West Entropia. However, their new life isn't all he expected. West Entropia has its own share of problems. Industry is spinning out of control, the technology is pervasive throughout everything, violence and hate are far closer than ever before, and all of it quickly became dominant. So, the man is unable to protect the rest of his family, his wife, from the dangers of this hostile new world, and she died too. Upon suffering this second loss, the man has another conflict with God, and finally he realise that he was completely enable to protect his loved ones from harm and he commits suicide. This is an album with a very pungent and dramatic story.

Musically, "Entropia" features elements of straight ahead metal, funk, jazz, bombastic progressive rock, bittersweet balladry and much more. Daniel's voice is raw and slightly underdeveloped, comparatively speaking. You can feel the strain in his voice, especially when he attempts to hit highs and lows that would come effortlessly on many of their future albums. Daniel's vocals are fascinating and exciting, as always. From a structural and song writing point of view, "Entropia" has all over the place. The group jumps between styles sporadically, moods and dynamics are constantly shifting around in potentially disorienting fashion, and the instrumental work is easily one of the best that they've ever made. Pain Of Salvation have come to always place the concepts first, and it might not be quite right on this debut. On it, the band was still experimenting with different directions and composing explorative, which is quite reasonable. The rhythm section of Kristoffer and Langell is at its most frenetic, displaying much more of a jazz influenced free style flow throwing around some rather type patterns that we never really get to hear on future albums.

Conclusion: "Entropia" is really an impressive album of Pain Of Salvation. Worth getting with it, for those seeking something new, refreshing, original and who want to listen to something different from the typical progressive metal sound. It's easily one of the best debuts I've ever heard and it marked the starting point of what would be a consistent chain of magnificent progressive metal conceptual albums. "Entropia" encompasses a wide range of different styles of music, like funk, techno and even jazz, but at the core it always has the progressive metal sound. Some progressive metal bands are simply Dream Theater's followers. But this is a band where the emotion plays a big role in the musicianship. The musicianship doesn't equal playing fast, but rather interacting between all musicians resulting in a great balance of composition and improvisation. Daniel Gildenlow plays the lead role with his genial compositions and fantastic vocal work with an amazing range and power. His guitar playing is also technically brilliant and he has his own style. The other band members are of also excellent. I highly recommend "Entropia" to all who wants to hear something fresh and new. It isn't an easy album to get into. It takes a few listenings to fully get into it, but it worth. I'm sincerely convinced that despite isn't as good as "The Perfect Element Part 1" and "Remedy Lane", it's almost there.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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