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Pain Of Salvation - Be CD (album) cover

BE

Pain Of Salvation

 

Progressive Metal

4.12 | 696 ratings

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Negoba
Prog Reviewer
2 stars A Big Swing and a Miss for the Talented Swede

In a genre with its share of ambitious, pretentious, self-absorbed musical forays that go too far, this one runs headlong right off the cliff without even looking back. Pain of Salvation's bandleader / singer / multi-instrumentalist Daniel Gildenlow's creative talent is enmeshed in pushing the envelope further and further, and he's effectively ridden the edge to great effect many times. I would argue the "pushing too hard" begins as far back as Remedy Lane, and most agree that Scarsick is way past the line. In my opinion, this is the first album in the PoS discography where I felt like I wasted my money.

Be contains LONG spoken word sections throughout the album on subjects dealing with existence, religion, love, and the nature of being. And not allegorically, head on, attempting to juggle multiple immense subjects at once - it was doomed to fail. At times these musings run over ambient key pads, occasionally over prog-metal, and sometimes some simple guitar noodling. Even more occasionally, we get an entire SONG with actual lyrics and melody that relates to the instrumental music. To a greater degree than even the previous PoS concept albums, this is a rock opera, a soundtrack to what sounds like it was meant to be a stage production (Existence and Everything in It - the Musical). Several songs sound like big stage numbers, and the genre hopping here sounds more like Broadway than prog.

Some of the composed music on this album is really good, and in fact the album opens and ends quite well. The completely realized songs (Imago, Pluvius Aestivus, and Martius / Nauticus II) and many of the instrumental interludes are up there with the best of Pain of Salvation, and makes a fan like me wonder what could have been. Gildenlow has added a folky flavor in spots with acoustic instrumentation and melodic sense that really gives the album a freshness and contrast to previous work.

But after weathering several spoken word passages among some truly compelling music, we are given the very questionable Nauticus. Starting with a similated slave work song (White northern European not only trying to sound Black but writing a slave song??? That takes some stones) the piece then devolves into a spoken word scene between a narcissist and a woman he's picked up that is just painful on repeated listens. The piece is really an intro to the next track (all about narcissism), and it's all part of the story, I get it. But beginning at this spot and continuing for many subsequent songs, the brushstrokes are so broad, and the points so basic on a philosophical level, that only (young) teenagers are not already going to be past the lyrical content of the album.

There's enough here to earn the album two stars, but it's significantly inferior to Remedy Lane, which I initially (before hearing this album) gave the same mark for some faults in common and some of its own. Where I think most PoS fans should get Remedy Lane and render their own opinion, I feel like no one should buy this disc unless they've sampled it in its entirety first. Sadly, it could have been a masterpiece. But when you swing for the bleachers, you're going to have your share of strikeouts. Gildenlow swung for outer space on this one. The result is not surprising.

Negoba | 2/5 |

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