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


Pain Of Salvation


Progressive Metal

4.23 | 1329 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars As creative and innovative as I've ever heard Prog Metal get, we have here one of the most highly acclaimed PM albums of all time. But then, the question arises: Is this really Prog Metal?

- As These Two Desolate Worlds Collide: 1. "Used" (5:23) this song is all over the place, it's beautiful and abrasive, it's complex and it's simple, and yet it works! (9.5/10)

2. "In the Flesh" (8:36) with tinges of classic rock, jazz, pop, and theatre, this one was not what I was expecting in the Prog Metal realm of possibilities. The song starts out surprisingly sedate and uniform but slowly, subtly grows in power and complexity--until the heart-wrenching vocal and piano/acoustic guitar and crashing dénouement final 90 seconds. I am speechless. (18.5/20)

3. "Ashes" (4:28) decent musical drama; perhaps a little too simple and straightforward. (8.5/10)

4. "Morning on Earth" (4:34) a very theatric vocal opening that never really lets up--remains an incredibly sensitive, emotional Broadway-like piece to the very end. Shocking! (9.5/10)

- It All Catches Up with You When You Slow Down: 5. "Ideoglossia" (8:29) quickly establishes a break-neck pace, yet the thickness of the sound never becomes impenetrable or oppressive; I can always easily distinguish every instrument, in fact, every string and note from every instrument. The second song that reminds me of the mixed-media territory that was blazed by bands like SAGA and LINKIN PARK. The flaw here, in mo opinion, is that feeling of disconnect I get between the verses and the chorus--as if two rather distinct and not-so-well matched songs have been glued together rather haphazardly. There, however, some incredible moments, unmistakable power and emotion, and peak individual performances. (17.75/20)

6. "Her Voices" (7:56) Bonny Tyler? At least until 1:45; then we get a LINKIN PARK-like bridge before returning to the plaintive vocal and style of the opening. Viking chorus at 3:00 tries to take us out of the pretty, almost convincing Daniel Gildenlöw to give up the pretty singing style, before leading us into a JC Superstar Judas/torture passage for a couple minutes. The weakest song on the album for me. (12.75/15)

7. "Dedication" (4:00) more tender, delicate singing and music? Again, I was not expecting so much schmaltz. It's pretty, and theatric, but less Prog Metal than I ever expected. Tensions rise at the two-minute mark, but, alas! it's just a tease as they remain unrealized. Still, a kind of cool, creative song.(8.75/10)

8. "King of Loss" (9:46) another song in which tensions are held in check despite little leaks here and there until the LED ZEPPELIN-like breakout at 3:30. Finally! I guess I'm getting used to the incredibly subtle razor's edge that this band and especially the vocals of Daniel Gildenlöw live on. (17.5/20)

- Far Beyond the Point of No Return: 9. "Reconciliation" (4:24) another collage of SAGA-like mood swings and JC Superstar themes and motifs. (8.5/10)

10. "Song for the Innocent" (3:02) for 90 seconds, this is pretty like GENESIS' "Afterglow," but then a "Comfortably Numb"-like breakout and guitar solo happens. Powerful but seriously too close to "the original." (8.75/10)

11. "Falling" (1:50) a bluesy ROY BUCHANAN-like guitar solo over synth washes. (4.25/5)

12. "The Perfect Element" (10:09) nice opening to bring us in with a promise of something more "normal." As the music builds, a story as if from a murder crime scene is told beneath, and then it breaks into full exposition around the two-minute mark. Cool, gorgeous, powerful motif in the fourth minute "chorus." This is then followed by a kind of return/refrain of musical themes from the album's opening song. Heavy bass and Mellotron work well in the next section, but then at 4:35 everything drops away for some guitar arpeggi, strings, and choral "ahh's" while multiple voices singing in and around plead their cases with varying degrees of emotion Around 6:20 we reach peak power but then, just as quickly, everything falls away and we run along at an even pace for a stretch before the ninth minute's beautiful choral vocals above the driving music. At 9:25 guitars and keys disappear leaving only the drums and effects to finish. Good song, not great, but typical of the the dramatic emotionality of the whole album. (17.5/20)

Total Time 72:37

I'll say one thing for this album: it comes at you hard, with an authenticity and identity that is unlike others of the Prog Metal sub-genre; there is innovation, there is texture, there is drama, there is abrasive and beautiful--often paired together--and there is almost constant surprise. The fact that there is so much theatre and so many highly emotional motifs--and so few Devy Townsend-like "walls of sound" power chord passages from the bass and guitars--is still shocking to me.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music regardless of whatever sub-genre it may fall into; definitely an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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