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Pain Of Salvation - One Hour By The Concrete Lake CD (album) cover

ONE HOUR BY THE CONCRETE LAKE

Pain Of Salvation

 

Progressive Metal

3.97 | 396 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Underrated

Out of the first 5 Pain of Salvation albums, One Hour by the Concrete Lake is the only one that their fanbase doesn't always appreciate. The three albums that follow the band's second effort are all 5-star masterpieces in my book, and their debut album is often said to be one of the most original debut albums in prog metal. So where does this album fall?

Well, for those reasons I just mentioned, One Hour by the Concrete Lake is often forgotten about by Pain of Salvation fans. It's not as polished as their next three albums, it's not as innovative as their debut, so by default it must be a bad album, right?

Wrong. One Hour by the Concrete Lake is an excellent, almost perfect album in my opinion. By this point Pain of Salvation was a more mature and developed band than they were on their debut, and it definitely shows. The songwriting is top-notch, they had defined their unique take on prog metal, and they had almost perfected their formula.

To be honest, my only real complaint with this album is that I have some minor problems with the production. Sometimes the production can sound rather low budget and a little cheesy (particularly in the drum department). The drums sometimes sound too artificial for my tastes, but I wouldn't complain too much. The production is still powerful, even though it doesn't really appeal to me. I've definitely heard some albums that have been produced far worse than this.

THE MUSIC:

"Spirit of the Land"- The first song on the album is a haunting synthesized keyboard chord progression. Very dark and emotional, and it accurately sets the tone for the rest of the album. An excellent opening piece.

"Inside"- The prelude fades into the opening of this song. A fast and intriguing piano melody with excellent drum rhythms creates an excellent opening. The mood turns darker for a short while, but a memorable keyboard section with a light bass and drum rhythm section lead into the first vocal part of the album. This entire part of the song is excellent and wonderfully crafted. Daniel Gildenl÷w delivers an excellent vocal performance, and the highlight of most of this song is the excellent keyboard tones and playing from Frederik Hermansson. This is filled with excellent progressions, transitions, melodies and everything in between. This is one of the best songs from the album.

"The Big Machine"- The third song opens up with a mid-tempo guitar riff. It progresses into a nice verse with good instrumentation. The chorus to this song sounds like something off of an operatic power metal album. The vocals are really what give it this feel. Low, opera-like vocals. The ending is epic and symphonic with powerful vocals. This is a good song, but this is not one of the standout tracks of the album.

"New Year's Eve"- This opens up with a dark, low guitar melody. When Daniel's vocals enter, it goes from dark and heavy to light and melodic. This goes into fast prog metal riffing and successfully builds back into the verses. This is a perfect example of excellent transitions in music. When you think the song can't get any better, a beautiful symphonic section enters. The vocals are extremely powerful, and I absolutely love how Daniel sings in this section. It progresses back into the dark sections that opened up the song, and it is followed by another excellent transition! This is one of the best songs of the album and it's 100% perfect from beginning to end

"Handful of Nothing"- Much of this song sounds very much like power metal, mainly because of the production of this album. This song is mostly based on a drum rhythm and a few chords. While this really comes across as shallow at first, after multiple listens the beauty of the song shows. The chorus is excellent, and the vocals particularly shine. The beautiful melodies and memorable riffs are more than enough to intrigue me.

"Water"- This song is possibly my favorite from the album, as it's filled with beauty, intensity and emotion. It opens with a rather heavy riff. A light guitar chord progression enters soon after. Daniel's vocals are beautiful right here and they seamlessly progress into a beautiful guitar solo. This builds powerfully into a light, yet heavy, prog metal section with excellent synth and guitar soloing. This leads itself perfectly into an emotionally-driven chorus. The vocal harmonies are perfect, and this is one of the highlights of the album. The climax of the song is dark and heavy, with fast drumming and dark keyboards. This slowly fades away into the beautiful acoustic chorus seamlessly. This is one of the best Pain of Salvation songs, and it's even better in the context of the album.

"Home"- This song opens up with piano and guitar melodies against a bass drum. It suddenly turns into a climatic symphonic metal section with fast and frantic metal riffing. Just as suddenly as it started, it ends and a lush acoustic guitar melody enters. It sounds somewhat like a ballad with the beautiful vocal melodies. The chorus is excellent, and as usual, the superbly crafted vocal harmonies stand out. The climatic intro enters, and it progresses fantastically into a light electric piano section. The guitar solo is excellent, and it serves as a perfect transition into the final vocal section.

"Black Hills"- I've got to be honest when reviewing an album, and I must say this is not one of the better songs of the album. This whole song often seems to be lacking in emotion and the powerful dynamics that make most of the album excellent. The chorus, while it is memorable, is disjointed and flawed. Much of this song is lacking in dynamics. This is still a decent song, though I find it a little bit boring. This still isn't a terrible song, though.

"Pilgrim"- This opens up with a light and haunting guitar chord progression and quiet vocals from Daniel Gildenl÷w. This song builds excellently and is powerful without using any complex instrumentation. The string section really adds another layer to the music, and their melodies contrast each other perfectly. This is a beautiful song.

"Shore Serenity"- A dark and fast piano melody using odd time signatures opens up the song. A fast and dark guitar melody and low vocals enter. Parts of this song have kind of an operatic feel, mostly vocally. The outro is climatic and powerful.

"Inside Out"- The last song on the album uses the same theme presented in the first song throughout. It opens with dark and heavy metal riffing with a fast piano melody. It progresses well into the dark, gothic-tinged chorus. The song, while listed at around 12 minutes, is really only 6 and a half. The rest is mostly silence, and a quiet section reminding me of Pilgrim. Let me just say that those 6 minutes are really epic. It is generally in a dark, almost gothic mood, but there are epic symphonic sections along with beautiful melodies. This song closes the album concisely. This is a really great way to end the album.

Conclusion:

One Hour By The Concrete Lake is a really underrated album by Pain of Salvation. It's really a shame many fans, and even Daniel Gildenl÷w himself, don't appreciate this album very much. I think this is an excellent and well-crafted prog metal album. I don't think it ranks up with the three following albums from Pain of Salvation, but this album definitely holds it's own. I will award this album with a 4 star rating. This is a highly recommended album from me!

4 stars.

J-Man | 4/5 |

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