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

THE PERFECT ELEMENT PART 1

Pain Of Salvation

 

Progressive Metal

4.25 | 920 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Pain of Salvation's "The Perfect Element Part 1" is the third POS item I acquired and it is a real departure from what I had expected after listening to "Remedy Lane" and watching the wonderful "Ending Themes" DVD. I recognised a lot of tracks from the live DVD such as 'Used' but the studio versions are way more polished and easier to listen to. The production on this album is excellent. I like the vocals better too on the studio versions. The concept of this album is rather heavy handed but you can bypass it for the quality of the tracks. I like the lyrics on this though they are dark and brooding culminating in a final immolation of the protagonist. The tracks range from incredibly heavy to incredibly melancholy.

Used is a heavy opener that has a great vocal from Daniel, low and ominous in the verses and heavier when he sings "getting used to pain..." the rapping lyrics are angry and intense; "I am the unclean, The black drop at the bottom of your cup, You'd better drink or throw me up, 'Cause I am on your lip and tongue, God, I'm not yours as much as you are mine, So let me in to be your lung, Just breathe me deep and take another sip So still, A taste so sweet but so bitter the kill, Still on your lip, You are so close..." fairly nasty lyrics with an emo feel in some sense, and a very symphonic sound is present.

In The Flesh features a quiet vocal on the verses and a lovely guitar lick. It builds in tempo during the mid section. There is an odd time signature at about 4 minutes into the track. It changes feel after 5 minutes and gets heavier. It mellows out again completely toward the ending and there is an excellent acoustic instrumental section with Fredrik's piano. A very moody, evocative song.

Ashes is a well known POS song and has a great vampiric film clip to promote this album. The clip is genuinely creepy with chilling images of a sick old man fondling a mannequin, a couple of lovers romping naked and then covered in ashes, little children, a bath full of gore and a woman lying in it with a snorkel, and Daniel leering into the camera clad in black. The track features a deep menacing vocal in the verses and a louder chorus; "as we walk through the ashes I whisper your name...". The sound is ominous and Gothically dark. There is a musical box chime that plays throughout giving that creepy feeling of innocence lost, the theme of death pervades all.

Morning On Earth has a pastoral feel, an orchestrated approach, with calming vocals. It flows along with lucid keyboards sustained. There are some fascinating lyrics here; "I am the tears in your mouth, I am the weight on your shoulder, I am the scream that wants out, And my heart just couldn't grow colder, Now this rusty heart is my gift, This fallen love is my gift..." The musical box sound appears at the beginning and end, almost like a toy piano.

Ideoglossia is 8 and a half minutes of fantastic metal. The guitar riff at the beginning builds with heavy distortion, bass and drums. An awesome sound drives this one headlong with a very unusual time sig. The lyrics spell out the pain of the protagonist encountering death; "Kneeling in whirlpools, Of pink champagne, Celebrating the bravery of my pain, Something broke And no water could ever wash, The anger from that first stain, I scratched the surface to find Someone wicked and blind, Where did it come to that end? Why can't these scars ever mend?" The riffs are very intricate, complex musicianship. The vocals are kind of like rap, the type of thing found on "Scarsick". The track slows suddenly and changes back to fast without warning. It even reprises 'Ashes' chorus. There are some wonderful harmonies too. This is glorious metal, one of the best on this album.

Her Voices runs for 8 minutes and is dominated by strong keyboard staccato passages. Very gentle vocals of Daniel carry the song again in a beautiful style but with darkly sinister lyrics. It builds to an interesting faster riff and very loud chunky guitar licks. The flute sound is arresting and works well to balance the metal sounds. Once again this is a mini epic that soars into the stratosphere. It is so well played with a very complicated structural framework. The majestic feel is solid and it builds to a crescendo, one of POS' ultimate tracks.

Dedication is a quiet track with soft vocals, acoustic and piano. It has an atmosphere of impending doom and loss. "I still can't believe that you are not around, That your warm voice won't make another sound, Sure I understand, but I never will accept, That you should be gone, I watched you die, And I have feared this moment Since I was just a child, So why that sunny sky? When my beloved grandfather Lies dead here cold and still?"

King Of Loss is a 10 minute mini epic beginning with intricate guitar riffs and piano with heartfelt vocals. The piano is creepy, there are some brilliant time sigs that shift at stages. When the vocals are sung "I am the king of loss!" the track builds to a heavier feel and a delicious chord structure, loud keyboard stabs and ambient sounds. The pace quickens as the next verses are sung; "Mother, I wish that we could talk, You see I'm not fit to play this game, Bound by its rules just the same, My talents turned to talons, Every monetary pile, Will buy me a precious smile... smile... So smile for the King of Loss Feed from the juices Bleeding from this cross Then tell me our lives mean more Than this vain thirst!..." The lead break by Johan on this track is divine, very emotional and creative with orchestrated sections.

Reconciliation has a catchy riff and a moderate rock beat, a more accessible track for the band. Interesting lyrics about the guilt of the protagonist, "I'm sick of running away... I've washed my hands of your blood, Thought it would leave me clean, But with time on my hands, It turned to mud forming this crust of sin, Now to be truly free, I'll let it come to me So break me if you must, When you break this crust, Freedom is to see, Hear this voice, see this man, Standing before you I'm just a child, Just a man learning to yield... I hate what these eyes have seen".

Song For The Innocent features Daniel's gentle vocals, ethereal guitars and Fredrik's haunting piano. The moderate rock beat gives it a kick along and it has a great chorus with loud crunching guitars.

Falling is a beautiful guitar solo by Johan that is very popular with budding guitarists as you may note on YouTube the amount of guitarists giving this a go. It is a very pretty melancholy tune and emotional in line with the context of the concept of a man falling deeper into sin.

The Perfect Element is a 10 minute album closer that is one of the best from POS. It begins with the familiar guitar riff, then a wall of sound is generated with orchestrated synths from Fredrik. The lyrics are as dark as it gets; "Stealing meaning from this child, We took away his reason, His soul put under lock and key, His heart blackened from treason, But if you take from those you fear, Everything they value, You have bred the perfect beast, Drained enough to kill you...Falling far beyond the point of no return Nothing to become and nothing left to burn...Watching unseen untouched bleeding Empty exposed dying eyes closed." At 7 minutes in the beat changes and the track shifts into a fast tempo with multi layered tracks. The album ends with a huge finale, and the chapter is closed on this part of the concept.

The album overall is one to listen to from end to end as the tracks blend together into one seamless track. The concept is creepy but this should not detract from the brilliant music. Daniel's vocals take some getting used to but it is a unique sound that POS generates and one to revel in with blasts of symphonic, Gothic nu metal and passages of deep ambience.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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