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Pain Of Salvation - Road Salt One CD (album) cover


Pain Of Salvation


Progressive Metal

3.35 | 463 ratings

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2 stars In the sleeve notes to Road Salt One, Pain Of Salvation state "Road Salt is thirteen tracks of sweaty gravel, asphalt butterflies, untrodden paths and brave decisions. It will not beg for your liking, it will not make excusses, it will not carry you safely across dangerous waters. If you don't pick up its pace it will leave you stranded at the curb of the road. Yes, Road Salt One might indeed be a harsh lover, but if you have the guts to follow it whole-heartedly and dare to surrender to its rhythm, it will take you places you need to visit". Well if that doesn't set alarm bells ringing I don't know what will. It seems already that they're expecting trouble ahead from their fans and placing the onus on them to come on this journey with them.

You've got to admire Pain Of Salvation. Road Salt One is if nothing else a brave album, so far removed from the prog metal of past releases that they are likely to leave a large percentage of their fanbase behind. Admitedly POS's brand of prog metal didn't really sit well alongside the likes of Dream Theater, Symphony X etc and always stretched the boundaries somewhat but on Road Salt One we get nothing approaching prog metal. That in itself shouldn't be a problem if they'd come up with an absolute killer of an album but unfortunately this is not the case. While it's far from a total disaster it all too often drifts into uninspiring dullness.

After the short and repetitive vocal dominated What She Means To Me it's straight into No Way. This is a promising start and turns out to be the best track on the album, but this blues fuelled rocker which towards it's close has an intricate time change/accent section turns out to be the exception rather than the rule. After such a thrilling start it moves into the slow blues of She Likes To Hide; yes, there's a definite seventies vibe going on here. Sisters is a rather dull piano led ballad that outstays its welcome. Next comes the gospel tinged Of Dust which thankfully is short. Better is Tell Me You Don't Know which starts as an acoustic blues which remains sparse even after the introduction of electric guitar. The improvement is short lived though as the off the wall Sleeping Under The Stars follows with its "Oom pah pah" rhythm if you catch my drift.

The album is divided into what is titled side A and B. Side B starts with Darkness Of Mine with a vibe that musically matches the title as dark avant sections are interspersed between raw heavier guitar parts. Linoleum is the first really satisfying moment since No Way. Imagine Pearl Jam getting a bit clever and you'll be in the right area; a dynamic hard rocker. Also having a bit of a Pearl Jam vibe, though less satisfying is Curiosity. Where It Hurts is an atmospheric piece with a seventies rock feel and pretty good for it. Then it's Road Salt, a track that is already known for becoming a song POS submitted for a possible entry into this year's Eurovision Song Contest! Quite where that may have got them I dread to think but this electric piano and vocal ballad is not your typical Eurovision material. I have to say though that it's not bad at all. The album closes with the longer psychedelic blues of Innocence.

As already stated, Road Salt One is not a bad album by any means. Nevertheless it weighs too heavily towards the average, occasionally poor, with only a few highlights to consider it a good one. Where this record leaves them is anyone's guess but if Road Salt Two which will apparently appear later in the year follows a similar furrow, and combine that with the poorly received Scarsick, their previous release, then POS could be in danger of their loyal fanbase giving up on them. 2 stars.

Nightfly | 2/5 |


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