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

ROAD SALT ONE

Pain Of Salvation

 

Progressive Metal

3.40 | 378 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars One thing that you can never criticize Pain of Salvation for, whether you like them or not, is not changing direction. Ever since their ambitious prog metal debut album, the band has been constantly reinventing their already unique sound, with the grand final product being Road Salt One. Let me say from the beginning that if you're expecting to hear a progressive metal masterpiece like The Perfect Element or Remedy Lane, you will surely be disappointed. But if you come into this album with an open mind, willing to hear anything Mr. Gildenlöw has to throw at you, Road Salt One will come as a pleasant surprise.

There has been one main lineup change since 2007's controversial Scarsick, which is the departure of longtime drummer, Johan Langell. Johan is supposedly quitting the music business for now to spend more time as a husband and father. He was a really important part of Pain of Salvation, and even though Leo Margarit (Zubrowska) does a great job, Johan Langell is an irreplaceable figure. I can't help but wonder what this album would've sounded with Johan behind the kit. I'm not going to complain, though, since Leo is surely a very talented musician.

Pain of Salvation doesn't like to play it safe with any of their albums, and Road Salt One is perhaps their most ambitious work to date. This album is very progressive, though not in a symphonic or suite-oriented way like their earlier albums were. Even though Road Salt One is conceptual, the album is much more song-oriented than the band's previous efforts. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whether or not you like strictly conceptual albums. I personally would prefer a concept album to a song-oriented album any day, but there is enough of a conceptual feel here to please longtime Pain of Salvation fans.

Concept and lyrics aside, Road Salt One is a one-of-a-kind album. I've never heard an album that blends 70's blues/hard rock, modern prog, pop, and about twenty other genres so seamlessly. I was initially turned off by how straightforward the album can be, and even though Road Salt One is much more basic than the earlier PoS albums, over time I began to appreciate the album much more. This is surely a grower, and will take multiple listens to appreciate (like all Pain of Salvation albums). Although it may seem extremely linear at first listen, Road Salt One has many little intricacies that are only noticeable after many listening sessions. After all of the times I've listened to the album, I can conclude that this is a fantastic and innovative album, but still probably the weakest Pain of Salvation release to date.

The lyrics are good, but nowhere near the lyrical genius of Scarsick, Be, or Remedy Lane. The lyrics are mostly in the sexual relationships and struggles department. There are songs like Sisters, Road Salt, and Linoleum where the lyrics are extremely captivating, but songs like No Way and She Likes to Hide aren't up to Gildenlöw's usual standards. Overall, the lyrics are still consistently interesting, even if it never reaches the high points of previous PoS albums.

The musicians of Pain of Salvation, as always, are fantastic. Even though they play much more simplistic music on this album, they still are all awesome. Daniel Gildenlöw is simply one of my idols for so many reasons. Whether it be his voice, compositions, or instrumental performances, he is a godly musician. Leo Margarit is a good replacement for Johan Langell, even though I still prefer Langell by a large margin. Fredrik Hermansson (keyboards) and Johan Hallgren (guitar) are great as always.

The production is a bit of a problem IMO. It's a bit too raw and unpolished for this type of music. Gildenlöw's voice sounds too rough and the sound of the drums and guitar can get a bit annoying at times. It's an acquired taste, and I'm sure some people will love the vintage sound. It's just not for me, though.

There are two versions of the album on the market; a 52:00 standard edition and a 55:33 limited edition containing a bonus track and two extended versions of tracks. The bonus track is nothing special, and the extended versions honestly sound worse than the originals. I think it's a good idea to stick to the standard edition if you are considering buying this album.

This album consists of 12 tracks (13 if you have the limited edition), and they are all pretty good (except for Sleeping Under The Stars, which is mediocre). My favorites are No Way, She Likes To Hide, Sisters, Linoleum, and Road Salt. Like I've said earlier, almost all of the songs are good, though.

Conclusion:

Road Salt One is a very unique album by a very unique band, and I doubt I will ever hear another album like it. Even though this album is filled with flaws and blemishes, something about is just so darn charming! I can recommend this release to anybody looking for a one-of-a-kind album, given that they can look past a few setbacks. Just don't go into this album expecting progressive metal of any type; you will be very disappointed! Even though this is far from one of my favorite Pain of Salvation albums, I can't help but give it a recommendable 3.5-4 star rating.

J-Man | 4/5 |

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