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Pain Of Salvation - Scarsick CD (album) cover


Pain Of Salvation


Progressive Metal

3.21 | 564 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Underrated Album

"Scarsick" gets a lot of flak from PoS fans, quite often to the point of ridicule. I liked this album on my first listen, and it's a different take on their prog metal sound. Not sure why the level of hatred, but I do know this: PoS produced four brilliant prog metal albums, but it's clear they are out to mix it up from now on. So if you are upset because this album sounds different, better get over it.

The title track starts the album with a largely mellow and spacey feel, punctuated with heavy bursts and periods of Daniel rapping. Yes. Fans of old PoS brace yourselves. "Spitfall" actually goes farther, with Daniel again rapping for much of the song, (laced with profanity) and this time backed up by some nu metal. Weird at first, but it works well enough. Maybe that's just because I used to listen to RATM back in the day. If you can tolerate it, these rap metal sections are contrasted with some normality.

Cribcaged is an intriguing song, musically really cool. Truly progressive and builds from light and melodic to a pounding climax. Gildenl'w gives us quite a juxtaposition, his vocals are quite nice while belting out amazingly profane lyrics blasting our materialist society. They quite literally follow a "f**k the (x)" and "f**k (y)" format. I do like the song for what it is, but it's hard to swallow.

"America" is my favorite song on the album and it could be right off one of their classic albums. A more traditional prog metal song with a really cool song structure, great texture, very upbeat and catchy. Don't be fooled, the song is a scathing critique of American Imperialism, government, foreign policy and culture. To each their own, and I honestly agree with most of it. Though the bit of America's time in the sun being up, soon to join the failed empires of past is not earth shattering and frankly, unnecessary. The almost happy pop feel to it has to be a more subtle shot at big money American culture I am sure. Regardless, this is an awesome and catchy song.

"Disco Queen" another song that on first listen makes you think "what the hell!?" but this is my next favorite on the album. A spacey song with sections of, well disco. It does build to an energetic metal climax though. Honestly, I like the sounds like stupid fun and is certainly progressive! This is obviously satiric, poking fun of disco but also serves as a vehicle to the lyrics, a critique of useless celebrity disco actually fits best.

"Kingdom of Loss" is another building song that really is quite moving. Again you can either revel in or ignore the blatant anti American lyrics. I'll choose the middle ground and say this is a powerful and pretty dark song.

"Mrs. Modern Mother Mary" is a weird song that doesn't do much for me. "Idiocracy" is another spacey, atmospheric and crescendo based song. Post metal feel in a way. Another grower. Another charged song, dealing with capitalism ruining the world, basically. "Flame to the Moth" is a boring song, so skip to the finale "Enter Rain" another journey of peaks and valleys. It's structure, light/heavy interplay and emotional delivery really is reminiscent of post metal. Another awesome and powerful song, that takes some time.

So there you have it. What to say about Scarsick? Keep an open mind. When you hear the nu metal rapping with childish lyrics, the happy pop, the disco don't scoff and decide to hate this album. Remember this is Daniel Gildenlow, don't take it on surface value! Dig deeper and realize these abnormalities are more tongue in cheek and used to aid the message. All this is fit within a prog metal framework, one that is truly progressive...with difficult song structures. While it may just seem like crap at first, this is really a very challenging album, one that took a few listens for it to really register for me. The lyrics are one mans opinion and not an issue for me, though they do wear thin, and border on immature and whiny. Frankly, sometimes it sounds like an angry 14 year old wrote them, and when Daniel asks us to keep the government from doing their horror and ruining the constitution, I'd ask how a 16 year old who can't vote should do that...but I digress. Not sure if Gildenlow was low on ideas and spun his tires a bit, but he clearly dug deep to a place of severe anger and it shows, this is an emotional and powerful album.

A unique prog metal album that is challenging, especially to fans of classical PoS. Give it some time and understand not to accept it all at face value and you will find this is a great album. Many seem to not get it, or don't even want to, but if you like prog metal and keep an open mind there's no reason this won't click eventually.

Four Stars

JJLehto | 4/5 |


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