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

ROAD SALT TWO

Pain Of Salvation

 

Progressive Metal

3.56 | 288 ratings

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daslaf
3 stars Pain of Salvation is one of those bands you don't know what to expect with every new release. Each one of their albums features different styles, but, looking at the big picture, the PoS progressive trademark sound hadn't changed until last year when they took a different edge with Road Salt One. And Road Salt Two comes as a not big surprise to be honest. There's a lot of chuggy and bluesy guitar riffs, mellow ballads, catchy melodies, awesome drumming, raw 70's-wannabe production and ambiental organ on the background. Everything we had in the previous part of Road Salt is still there, but don't get me wrong, this is a completely different album.

"Road Salt Theme" sets up the mood that will prevail through the whole album. Yes, this record sounds pretty "oriental" (sorry but I couldn't find a better word to describe it) which ain't something strange for these guys, Remedy Lane had some of this "oriental" sound too in Chainsling. We all know Daniel Gildenlöw's amazing song writing skills, I mean, he knows how to bring back old melodies, re-use ideas in a different way and include all of these without sounding forced. Daniel pulls it off again in "Softly She Cries", throwing back the theme from a previous song, as he did on the Perfect Element Part I with the Chorus of Ashes. The following track, "Conditioned", is pretty catchy, the Introduction riff sounds a lot like Jimi Hendrix to be honest and by the last chorus there's a dense atmosphere that reminds me a bit of Scarsick. After a decent start we get to the first really interesting song of the album: "Healing Now". Now, this sounds like old Pain of Salvation to my ears, not in the musical content per se, but the structure, the build up and the climax is old school PoS at its best. "To The Shoreline" is a nice constructed tune with a poppy chorus, a lot of variations in each section and amazing drumming by Leo Margarit. Daniel's vocals are great as always.

Pain of Salvation goes Deep Purple? Who would have thought that! Well, they did it in "Eleven". This particular track has an intense and dark atmosphere that contrasts pretty well with the Grand Funk Railroad-ish progressive interlude. "1979" comes clearly as a variation of the Sisters' theme, from the previous album. Wait! Is that an Oboe? Sounds cool and... WAIT! Are those electronic drums? Well I guess it works. The next song called "The Deeper Cut" is another highlight of Road Salt Two. The formidable drum work by Margarit stands out again, his playing reminds me a lot of drummers like Ian Wallace, Michael Giles and maybe Phil Collins when he was on Brand X. I'm not going to talk about "Mortar Grind", since it appeared in the Linoleum EP. I've been comparing both versions and it seems that this one is some sort of different mix, there's completely identical stuff, such as a couple of really complex drum fills but there's some organ missing here and there, and the screams seem to be less annoying. Yes, they are bloody annoying.

"Through the Distance" is a little, discreet and sweet ballad, a kind of unusual ballad for PoS to be honest. Well, I guess I have to say Road Salt Two is an unusual album by PoS standards. "The Physics of Gridlock" is one of those songs you might think they didn´t use on Scarsick, just change the guitar distortion, put some power chords on the chorus, add some screams and give the drums a metal approach and there you are. Let's be fair, this is another great song, the mood changes a lot after the Chorus. That kind of instrumental section that screams for a vintage organ solo (and never gets one) and the wild-west following part makes a huge contrast, but a good constrast in the end. "End Credits" is a nice way to finish the album, bringing back the Road Salt Theme in mysterious and unexpected ways, worth of a Disney remake of Aladdin.

Finally, Road Salt Two is a pretty good album, the arrangements are top-notch, we have powerful songs with catchy choruses, a couple of emotional ballads, bordering the cheesy though, one hell of a drummer, and a nice blend of styles that you might think it won't work at first, but the result is clever and well executed. I miss, though, the presence of a prominent bass player, especially now that these guys are taking the 70's road. Fredrik Hermansson sounds weaker with every new PoS album, he's a good piano player and his work in this album borders the mediocre. I guess it's not his fault by the way, since Daniel is the guy who writes the music (and most of times I think he writes every freakin note) and cuts the cake. After all I've said, Road Salt Two is a very good rock album, but with just three or four purely progressive songs out of twelve, it's difficult to give this one a higher rate than three stars.

daslaf | 3/5 |

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