Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Pain Of Salvation - Road Salt Two CD (album) cover


Pain Of Salvation


Progressive Metal

3.52 | 382 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars This album was very much a surprise for me. My enthusiasm for Pain of Salvation had been steadily declining ever since hearing the (in my opinion) excellent Be; I liked Scarsick even if it didn't have the same flow as The Perfect Element or Remedy lane, but Road Salt one seemed so tepid and uninteresting to me that I kind of just checked out on Pain of Salvation. I didn't like the new direction any more than I had Opeth's, and I mentally marked the band down as another casualty of the burnout that seems so prevalent among progressive rockers. As a result, I didn't get this album until it was old news. In fact, if not for a random, impulsive Spotify listen, I probably wouldn't have gotten it at all.

Fortunately for me, though, I did. This is, in my opinion, the best Pain of Salvation album since Remedy Lane (and this is even coming from someone who liked Scarsick a whole lot). While it doesn't return to the pure progressive metal of their earlier work and instead stays firmly within the kind of throwback-rock that the band debuted on Road Salt One, the second installment of the series has something that the first did not: better songs. No, there isn't anything that's been drastically changed since part one, but the songwriting is simply much stronger here. Where the rockers on part one just didn't rock that hard, here we have killer tracks like "The Deeper Cut" and "Mortar Grind" that are raw and heavy and let Daniel Gildenl÷w make full use of his considerable vocal talents. As a result, all of the music sounds much more passionate and full, and the songs come off as great songs in their own right instead of just interesting homages.

The softer tracks have improved considerably, as well. Where the ballads in part one seemed to me to be overly melodramatic and even twee (I'm looking at you, "Road Salt") the music here sounds much more genuinely emotional, with tracks like "1979" featuring some of the most passionate singing Mr. Gildenl÷w has ever recorded and some truly beautiful and delicate piano. There's a level of subtlety and sophistication in the songwriting here that seemed absent on part one, and as a result this album doesn't suffer from the lulls that killed its predecessor for me.

The other great strength of the album is the variance in the music. There's certainly a throwback flavor to most of the music here, but there's also a touch of the modern to balance out its vintage sensibilities. You'd never mistake something as darkly gritty as "Mortar Grind" for a genuine release of the period, and the music in general feels much more genuinely original on this album than on part one. The prog factor has been upped as well, with the "Road Salt Theme" and "End Credits" giving the album a cinematic, conceptual sense of circularity. There's even a bona-fide long track, "The Physics of Gridlock," which I think can safely fit in with some of the best material PoS has ever written.

Overall, then, Road Salt Two is a powerful statement that good songwriters will be successful no matter what style they choose to write in. The disappointment I felt at Pain of Salvation's "new style" after Road Salt One has been replaced with the realization that one misstep does not mean a band is suddenly "in decline" or "burned out." To anyone who has stopped following Pain of Salvation or let them fall by the wayside of your musical taste, I would highly recommend you check this album out. It's a very solid piece of work.


VanVanVan | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this PAIN OF SALVATION review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives