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Pain Of Salvation - One Hour By The Concrete Lake CD (album) cover

ONE HOUR BY THE CONCRETE LAKE

Pain Of Salvation

Progressive Metal


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Greger
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars PAIN OF SALVATION are a Swedish Progressive Metal band that sounds like a mixture between DREAM THEATER, FAITH NO MORE and QUEENSRYCHE. This is their second CD, but their debut album "Entropia" has up 'til now only been released in Japan on the Avalon label. Now it's finally available for the rest of the world with its re-release on the InsideOut label. "One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is a concept album with intelligent lyrics. The story is too long and complex to be told here, but it's about subjects such as the environment, the military industry, the global water consumption and nuclear weapons, power and how it's all connected to each other. The highlights are: - "Inside", with many instrumental passages, rhythm changes and powerful vocals. - "Handful Of Nothing" and "Water", dealing with the global water consumption. - The epic masterpiece is the dark "Black Hills", with its mixture of incredible heavy electric guitars and acoustic guitars, and a wonderful instrumental passage. - The dramatic "Shore of Serenity" that reminds of QUEENSRYCHE, and the closing track "Inside Out". The musicians are maestros on their instruments. A special mention to Patrik Larsson who have done the wonderful front cover. A very thought-out and musically enjoyable album that has an important message to tell. Highly recommended!
Report this review (#5242)
Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars With their unique sound, Pain Of Salvation recaptures and revitalizes the spirit of dark, heavy, prog-influenced rock that was shared by Queensryche and Fates Warning during their glory days. "One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is a magnificent and creative album that derives its depth, heaviness, and emotional impact from strong compositions and performances rather than abrasive noise, rote headbanging, or unnecessary instrumental intricacy. This makes it relatively accessible despite its intensity and the absence of instantly-memorable hooks.

The songs are outstanding, genuinely engrossing compositions, with textures ranging from delicate keyboard dances and orchestral lines to imposing, muscular choral vocals, pounding power-metal guitar, splaying Satriani-ish guitar leads, and even a brilliant combination of mellow Queensryche-ish balladry and Helloween-ish speed-metal drumming... there's just something in the album that will melt the hearts of everyone who still harbors a love for majestic, thoughtful, ambitious hard rock. Indeed, for such listeners, "One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is an enormously rewarding hour and should not be overlooked.

Report this review (#5245)
Posted Thursday, July 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
billyshears'67
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The explanation behind the odd title to this album is this...Karachay, a lake in Kyshtym, Russia, was contaminated with nuclear waste in 1957 because of a cooling tank in the Urals failed and gave way to waste being dumped into the lake. After the spill, evacuation of 270,000 inhabitants occured and it was said that if someone were to spend an hour on the shore of this lake it would cause death within the lapse of a couple of weeks.

The subject matter within this album, is as usual for this band, topical, revolving around humanity's relationship with the environment and the affects of our actions that affect others that we wouldn't think would be affected. Daniel Gildenlöw penned some very emotive and effective lyrics and with the addition that Gildenlöw believes so much that music can change the world, really assists the honest ferocity of the music.

This album is much darker than "Entropia" and isn't as obvious as either. It takes several listens. They succeed in "The Big Machine" by producing the effect especially with the vocals, that they're actually workers in a machine. "Black Hills" has one of the most impressive and enjoyable vocal performances I've heard. "Shore Serenity" contains some very haunting and interesting vocal passages. "Inside Out" the last song on the album is absolutely gut wrenching.

This is an album for compassionate lovers of music of all hues and textures, for humane spirits.

Report this review (#5246)
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's the second album from the Swedish progmetal band, Pain of Salvation. After releasing a phenomenal debut "Entropia" two years before, they're back with a stronger concept album. The songs are well-composed and well-structured. The track "Handful of Nothing", "Water" or "Home" are some examples. They are cleverly out of mainstream where people always connect any progmetal bands with Dream Theater. They have their own style. This album is good enough for completing your prog rock/metal collections.
Report this review (#5247)
Posted Monday, August 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars PAIN OF SALVATION - One Hour by the Concrete Lake

This is a great music which conveys an important issue! If you care nothing of the global issues of war and irresponsible use of our earth's resources, the music itself offers vast amount of great progrock musical moments.

Daniel Gildenlow is probably the greatest singer in the contemporary progrock world. Not only he has a remarkable voice and great range, he uses his voice as a musical instrument which really inseparable to the unity of the music. He knows when to hit high notes, when to growl or when to deliver dramatic narration. No vocalist has done that before! Elsewhere I read that he was nicknamed as Josh Groban of progrock, I guessed it has a lot of truth in it.

The first time I played this CD, I fell in love with the music just within the first few seconds. Some says that Pain of Salvation sounds almost like Queensryche on the ground that Daniel Gildenlow's tone is much like that of Geoff Tate or a bit like Vanden Plas, particularly during the second track "Inside". To me, PoS is a prog metal band with its own signature, so unique that you will recognize its music in less than one minute.

All the musicians deliver a great technique and musicianship with a lot of fantastic guitar parts and essential keyboard moments. "Water" (track 6) and "Inside Out" (track 11), are probably summed up what is this album has to offer, with powerful yet dynamic vocal delivery, nice time breaks, great keyboards, amazing drumming and guitar playing. These two tracks are my favorite, although I have to admit that -with the exception of the first track, being a mere 0:43 mood-setting track-the other tracks are not too far behind.

Report this review (#5251)
Posted Friday, March 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's a bit funny with this album for my case. The cover is so familiar with me as I heard the band quite sometime ago around year 2000 when some friends of mine were engaged in local classic rock FM radio in my city. Many friends praised this album and tried to seduce me for having a spin or two. I denied it because most friends that promoted this album were coming from metal end of the prog genre which I was not particularly "in the mood" on it. One of the promoters was broadcaster member of a program called Metal Malem Malem (Metal for Night Time) dedicated for headbangers for that FM radio. It's a complete fallacy: seducing me with that kind of strategy. And you know what? By the that time I was in neo prog or symphonic kind of mood and did not favor metal. Time went by and as you know it I have written some reviews of the band's albums: Perfect Element, Remedy Lane, 12:5 and Be - that's enough to say that finally I could buy the music idea of Daniel Gildenlow and his friends. I just bought (last month) this CD for US$ 15 something from our local cd shop with very good prog rock collection: Aquarius Pondok Indah, Jakarta. I'm proud that we, Indonesian prog rockers, have this shop in our country as this shop is the most complete CD and DVD shop, not only in Indonesia but in the region. The range of collection is much much better than HMV, Gramophone, Borders, Towers in Singapore. Well, I'm not promoting the shop as I have no financial interest with them. But they helped me finding good prog albums like PoS, ACT, TFK, etc. Bravo Aquarius man! Who says there is no market for prog in Indonesia? (Btw, this shop even was rebuilt with better building and facilities after it was burn down during 1998 riot. Prog on! Prog life must go on! Yeah . Prog rulez!).

It was tough for me to digest this album despite the fact my familiarity with PoS music. I even consulted with my prog guru down here, Andy Julias, on how to position my ears, particularly my mind, enjoying this what should be a good album? BE, who some people claimed as a very inaccessible album, could go straight into my mind only at second spin and it immediately bought my heart and my mind - blew me away and it still having fair amount of share at my CD player. The first reaction about this album was a kind like an unpredictable music in terms of melody and musical flow as the structure is not straight forward (therefore, it's prog, isn't it?). The other thing that bothered me was the production quality that sound bit rough to my ears - especially on drums and some guitar work. Was it mixing issue? I don't know. On vocal department, it sounded weird to my ears. But that were all the beginning. After the 7th spin (of entire album) I could finally get into the music.

The weird voice of Daniel Gildenlow in most of the songs had even made the music of PoS particular and unique. That's the first thing that made me feel great about this album. The second thing was the staccato style of some rhythm section performed in relatively fast speed followed with Daniel's shout "Yeah!". This has truly characterized the music of Pain of Salvation (PoS). The other things worthy to be mentioned is the composition: the music flows beautifully from one passage to another with a balance of smooth as well as abrupt transition. The music is strengthen with an excellent orchestra that helps the textural aspects of the music harmony. Last but not least is the musicianship. I have to (ouch .. sorry .. I should say "I choose .." as no one force me to say this ..) admit that PoS has talented musicians - all of them! You can sense it through the beauty of their work in all passages of music offered by this album. The other issue that I have, in addition to sound production quality, is the long silent space at track 11 before the voice of Gildenlow returns back. It's too damn long. Nevertheless, it's a recommended album. Keep on proggin' .!

Progressively yours,

GW - Review #321

"I'm awake! I see the mistakes I make. Hiding wounds won't ease the pain. Sleep won't make you whole again. Change the inside ." - "New Year's Eve" (Pain of Salvation). WOW! With this powerful lyrics combined with excellent music, how come you don't have this album in your collection? What thing inhibit you from owning a copy of it? JRENG!

Report this review (#36825)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is an often overlooked album of Pain of Salvation. It is a bit segmented and many of the songs end abruptly, this could be why. It also seems more experimental then any of their later works, though their previous album, "Entropia" may have been more experimental. I think these two have been experiments to establish what they truely want to do. And the results of these experiments have been "The Perfect Element Part I," "Remedy Lane," and "BE." I think in these later albums they know more about what they're doing and know what they want. But these are no reasons to discount "Entropia" or in this case, "Concrete Lake." "Concrete Lake" has many great parts in it, and as a whole, is a pretty good idea. I personally think the songs are less fragmented, and PoS has tryed to make some more solid songs. The songs are still quite heavy in this album, but their are many acoustic passages and folk like parts. My two favorite songs on the album are "Inside" and "Home." These two songs have a great deal of energy and emotion. They have made some very dramatic parts that work well and they continue some of these ideas in later albums. The story is well constucted. It is about a man trying to get out of the machine that is life and society. The ending isn't nearly as dramatic as "The Perfect Element," but it serves it's purpose. It gives good insite onto many of the problem in the world that we can solve. And intends to prove that just one person can make a difference even in a large world. I gave it a four since it is an excellent effort by Pain of Salvation, but definately not their best. It shows how they have evoled and has much experiment in song structures and styles, but it is more concise than "Entropia," both are great albums and should not be ignored simply because their later works may be masterpieces.
Report this review (#43496)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is by far the haviest and the darkest album issued by PoS. It sounds me such dark and heavy that sometimes I can't play the album in the hole. Clearly, for me this is the most difficult PoS's work to digest. The album contains some very good songs such as: "Inside", "New Year's Eve", "Water", "Home" and "Inside Out", while other tracks have also some nice elements. The keybords are a little bit shyer than on subsequent albums. The performance of the band is impressive, the versatile vocals of Daniel, especially on "Inside" are excellent. A solid 4.25 stars.
Report this review (#53479)
Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
AtLossForWords
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The first Pain Of Salvation album that i have chosen to review is one that is not often a subject of conversation. One Hour By the Concrete Lake is Pain of Salvation's least appreciated album. Throughout all of the talk over Perfect Element, Remedy Lane, and of course Be, many forget to critically look at just how good One Hour By the Concrete Lake.

The most recurring notion of this album is the atmosphere. This is the only Pain of Salvation album that lacks a variety of moods, but i only say "lacks" in the most positive way possible. A better way off decribing this album is that it has a relentless cold atmosphere that may scare off or at least be shy to selective listeners. This album is also the most musically complex of the first four Pain of Salvation albums (Entropia, One Hour By the Concrete Lake, Perfect Element Part I, and Remedy Lane). After the atmospheric opener "Spirit of the Land", the next track "Inside" is one of musical complexity and conceptual thesis. The concept of this album is the envrioment and pollution. Not only is this album the most musically complex, but may be the most intellgent. The booklet is lined with notes relating to the songs, and the songs are filled with facts relating to the concept. it is only because of the track "Inside" that i know that since 1990 there have been 93 wars in seventy states around the world. This album was a class effort by Pain of Salvation that can be just as impressive as any other albums by this band when given it's due time.

The production of this album is amazing, in some parts even better that most Pain Of Salvation albums. The distorted guitars are the biggest difference. The distortion is rich and strong, but not overpowering. The tone is clear. The clean guitars do not lack depth, but would be much more authentic if they were acoustic. The drums are creative, but sometimes lack depth. The bass is pretty treble heavy for added clarity, but lacks prescence when the rest of the band is playing. The keyboards are the best from Pain of Salvation, every synth is placed perfectly.

Report this review (#55424)
Posted Tuesday, November 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A social album, one speaking of many social concerns from the government to pejudices against indigenous peoples to the morality of continuous radioactive use. In this way, the album is fairly similar to Queensryche's incorporation of concepts within their albums like Empire. However, I will say that despite the impact of the message, they do come across as typical and very biased. It doesn't seem like it was approached in a way that is more educated manner as we would see on later albums.

Anyways, the music itself is good and exciting, but very typical prog metal, which brings the album down a bit. They perform well, but its not fresh. Better than Entropia in that now they are not afraid to talk about what they want to, but still are reserved with typical, but very well done prog metal sounds.

Report this review (#83634)
Posted Thursday, July 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Their second record has been for some reason usually rather underestimated, especially compared to their highly praised third one. This is most probably the case because it was their most difficult and cumbersome one. But in my humble opinion if "BE" can be considered their masterpiece in Prog in a more general sense OHBTCL has to be considered theirs in prog metal particularly. In fact when dealing with such an exceptional band like PoS it's quite hard to tell which one of their works is superior and which one is inferior since they're all to be rated between 4 and 5 stars. Obviously this ain't my very own impression only and after having reviewed up to now three of their albums I think it's not a bad idea to list up 10 good reasons for the fact that PoS has to be considered one of the best bands in prog metal ever (giving songs from this album here as examples).

1. Even in their heaviest bone-crunching moments they're managing to sound not noisy at all ("Inside","Shore Serenity","Inside Out") and

2. analogically they're never sounding soppy even in their most mellow and gentle moments. ("Pilgrim")

3. They're integrating symphonic and orchestral elements in their music without sounding overblown and pompous at any moment. ("New Year's Eve", "Black Hills", "Shore Serenity")

4. Most of their compositions are quite intricate, but always self-contained and with "feet on the ground" without ever showing any sign of pointless noodling. ("Handful Of Nothing")

5. Many of their songs are expressing most contrary moods and emotions moreover very often in blatantly abrupt manner keeping constantly the listener's attention without becoming too difficult to be enjoyed. ("Handful Of Nothing","Water", "Black Hills", "Inside Out")

6. They're employing stilistic elements of both seminal and modern bands without ever sounding like a blueprint or derivative at all. ("The Big Machine","Handful Of Nothing")

7. The musicians are showing highly virtuoso skills on their instruments without ever loosing themselves into self-indulgent and narcistic solo escapades.

8. With their mastermind Daniel Gildenlöw they're having not only one of the most talented lyricists available and an excellent lead guitarist but as well one of the best lead vocalists (if not the best at all) in this sub-genre with an incredibly huge vocal bandwidth.

9. Their records are always based on highly elaborate and appealing concepts addressing human life directly and revealing a highly intellectual demand. (In this case it's the very important topic of environment and destruction of our planet by mankind.)

10. Each of their albums has its own flair and sounds different from its predecessor and this has been managed by them on constantly high level since their earliest days.

I guess all those points should convince the last disbelievers and ignorants and if not, those ones left are not to be helped anyway and they'll just miss something in their life. Actually if anybody's able to call me any other band fulfilling all of those criteria I won't hesitate to consider it as good as PoS.

After this (hopefully) not too long introduction let's come back to this album here in review without going too much into detail for each individual track (in order not to extend it even further). I've got to say that though being kept throughout in a quite consistent dark mood it doesn't lack any variation at all and moreover it's offering a very versatile mix of different styles. In terms of heavyness compared to their other efforts it's certainly heavier than "TPE Pt.1" and "Be" and kept rather in a more aggressive vein like their debut but the compositions are well balanced by acoustic sections (piano, cello and guitar) being added and the metallic sound never becomes "too much". Only few tracks are mellow throughout like "Pilgrim" for example and "Spirit of the Land" which serves as a short atmospheric introduction. Describing briefly the individual tracks "Inside" dominated by subliminal keyboard textures reveals many tempo shifts and is based on crunchy guitar play. "The Big Machine" basically has a strong mythical atmosphere reinforced by the use of choirs, something I'm not aware from any of their other albums in fact. "New Year's Eve" starts with a brilliant bass line and develops to the most catchy piece on here whereas "Handful Of Nothing" can be considered one of the most intricate tracks they've ever done which most probably needs a couple of spins but offering then a great reward, an absolutely mindblowing one I've to say. "Water" continues after an aggressive intro rather mellow and melancholically but develops into a quite heavy and doomy song after a while whereas "Home" is initially more heavy and becoming almost ballad-esque later on. "Black Hills" sounds slightly depressing in the beginning with dark vocals before more cheerful sections are alternating with more bustling ones. "Pilgrim" is as mentioned above the most mellow one here with a beautiful atmosphere emphasized by the use of cello. This one's nicely supplemented by "Shore Serenity" revealing a highly mystical spirit. "Inside Out" is just another absolute highlight and a perfect closing track of this superb album with heavy guitars, double bass attacks, amazing keyboard sounds and melancholic vocals.

As a summary I can say that even after numerous spins OHBTCL never becomes a boring listen revealing each time newly discovered secrets. There's in fact not one weak track to be found on here and each one is just a highlight on its own. If I can put a point of criticism at all then it's the very marginal one, that the silent section in the last track is a bit too much extended with about five minutes. But this is a really marginal point, not disturbing or annoying at all and certainly not a reason to keep me from giving the full score. Actually one could almost do this with most of their records with the possible exceptions of "The Perfect Element Pt.1" and "12:5" but I'm trying to find a fair balance of 4 to 5 stars-ratings for their works. I can just highly recommend this album to any fan of prog metal as an absolute must-have. On the other hand it might not appeal that much to those ones preferring the more mellow stuff of this band.

Report this review (#95569)
Posted Tuesday, October 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Pain of Salvation's sophomore effort takes a more concise vision musically than its predecessor, the magnificent Entropia. One Hour by the Concrete Lake, while not as mindblowing or diverse as Entropia, is still an excellent album that more than proved that Pain of Salvation wasn't just a fluke and they could consistently write brilliant material. Daniel Gildenlow goes for a more universal message on this album, with the underlying theme in all the pieces being examples of the degradation of the environment and overall he takes a more humane edge on this album than he did on Entropia and to certain extents over their next series of albums. One thing is certain, though, from listening to this album, and that is Pain of Salvation is not a band to take lightly and not a band that strives for uplifting pieces.

Beginning ominously with the lush synthesizers of the instrumental Spirit of the Land, the piece segues into Inside, and one of the main musical themes of the album is the focal point of this piece. From the get go, the intertwining piano and guitar/drum interplay gives a general idea of what style Pain of Salvation is going for on this album. You'll also hear a lot more keyboards than on the previous album almost immediately, which is always a plus and they help create a certain atmosphere. Vocally, Gildenlow doesn't hold back and he really lets everything out from earthly more raspy vocals to passionate falsetto vocals. The Big Machine shows the more hymnal vocal styles whilst being juxtaposed over an exceedingly brooding and heavy riff. It goes right into New Year's Eve, beginning much like Circles on Entropia did with a dark bass riff before the other instruments come into the foray. The delicate guitar arpeggios combined with the light electric piano and the bass riff gives an uneasy atmosphere complimented brilliantly by the overall melodic and yet chaotic mood of the piece. Handful of Nothing begins with some incredible syncopation right below a melodic solo motif. The oddly sounding acoustic arpeggio that brings in the chorus is probably one of my favorite moments on the album.

Water segues right from Handful of Nothing with a crushingly heavy guitar riff, followed by the intense percussion before mellowing out and becoming a lighter, more clean based piece. Delicate mixed vocals also provide a theme for the track. Home begins with heavily syncopated rhythmic interplay as the piano and guitars noodle around before coming to a concise conclusion creating a powerful opening section. The uneasy clean guitar arpeggios in 7/8 also create a tense atmosphere further enhanced by the light and floating keyboards. It ends with a well conceived piano motif and an emotive guitar solo. Black Hills has a relentlessly dreary feel to it (like essentially all of this album), especially with the modulated vocals in the beginning and the teetering guitars that while are subdued let loose and create a tense environment before the strong chorus.

Pilgrim is the "ballad" of the album, comprised of acoustic guitars, violins, and delicate arrangements. It's also where Gildenlow really fires on all cylinders as a vocalist, offering an emotive and passionate vocal performance. Shore Serenity is a short piece before the ending of the album. Musically, it contains intertwining guitar riffs and piano fills with ominous vocals on top. Inside Out is the concluding piece of the album, picking up where Inside left off. The main motif of Inside is repeated here and the power of all the elements of this track really help it have a complete and whole feel. Gildenlow really shines here with a spectacular vocal performance here. There's a nice clean guitar solo in the middle of the piece that offers a nice counterpoint to the onslaught of heavy riffing. The piece ends with a relentlessly heavy riff and unison guitars soloing the main vocal line into a fadeout.

In the end, One Hour by the Concrete Lake, while not as brilliant as Entropia, certainly is an experience that is hard to surpass. The relentlessly heavy atmosphere is a plus but my main complaint with the album (and it's not even a big complaint at all because this album is excellent the way it is) is that it lacks the diversity that Entropia had and that their later albums would have. Still, despite that, I highly recommend a purchase/listen of One Hour by the Concrete Lake. 4.5/5.

Report this review (#96189)
Posted Sunday, October 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One Hour by the Concrete Lake is probably the most derided of the "classic" Pain of Salvation albums. However, I feel that this album has nearly as much to offer as the bands more acclaimed albums, just in a different way to the more well known records of The Perfect Element and Remedy Lane. As with all Pain of Salvation albums, Concrete Lake is a concept album that, in this case, deals with the effects on the environment and people of the weapons industry and irresponsible nuclear waste disposal.

One Hour by the Concrete Lake is different to other Pain of Salvation albums in that the music itself has an inherently bleak character to it pretty much throughout the album and to a far greater degree than the band have created before or since. I suspect that its this bleakness that permeates the record that is partly responsible for driving people away from it as it can be hard going sometimes. This tends to be manifested in a sense that the music is rather homogenous for most of the record, that it lacks any real dynamic change. However I find that this gives the album a life of its own and sets it apart from the other albums that the band has recorded and invites the listener to pay close attention to it to digest what is happening.

This is a rather interesting album that after the airy effects intro of Spirit Of The Land plunges into a very much metal oriented song, Inside, slightly reminiscent of Entropia's opener, !(Forward). it's the bleak outlook of the song and the mirroring of it in the music that sets the tone for the album and continues throughout in a similar manner until we reach the much slower and acoustic led Pilgrim that comes as a real reprieve from the relentless feel of what has come before it. The album ends on a song that shares much with the opener before a lengthy sound effects and odd instrumental section that finishes off the album.

Two things on Entropia that I thought could have been improved on is that Pain of Salvation could have made better use of Hermansson's keyboards, and the vocal harmonies showed a lot of promise that wasn't completely followed up on. One Hour by the Concrete Lake does address this, the keys are more integral to the songs and add greatly to the songs, whilst the vocal harmonies are used more often and tend to highlight certain sections excellently in different ways throughout the album. The musicianship as at an equal level to that of the previous album but this time all the songs are very tightly composed with each instrument woven together to create the whole. The production is also very strong here with each instrument being clear at pretty much all times, something I find very important.

One Hour by the Concrete Lake is a very strong album with no real weaknesses but the relentlessness of its character is only broken by the short song Pilgrim and the clear similarities in the feel of each song means that nothing stands out as being a stunning song. In the end this album addresses the few weak points of its predecessor but fails to deliver any really strong songs or anything that immediately strikes the listener and stays in the memory long after. It's a good album and deserves to be listened to far more than it is but its rather dense and definitely not a good place to start when getting into Pain of Salvation, 4 stars still as its very rewarding to those that persevere.

Report this review (#108902)
Posted Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 4.7 Stars

An enjoyable, consistent, and mostly flawless concept album that grabs you with its dark intensity and doesn't let go. A work of art and one of the most musically interesting albums I have ever in the genre of metal. This is an album where the music doesn't follow a cliché, it doesn't show off (though you can clearly hear how talented these musicians are), and the vocals as well as the music play with pure emotion. Like Scarsick and Remedy Lane, this is one of the most emotional metal albums I possess. That is because of the amazing vocal performance given by this gifted singer, who has a very wide vocal range. Not only that, but in this album, he seems to enjoy overdubbing his voice multiple time, giving epic sweeps of vocalizations that send chills. This album is an example of why he is often considered one of the best vocalists in modern prog. In my opinion, he's the new Peter Gabriel. By the way, the concept is very unique and highly intelligent, though not as sophisticated and philosophical as lets say ... "Be"

Track By Track Analysis:

Spirit of the Land: a very short symphonic arrangement with keyboard to begin the album. It is soaring and beatiful. 9.5/10

Inside: Quite a complicated song for its short duration. It begins with fast piano parts, metal riffs and excellent drumming for one minute, then changes it's rhythm and a softer and more keyboard-oriented section plays which introduces the brilliant first vocal line "was told the pain and hungeeeeeeeeeer was not my fault, How could they be so wrong?". The vocals are nothing short of spectacular here. Then by minute four, there's almost nothing but a soft piano and delicate singing until it gets heavier with Daniel screaming 'till his last cry which is very powerful. Overall, an accessible and well-written piece of art. 10/10

The Big Machine is darker and slower with those intense vocal harmonies sang in low notes. The keyboards are in the background but they really help create a sinister mood while the guitar are at the front playing good riffs. The music takes a turn with the vocal line "What ... if we lose control", though the mood is similar. This leads into a crescendo with a wonderful display of vocals. Daniel is really talented. 9.5/10

New Year's Eve opens with unusual sounding guitars then leads to a more conventional song, though it was one of the hardest to get into for me. The music is relatively simple and contrasts the heavy/soft pretty well. The best part is when it gets into a very beautiful part that has only a nice grand piano and Daniel singing very sweetly until it ends in a majestic tone. Great song. 8.5/10

Handful of Nothing sounds more like a Remedy Lane song at first, with electric rhythm guitar (that never seems to play in 4/4) in a fast-paced manner. Close to minute 2, the guitar riff plays louder while a keyboard make a wonderful chord and later, a simple guitar makes a perfect transition to one of the most mindblowing and unconventional vocal harmonies you will probably ever hear. The rhythmically strange playing continues until the vocal harmony makes a second harmony. The ending is mellower and quite gorgeous. 9.5/10

Water is a song full of melody. The song is generally a very beautiful ballad with some electric guitars an a metal section. The guitar playing here is worthy of notice, Melodic, emotional, and fast (Though not too fast). The refrains are heavenly and focus on vocal harmonies. My favourite part is when the extremely heavy section fades out while the gorgeous chorus fades in. Genius! 9.5/10

Home is more laid back and simple and in my opinion is not as musically interesting as the rest of the album. However, This is by no means a dull track. It is quite pretty, has good vocal arrangements and ends with a great guitar solo. 7/10

Black Hills is my favorites here, because it sounds very unique and has great vocal performances. It features a very heavy and "Native sounding" guitar riff, creepy distorted vocals (unusual for Pain of Salvation), acoustic guitars, and amazing clean vocals of Daniel at his best. The buildup is impressive, with symphonic arrangements, fretless bass, excellent guitar playing and appropiate piano/keyboards. What follows is phenomenal. It is some indian chant in unison with an electric guitar, and then the riff at the beginning is played with a powerful vocal performance and a short but outstanding guitar solo. 10/10

Pilgrim is short but a high point of the album. It has a simple, yet perfectly effective acoustic guitar riff, gentle vocals, and a sweet folk-style chorus. The verses are very dark and there's an instrument that I don't know what it is, but it plays a sort of broken chord that sounds very dismal and gloomy and fits really well. This song serves as a transitional piece 9.5/10

Shore Serenity is another short, soft, and mostly acoustic song, but this one is more symphonic, a bit heavier and has more vocal harmonies. The song ends with nice synth noodling in high notes and a heavy blast of electric guitars. 9/10

Inside Out has to be great: it is the name of the record label! It is: a great song that successfully closes the album in a high note with many recurrent themes of "Inside". There's a very intense and emotional instrumental moment around minute three with guitars in harmony and a guitar solo. A downside: Why does there have to be a fadeout ... in a concept album!!? One point off for that, because the track is perfect. 9/10

Well, what are you waiting for? This is a perfect introduction to the band because it contains all the elements that make Pain of Salvation a creative progressive metal band. It is also their most accessible and coherent album (though I still did not hear Entropia, so I should not make that kind of statement).

Report this review (#112356)
Posted Friday, February 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is their most "Metal' sounding record. A complex and heavy recording that sounds harsh partly due to the production.The production is fantastic in fact it's crystal clear. It just takes a few spins to get used to it that is all. There are so many time signatures in just about every song. Incredible.This is a concept album that isn't easily explained but the main element is how big industry is destroying our enviroment. Even the album title "One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is a sad commentary of how man poisoned Lake Karachay in the former Soviet Union with nucleur waste and that by just standing beside this lake (that is now covered in concrete) for one hour can be fatal.

Things get started with "Spirit Of The Land" which consists of waves of synths that really do represent the spirit of the land. It blends into the next song "Inside" which was voted the best song on a recent Prog Archives poll (by a landslide). Cymbals and fast paced piano are joined by heavy drums and guitars. Vocals a minute and a half in as a flury of keys come and go.The vocal performance here and throughout this album is astonishing. I like the heavy passage before 5 minutes. "The Big Machine" is slow and heavy (aren't they all ?) It has a gothic feel to it as a dark mood hangs over this song. Great tune ! "New Years Eve" sounds amazing ! The drumming and guitar work are outstanding.There is a pastoral passage 4 1/2 minutes in with piano and vocals followed by some incredible sounding synths. This section is quite powerful in an emotional way. "Handful Of Nothing" has machine gun-like drumming, background synths, some aggressive guitar and then vocals.This song feels cold and lacks any warm or organic sound until the last minute which creates a great contrast. "Water" is probably my favourite song followed by "Inside Out" and "Home". I love the soundscapes to open "Water", they stop as tender passionate vocals come in with some almost soaring guitar melodies.The guitars get aggressive but still tasteful 2 minutes in.The intro soundscape is back. Nice. Spoken words followed by vocals as guitars grind away. Waves of synths arrive with a beautiful melody before the intro soundscape comes back.

"Home" opens with a drum and piano combination. The drumming gets quite crazy at times in this uptempo melody.The guitars and gentle vocals sound great ! There are some blistering guitar solos 4 minutes in and again more terrific guitar a minute later. I really like the mellow passages in this song as well. "Black Hills" is a dark and heavy tune with some creepy vocals.There is some light shining through at times as well. Good guitar later. "Pilgrim" doesn't have a lot going on in it as the vocals are almost spoken, although there is some cello in this one. "Shore Serenity" has a nice beat a minute in and some intricate guitar. There is some heaviness later with keys. "Inside Out" is another fantastic tune ! Maybe the best one. It continues where "Inside" the opening track left off. There is a flury of keys that come and go to open as drums pound away in this uptempo melody. The vocals are great ! So is the guitar solo mid way through and the heavy riffs later. It really is a toss up for me between this track and "Water' but if I had to choose i'd pick "Water".

If your into Prog-Metal you probably already own this, if you don't own this yet do yourself a huge favour and get it !

Report this review (#127919)
Posted Monday, July 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A politically heavy concept album featuring a more experimental sound than heard on the band's debut "Entropia". The premise is discussed well enough in other reviews, the subject matter being something the band will return to often in later albums. Although not quite as damning as say, "Scarsick", it does raise some interesting points in a earnest manner which will likely connect with many listeners.

The songs themselves can be somewhat disjointed, and feature a coarse, somewhat depressing sound. Playing is still top-notch, but it does not strike the listener as dynamically as in "Entropia". Still, a great purchase for fans who have come to appreciate PoS's sound through their stronger albums, who will also likely appreciate the lyrical content more than the casual fan.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Report this review (#144599)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Chapeau! Listening to this album I understood why I like prog rock so much. It´s Real Music, every human feeling is there: love, hatred, anguish, fear, wisdom, sensibility... Life is not allways sublime -as in some classic compossers-, not allways a party -as in pop- , not allways threatening -as in some metal subgenres-, not allways strange. It has all of these things together, and PoS shows us with immense intelligence in this delightful stream of music creation. 5 stars.
Report this review (#146121)
Posted Saturday, October 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I will start my special trilogy of POS albums with this one. I will do the debut also one day but I just managed to get hold of that one so I will start with its successor. The other 2 albums in a short while will be Remedy Lane and The Perfect Element

In the time this album was released it was immediately called a new sensation. I got curious because of that and bought the disc. What struck me most about the band and its sound was the vocalist Daniel Gildenlow and the vocals in general. Even though he does most of the vocals on his own (now and then assisted by the rest of the band) it is a constant feel there are more voices involved. This is of course a matter of how it is all mixed in the end but problem of it is: what do you do with live execution ? Well, I have never seen them live so I can't tell but I'm dealing with studio-albums right now so I will comment on that.

I must say: if you have never heard the band before it's all pretty overwhelming what these guys do. I already mentioned Gildenlow but also the rest of the band produce a very interesting sound and then there's also the compositions. Talking about originality: here's an example of how to be original. I think it's fair to say that Pain of Salvation is maybe one of the best if not the best example of PROGRESSIVE metal in the truest sense of the word. And then I mean if progressiveness stands for originality and innovation, the counterpart of cloning as quite a lot of bands tend to do. One thing is for sure: no band sounds like Pain of Salvation, they are very recognizable every time you hear them. This was illustrated when I checked them out with a few other albums of them as well as a lot of other bands on my Mp3. I can tell you: when a POS song takes its turn, you can tell right away and that is not just because of Daniel. I respect this band enormously because of this.

Now the strange thing is: after I also checked out the two successors of this album I got entirely and totally into this band and that lasted for several months. But after that I suddenly lost interest in them, mainly because of discovery of more new bands but also because I all over sudden seemed to be "out of them" just as quickly and easily as I got "into them". I don't know what happened exactly but strangely enough I never touched one of the albums again for a long time (more than 3 years).

It's just now that I forced myself to listen again for the review and I have the feeling the whole thing happens again with of course as big difference that I already know the songs but the appreciation is coming back and I am able to love the music again as it deserves ! Right now I'm listening to the whole album again and again I am overwhelmed. It's a bit of a magical band this Swedish quintet. What I remember of all those years ago is that my favourite songs then were Water, Home and Inside Out. Right now they still are. The other songs are great as well, just a little less. Special note about the semi-acoustic ballad Pilgrim: it contains the famous Gildenlow sentence: The more I learn, the less I know for sure. Significant lyrics !

What is left is the final judgement which can only be one thing for me. That's exactly 4 stars.

Report this review (#159412)
Posted Monday, January 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Pain of Salvation - One Hour by the Concrete Lake 3.5 stars

This is a pretty good album, it seemed like Daniel and his band of brothers set their sights too high for this album.even for a top-brass band like this. In terms of concept.the album is brilliant and would pave the way for future releases that have also been concept pieces.

Since I believe concept is open to interpretation, I'll leave my take on it as short as possible. The background of the concept was a result of Daniel's study of Peacework and Nuclear Physics at the University of Gothenburg that lead to the idea of this concept. Simply the concept is about a man who makes weaponry and questions if his work is moral and what it is doing to society (war and murder). He then tries to break free from the 'machine'.

The line-up on this album is the very consistent and classic lineup until the post-BE era. Most of the music was written once again by Daniel Gildenlow, with some help from other members on a few tracks including the departed Daniel Magdic. Daniel Gildenlow is once again on guitars and vocals, Fredrik Hermansson on keyboard, the newest addition and an excellent versatile one at that, Johan Langell on guitar and vocals, Kristoffer Gildenlow on bass and vocals and finally Johan Hallgren on drums. Johan Langell joined the band just in time for the recording process; he had no implementation on the music.

The sound is a lot darker then the debut album, the tempo is also much faster, especially on some of the keyboard parts. The music features a lot of instrumental passages with electric and acoustic guitars. The big mistake made on this album is too much emphasis on making sure everyone knows it is a heavy conceptual work. There is a lot of repetition in some of the leads and lyrics on separate tracks. On the masterpieces to come, the leads and lyrics were brought back, but altered. The thing was though, you could tell you have heard it before on the album, but it was revised and given a new meaning. Basically, this album didn't have that. Things also tended to get a tad boring in the middle, but the beginning and end of the album were certainly potent with some original and mind boggling stuff. There was also a lot of typical prog-metal in some areas that has been overdone, even at the time of this album.

I guess one could say this album might have been pretentious at the time; they weren't quite ready for this. However, the band was certainly mature enough to still pull off a really good album. I'd recommend this to any die-hard prog-metal fan and any fan of the band should definitely own this. Also, check out the pictures, we have Fredrik Hermansson with long hair and Johan Hallgren with none!!! 3.5 stars, a very good album.

Report this review (#161795)
Posted Friday, February 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the second effort released by Gildenlöw brothers & Company. One hour by the concrete lake is its title and shows us an advance in POS's sound as a band. Interesting rhythm changes go appearing from the begin to the end of the album, very dynamic, with a style very defined (sometimes melodic and some others very melancholic, like in a constant remembrance of the past, but thinking every time to the future), in general terms a record full of good ideas well mixed and because pain of salvation is certainly one of the most innovative bands nowadays in the progressive metal scene and for those who aren't very convinced from my own words about this or simply don't know a lot about these guys, just take a look to its following albums like perfect element, Pt.1 and Remedy Lane (great pieces of progressive music, no doubt!!!).

Personal highlights:

. Inside . Handful of Nothing . Water . Pilgrim

By: Epsilon.

Report this review (#164168)
Posted Monday, March 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Marvellous Pain Of Salvation's second act...

If Entropia was a too eclectic and without a clear direction (it's a great album anyway...), One Hour by the Concrete Lake is fair to its concept, offering a diverse but very well structurated and funny piece of prog metal, full with changes and surprises, but in a clear and personal direction. Every song fit perfectly in the concept, and the sound of the album is homogene the whole time... This was the main problem if always found in the debut album Entropia, and they fixed it perfectly with this second opus.

Mixing the typical Pain of Salvation's jazz influences with some folk elements, and the complex hard riffs parts, Daniel Gildenlow made his first really outstanding performance with his voice... You only have to hear Water, or Pilgrim... I will never be tired of saying this man has the best voice in prog metal ever. Just incredible singing. The rest of the band also makes well... Ok, I never liked the Johan Langell's drum sound, a bit empty and too noisy, but it isn't a big problem anyway. The production of the album is cristal clear, and a special mention deserves the keyboards sound, very well accomplised.

Best songs: New Year's Eve (great guitar melodies...), Water (what a way of singing!), Black Hills (dark, coplex, and complete track...), Pilgrim (the most beautiful Pain of Salvation's acoustic?)... The album is full with good tracks, and except a few dull parts, the level is outstanding. The short lenght also helps to enjoy the full album without avoiding any track.

Conclusion: after the disoriented but very good Entropia, Pain of Salvation perfectionated their style to making their first full conceptual album. Their personal, dark and complex way to understand prog metal is here yet. And even this album doesn't reach the levels of The Perect Element or the masterpiece Remedy Lane, is a great prog metal act. An excellent adition ot any prog collection, without a doubt.

My rating: ****

Report this review (#165761)
Posted Saturday, April 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Following the awkward release of their debut, Entropia, Pain of Salvation here fully embrace the slew of prog metal cliches in favor of a sleeker, more mature, but ultimately much less interesting musical endeavor.

On the whole, really, there is not that much to One Hour by the Concrete Lake (well, overbearing concept aside). At the time of this review, it is the second lowest-rated album by the band, short only of Scarsick, which I find to have a lot more character than this one. At least they took some chances on that one. Here, however, it's very much prog metal by the numbers. The funky bass lines are mostly toned down, the keyboard sound choices are still just as unfortunate, the depth of the production is still fairly shallow, and the quirks that make the previous one awkward but at least interesting only appear at a couple moments here. In the end, really, what we have with this one is a release least representative of the band's music, spirit, or intent.

It opens with a filler intro, which leads to one of the better songs here, Inside. While a mostly typical prog metal sort of piece with a touch of the Patton-esque semi-spoken vocal lines, it still rings fresh enough to not guarantee disappointment early on. The Big Machine is my personal favorite off One Hour, though I can understand why many don't like it. The first half is mostly throwaway. However, in the latter half we have Daniel really stretching his vocal chops, and that's one of the things to love about the band. On its tail comes New Year's Eve, a very straight-up prog piece with a strange time signature, prominent bass, and forgettable melodies. Handful of Nothing sounds like a stilted piece, but then you realize what the rhythm is doing: losing one beat per measure. A clever idea, and not too bad, if it weren't for the fact that the rest of the song does not quite keep up with the ingenuity of the proggy main guitar lines.

Water, Home, and Black Hills all form what seems to me a trilogy of average to slightly below average songs, as they all blend together not just in the space between tracks but in my memory after many, many listens. Standard prog metal they all are, with a few moments of good vocals and probably the silliest vocal line I've ever heard (and I hardly ever pay attention to lyrics): "And we flush, and we flush, and weeeeeeeeeee FLUSH." The rhyme scheme here still makes me so happy inside. The next two tracks are the second highlight of the album for me (Pilgrim and Shore Serenity). Pilgrim is based around a very passionate vocal solo performance by Gildenlow. Shore Serenity is a very convoluted rhythm pattern with regrettable keyboard sounds once more but a fantastic finish. And then the last song occurs, Inside Out (when it features the bonus track as part of it, it appears as being almost 14 minutes long). Rapid-fire piano tinkles above a chugging riff, but in the end, there's not much to recommend it either.

Pain of Salvation has done plenty of weird things and made plenty of mistakes, but I think this one is their biggest, because One Hour by the Concrete Lake is the album where they went for the safer prog metal route rather than tried something new like they do on all their others. Go for any other studio album of theirs rather than this one, even the critically maligned Scarsick.

Report this review (#168661)
Posted Friday, April 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm so glad finally have an experience listening to other Pain of Salvation album, One Hour by the Concrete Lake. And I'm looking forward to having another chance with their other records, even if it's so hard to find it in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

I love PoS merely due to few factors. First, the outstanding vocals delivery, not only the lead vocal by Daniel Gildenlow, but also the backing vocals by other PoS members. Second, the strong musicianship not in term individual solo show off but more in the way they play instrument so that the emotion and message in each song can be delivered effectively to the audiences. Third, the intelligent lyrics mainly written by mastermind Daniel Gildenlow, has depth meaning and with no deviation can express the message he wants to communicate. Fourth, the intellectual concepts deal with social, politics, humanity, nature, and other mature issues, which presented in very classy way. The logical consequence of concept album is the music arrangement of each song must have connection without being too similar between each song although as individual song it must have its own character. And it's a difficult task to do such thing but PoS are very capable of doing that. That's the fifth. Is there anything else I've not mentioned yet?

Now back to the album. I'm quite familiar with the song like Inside and Handful of Nothing because I've already listened to it far before I have the complete album. The keyboard works of Inside and Daniel's screaming in Handful of Nothing always stuck in my mind. And after I finally listened to all songs in this album as a whole, I am really impressed with the flowing of the music. Each track has its own identity for sure but all together builds a unified musical flow, so listen it from the beginning till the end and while doing it you must read the lyrics and feel the passion lives in you. My favorite track goes to Black Hills, it's dark and has a beautiful bass guitar in the instrumentals section, but the rests are very very good indeed. And my CD also contains the bonus track, the touching Beyond the Mirror, its lyrics and music written by Daniel when he was merely 17 years old!

Well, another excellent CD by Pain of Salvation will complete your progressive metal collection. Intelligent lyrics, outstanding vocals, passionate music and political senses concept create such a great CD. I can't wait to have another chance listening to other records by Pain of Salvation.

Report this review (#171083)
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars A NEW DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

(I hope I didn't make a big mistake, since both albums are about the main problems of humanity) Anyway, this album is wonderful, the storyline is thoughtful, based around life is learning (like in Dark Side), and the main carachter learns about the Machines of modern life: war, industry, globalization. At first I didn't like the music because the songs are shorter and more straightforward than on Entropia. But the melodies, arrangements, lyrics, vocals, tempo changes, lyrics again, and the transitions between songs are very memorable and mindblowing! - Anyway, the Machine symbol connects it with Pink Floyd. Water is one of my favourites, very good melody. The vocals on Home are pure and nobel. The low vocals on Black Hills, and Shore Serenety! And what about the long pause before the end? Well, listening to music has two parts: the music and the silence after. Just relax! This is a masterpiece.

Report this review (#180538)
Posted Friday, August 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album is a more personal offering as their debut "Entropia" even if some loudly "Dream Theater" riffs are included in here as well. At least this is not too much of a cloning affair. Daniel Gildenglöw (who shortly collaborated with TFK) is holding the pieces together and is doing quite a good job both on the vocals as on the guitar.

Most songs are a combination between heavy and symphonic prog like during "Water", even if the symphonic parts only last for a short while, unfortunately. Still, it is one of my fave tracks from this album.

Each DT fan should like POS. In essence, they are pretty much similar. But POS has this definite European touch and feeling which is quite remarkable in such a track as "Home" which is one of the highlights. A very special flavour indeed.

The band won't forget to display some gloomy and Sabbath exercise either. "Black Hills" is there to remind us that POS is no pussycat type of bands. Heavy and metal are genuine here. But progressiveness is not alien either. A good combination.

Prog metal is of course not my fave genre, but this Swedish band has a definite and special sound. As Led Zep, they also combine the most heavy tracks with some acoustic ones ("Pilgrim").

Another great number is the closing Inside Out which again combines brilliantly these heavy music sounds and the melodic ones. The guitar work is incredible and this wall of music quite astonishing. Another highlight.

Three stars for this good album..

Report this review (#181977)
Posted Sunday, September 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars One Hour by the Concrete Lake is my favourite Pain of Salvation album.

The concept is based on topics, that are very important in our lives: war, pollution of the environment... They are both expressed on a very high artistic level. The heavy riffs are mixed with soft acoustic parts, but the typical bitterness of PoS is being presented during the whole album. In addition Daniel Gildenlöw' dominance makes itself felt, which is very good in my opinion. The contrast of the feelings is traceable all along in his vocals. We can also hear good musical performance from other musicians of course.

This landmark of progressive metal deserves five stars.

Report this review (#198538)
Posted Monday, January 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'One Hour By The Concrete Lake' - Pain of Salvation (6/10)

First off, let me say that this album is very well composed; better than three stars is worth... The music and performances are top notch and the lyrics are among some of the most intelligent that Gildenlow has written. There is great progression here, great flow, and excellent songwriting. So, why does this album not have five stars? To be quite honest, I'm not sure.

To take a stab at the possible reason I can't bring myself to give this album the extra stars, I might say it's the lack of emotional impact. My mind is plenty stimulated by the complexity and thought-provoking nature of the album, but I don't find myself truly, deeply moved by the music. There is an incredible amount of emotion in Pain of Salvation's other works (most notably Remedy Lane) but this one just seems a bit dry. Even this album's predecessor 'Entropia' blew my mind and emotionally gripped me. Although progressive metal isn't generally thought of as an emotive genre, I've come to expect Pain of Salvation (one of my all time favourite bands) to evoke a certain level of sentiment in me. This album simply doesn't.

Another reason could be the rather bland production quality itself. You can hear the instruments just find, but the music sounds like it pouring through a small corridor. Although it's forgivable due to the fact they were still a relatively new band (Pain of Salvation wouldn't find widespread recognition until 'The Perfect Element') it makes no sense that the sound quality on this album is much worse than their debut. 'Entropia' harboured a great sound, and had top notch production. This album lacked the inspiration.

However, despite all this criticism, believe me when I say it is a great album. It's complex, highly musical prog and any fan of the genre should appreciate this album. Overall, it's shortcomings don't deter from an altogether good musical experience.

Report this review (#202559)
Posted Thursday, February 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Ecological Concept Album Showcases Genius at his Creative Best

One Hour by the Concrete Lake is one of my favorite Pain of Salvation albums. (Unlike most fans I prefer the two before TPE to the two after by quite a margin.) The story behind this one concerns a weapons manufacturer who travels the world, seeing the impact of mankind (and his weapons) upon the environment. This climaxes in his visit to the concrete lake, a body of water in Russia so polluted that one hour at its shore is enough to cause fatal radiation poisoning. I realize that I'm a sucker for the subject matter, but I think it's more focused than perhaps any of Gildenlow's storylines. While certainly ambitious, the story doesn't over-reach as DG is prone to do, and the intensity of the music matches the theme quite well.

More importantly, the music is just great. Contrast of light and dark, low harmonies, odd time signatures, a variety of vocal tonalities, all the things we love about Pain of Salvation are here on full display. The riffs really rock, the solos are strong, and the melodic lines are interesting. "Black Hills" is a prog metal masterwork, and throughout the album there are moments that make me want to say "Now that's what I'm talking about!!!" Other highlights include "Shore Serenity," "Water," and in typical fashion Gildenlow gives us a grand exit with "Inside Out."

My only complaint with the album is that some of the instrumental tones, especially the drums, sound a bit low budget. There are some bass drum beats that sound triggered or programmed (and a bit cheesy), and the guitar tone can get a little fuzzier than is my taste. But unlike Remedy Lane where the tone problems distract me from enjoying the music, here it's more of a minor detail that I'd improve if given the chance, no more. At the same time, some of the tones are perfectly chosen, and there are some sonically overwhelming sections that sound perfect.

This is, in my opinion, PoS 2nd best album, and I am tempted to give it a masterpiece rating. I heartily disagree with those (including Gildenlow himself) that put Concrete Lake at the bottom of the PoS discography. And yet, in the context of the bands full work, there is clearly some growth and improvement yet to come. But I think it's a must for prog metal fans, certainly excellent.

Report this review (#217022)
Posted Thursday, May 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars 2nd release? Still a MASTERPIECE!

One Hour by the Concrete Lake is the second full-length album of the Swedish band. Pain of Salvation, after the release of an excellent debut, continue to compose and perform excellent music.

The band is now mature and uses all his wisdom to compose a beautiful concept. Daniel Gindenlow, who writes the music for this album too, narrates an ecological concept, that has to do with the environment's pollution and its gradual disaster. The album's atmosphere and the tracks' cohesion are marvellous. All this is attainted by a variety of elements: The out of space voice of Daniel, the absolutely awesome guitars, the new member, Johan Hallgren, excellent guitarist and character, the fantastic rhythm section of Johan and Kristoffer and, finally, the always beautifully arranged keys of Fredrik. The band continues to have its unique style of its own music. The production is perfect. It's clear from the beginning that some defects that were noticed at Entropia's production, are all absent now. Everything is perfect...

Pain of Salvation continue to surprise, continue to create, continue to redefine the Progressive's meaning. They stabilize themselves through the Masters of Prog and promise an excellent and full of beauties, career.

This album proves that the band is on its pinnacle and this will go on until nowdays. 5 stars! Nothing less, nothing more!

Report this review (#222333)
Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars One Hour By The Concrete Lake is just a prog masterpiece. A great progressive metal album, with many style and rhythm changes.

It's really unbelievable that this is their second album. If someone heard the album for the first time, maybe would say that they are an old band with long history, but the real is that their are really young. Great rhythm changes as well as the orchestration.

Daniel influenced for many of the vocals on the album from Faith No More. Hallgren did great great job and for me this album make me say that Hallgren is one of the best prog drummers. The vocal melodies were beautiful, Johan and Daniel made a great duet.

It's an album that saw me many things about how progressive is. 5 stars because for me is a real masterpiece of progressive music.

Report this review (#238045)
Posted Tuesday, September 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Underrated

Out of the first 5 Pain of Salvation albums, One Hour by the Concrete Lake is the only one that their fanbase doesn't always appreciate. The three albums that follow the band's second effort are all 5-star masterpieces in my book, and their debut album is often said to be one of the most original debut albums in prog metal. So where does this album fall?

Well, for those reasons I just mentioned, One Hour by the Concrete Lake is often forgotten about by Pain of Salvation fans. It's not as polished as their next three albums, it's not as innovative as their debut, so by default it must be a bad album, right?

Wrong. One Hour by the Concrete Lake is an excellent, almost perfect album in my opinion. By this point Pain of Salvation was a more mature and developed band than they were on their debut, and it definitely shows. The songwriting is top-notch, they had defined their unique take on prog metal, and they had almost perfected their formula.

To be honest, my only real complaint with this album is that I have some minor problems with the production. Sometimes the production can sound rather low budget and a little cheesy (particularly in the drum department). The drums sometimes sound too artificial for my tastes, but I wouldn't complain too much. The production is still powerful, even though it doesn't really appeal to me. I've definitely heard some albums that have been produced far worse than this.

THE MUSIC:

"Spirit of the Land"- The first song on the album is a haunting synthesized keyboard chord progression. Very dark and emotional, and it accurately sets the tone for the rest of the album. An excellent opening piece.

"Inside"- The prelude fades into the opening of this song. A fast and intriguing piano melody with excellent drum rhythms creates an excellent opening. The mood turns darker for a short while, but a memorable keyboard section with a light bass and drum rhythm section lead into the first vocal part of the album. This entire part of the song is excellent and wonderfully crafted. Daniel Gildenlöw delivers an excellent vocal performance, and the highlight of most of this song is the excellent keyboard tones and playing from Frederik Hermansson. This is filled with excellent progressions, transitions, melodies and everything in between. This is one of the best songs from the album.

"The Big Machine"- The third song opens up with a mid-tempo guitar riff. It progresses into a nice verse with good instrumentation. The chorus to this song sounds like something off of an operatic power metal album. The vocals are really what give it this feel. Low, opera-like vocals. The ending is epic and symphonic with powerful vocals. This is a good song, but this is not one of the standout tracks of the album.

"New Year's Eve"- This opens up with a dark, low guitar melody. When Daniel's vocals enter, it goes from dark and heavy to light and melodic. This goes into fast prog metal riffing and successfully builds back into the verses. This is a perfect example of excellent transitions in music. When you think the song can't get any better, a beautiful symphonic section enters. The vocals are extremely powerful, and I absolutely love how Daniel sings in this section. It progresses back into the dark sections that opened up the song, and it is followed by another excellent transition! This is one of the best songs of the album and it's 100% perfect from beginning to end

"Handful of Nothing"- Much of this song sounds very much like power metal, mainly because of the production of this album. This song is mostly based on a drum rhythm and a few chords. While this really comes across as shallow at first, after multiple listens the beauty of the song shows. The chorus is excellent, and the vocals particularly shine. The beautiful melodies and memorable riffs are more than enough to intrigue me.

"Water"- This song is possibly my favorite from the album, as it's filled with beauty, intensity and emotion. It opens with a rather heavy riff. A light guitar chord progression enters soon after. Daniel's vocals are beautiful right here and they seamlessly progress into a beautiful guitar solo. This builds powerfully into a light, yet heavy, prog metal section with excellent synth and guitar soloing. This leads itself perfectly into an emotionally-driven chorus. The vocal harmonies are perfect, and this is one of the highlights of the album. The climax of the song is dark and heavy, with fast drumming and dark keyboards. This slowly fades away into the beautiful acoustic chorus seamlessly. This is one of the best Pain of Salvation songs, and it's even better in the context of the album.

"Home"- This song opens up with piano and guitar melodies against a bass drum. It suddenly turns into a climatic symphonic metal section with fast and frantic metal riffing. Just as suddenly as it started, it ends and a lush acoustic guitar melody enters. It sounds somewhat like a ballad with the beautiful vocal melodies. The chorus is excellent, and as usual, the superbly crafted vocal harmonies stand out. The climatic intro enters, and it progresses fantastically into a light electric piano section. The guitar solo is excellent, and it serves as a perfect transition into the final vocal section.

"Black Hills"- I've got to be honest when reviewing an album, and I must say this is not one of the better songs of the album. This whole song often seems to be lacking in emotion and the powerful dynamics that make most of the album excellent. The chorus, while it is memorable, is disjointed and flawed. Much of this song is lacking in dynamics. This is still a decent song, though I find it a little bit boring. This still isn't a terrible song, though.

"Pilgrim"- This opens up with a light and haunting guitar chord progression and quiet vocals from Daniel Gildenlöw. This song builds excellently and is powerful without using any complex instrumentation. The string section really adds another layer to the music, and their melodies contrast each other perfectly. This is a beautiful song.

"Shore Serenity"- A dark and fast piano melody using odd time signatures opens up the song. A fast and dark guitar melody and low vocals enter. Parts of this song have kind of an operatic feel, mostly vocally. The outro is climatic and powerful.

"Inside Out"- The last song on the album uses the same theme presented in the first song throughout. It opens with dark and heavy metal riffing with a fast piano melody. It progresses well into the dark, gothic-tinged chorus. The song, while listed at around 12 minutes, is really only 6 and a half. The rest is mostly silence, and a quiet section reminding me of Pilgrim. Let me just say that those 6 minutes are really epic. It is generally in a dark, almost gothic mood, but there are epic symphonic sections along with beautiful melodies. This song closes the album concisely. This is a really great way to end the album.

Conclusion:

One Hour By The Concrete Lake is a really underrated album by Pain of Salvation. It's really a shame many fans, and even Daniel Gildenlöw himself, don't appreciate this album very much. I think this is an excellent and well-crafted prog metal album. I don't think it ranks up with the three following albums from Pain of Salvation, but this album definitely holds it's own. I will award this album with a 4 star rating. This is a highly recommended album from me!

4 stars.

Report this review (#263549)
Posted Saturday, January 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album, it's amazing obviously, is quite different than their first. The songs are shorter, the music is darker, and it is more of a metal album.

The concept is easier to understand and, again, it agress with me. Yay :).

The story is based on a guy who used to make guns, then stopped making guns, started blaming himself for murder (guns don't kill people, people do and sometimes monkeys do...if they have a gun - Eddie Izzard), starts to look at dumping grounds for toxic waste which is poisoning people's water, goes to a lake that was blocked up with concrete, stays there....dies I think. Basically.

1. Spirit Of The Land - Nice intro.

2. Inside - The soundtrack to my life. This song is one of my favourite songs of all time. No comment.

3. The Big Machine - Reminds me of Disney for some reason. Great chorus and amazing vocals and music from all the band. :)

4. New Years Eve - Very dramatic and some amazing hooks and vocals from Daniel. Amazing and very epic.

5. Handfull Of Nothing - This song is better live in Ending Themes, for some reason. Again dynamics and syncpated beats at the max (Meshuggah...listen and learn!!) This is the Stress of this album, I believe.

6. Water - Very ballady. Very nice and quite epic at places.

7. Home - Another ballady song. It's not the same as Water, they both are very different, but Home is more of a ballad, if anything, although Pain Of Salvation do believe Used to be a ballad.

8. Black Hills - Epic...very epic. What do you expect...it's Pain Of Salvation.

9. Pilgrim - A more folky song. There's always one.

10. Shore Serenity - There's alot happening in this song, even though it is one of the shorter tracks. Very impressive and some great catchy moments.

11. Inside Out - Incredibly epic and amazing way to end the album. Astonishing my dear man. Fetch the mop...

CONCLUSION - Darker but also more easier to listen to. But it, or else...I'll push you off a cliff.

Report this review (#265222)
Posted Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I've heard of Pain Of Salvation long before registering an account here at Prog Archives, but I was honestly surprised by how much attention their output had received here over the years. It's great that my fellow countrymen have had such a success outside of the homeland because they have been virtually unknown here in Sweden! For example, as far as I know, they never had a sold-out performance here in Stockholm although they usually play at small venues. When I saw them at Sweden Rock Festival 2008 the band had an hour slot between 2:00 and 3:00 PM at Zeppelin Stage which is the smallest of the four stages at the festival. Just for comparison Coheed & Cambria played their show an hour later at the Festival Stage which is the biggest stage at the venue.

It's not that I'm complaining, in fact I really enjoyed all of their excellent live performances that I've had the privilege of attending over the years. The private settings of these shows have in fact so far enabled us, the fans, to feel as if we are a group of the chosen few and every new Pain Of Salvation concert is basically another reunion between us and the band.

Hopefully this might put the band's choice of competing at the Swedish qualifications for Eurovision Song Contest in a whole new perspective. After all some exposure on national Swedish television will probably only do them good!

The Perfect Element Part I was my introduction to the band which I almost immediately followed up with this release due to the fact that Remedy Lane was not yet released at that particular point in time. This second album showed an already well-developed lineup with a lot of potential. The music here is you standard Pain Of Salvation material with an emphasis on their metal side. There are even slight hints of power metal featured on Handful Of Nothing but it all falls, for most part, within the context of the band's established sound and never seems out of place.

Still to this day I'm somewhat uncertain about my feelings towards One Hour By The Concrete Lake. Although Daniel's vocals are very emotional they rarely manage to get through to me in the same way as they do on the band's later works. On the plus side the album has an interesting concept and most of the compositions are strong especially the powerful conclusion track Inside Out which has always been my personal favorite off this record.

There is a hidden track at the end of the album but I rarely have the patience of sitting though 5 minute of silence before getting to it and it's great that non of their later releases feature this unnecessary feature.

***** star songs: Inside Out (6:37)

**** star songs: Inside (6:12) The Big Machine (4:21) New Year's Eve (5:37) Handful Of Nothing (5:39) Home (5:49) Black Hills (6:33) Pilgrim (3:17) Shore Serenity (3:13)

*** star songs: Spirit Of The Land (0:43) Water (5:05)

Report this review (#267255)
Posted Saturday, February 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Pain Of Salvation's second album has some great and memorable moments that sound like "Classic" POS, and definitely there are a lot of great concert highlights(I haven't seen them live yet unfortunately). But it's still an immature album, without some effectively powerful and mature moments. However, songs like "Pilgrim" which is one of the bands best ballads, "The Big Machine", which is a dark and truly effective song, make this album excellent, but still, like I said, it's still immature and not so great to be defined as a masterpiece. But we're close. Recommendable for whoever loves prog metal, like I do. Enjoy!
Report this review (#279427)
Posted Monday, April 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Pain of Salvation's second album presents a lot of general grousing about the state of the world today - backed up, at points, by statistics the band literally read out loud during the songs - whilst offering little coherent to suggest what may be done. With its running time artificially constrained to exactly 1 hour in keeping with the title, the band's darker and more hard-edged take on the Dream Theater sound is appealing, but here is compromised by the rather clumsy delivery of the points they wish to make. Ultimately, if they wanted to disseminate a bunch of facts, they could have just written a pamphlet or produced catchy and memorable protest songs instead of an oblique concept album.
Report this review (#634146)
Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions Team
2 stars I'm a bit, I don't know, bewildered I guess it's the word, with this album. The first Pain Of Salvation album, Entropia (1997), was indeed rough, but it's compositions were full and ready to go and promissed a bright future for them (which they did have). With One Hour by the Concrete Lake (1998) it seems the band didn't have time to mature their ideas and it shows on almost every track. On top of that the production sounds really amateur. On their first album producer was Midnight Sun's Anders Theander, this time the band produced it themselves and it shows.

One Hour by the Concrete Lake (1998) feels like a demo, and if a new listener would start with this band they would go away, right away. One Hour by the Concrete Lake (1998) doesn't portray at all what the band would carry on to be during their next period (2000-2007).

I would avoid this one if you're not a really big fan of the Swedes.

Report this review (#1608671)
Posted Friday, September 9, 2016 | Review Permalink
VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review Nş 110

"One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is the second studio album of Pain Of Salvation and was released in 1999. It's the first album from the band to feature Johan Hallgren on guitar. He substituted Daniel Magdic, their former guitarist. The line up on the album is Daniel Gildenlow (lead vocals and guitar), Johan Hallgren (vocals and guitar), Fredrik Hermansson (keyboards and samplers), Kristoffer Gildenlow (vocals and bass) and Johan Langell (vocals, drums and percussion).

"One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is perhaps the heaviest and darkest album of Pain Of Salvation. Creativity isn't the best way to describe this album. It's completely unique and leaves the listener never knowing what is coming next.

This is a conceptual album focused on the issues of nuclear power and waste, displacement of indigenous peoples, the firearm industry and human discovery. The story is about a disillusioned man that works in the weapons industry and that begins to bring the morals and ethics of his occupation into question, falling into doubt about what it really is that he is doing from day to day with Big Machine. Will his actions are actually harmful? So, on New Year's Eve when he backs home, he makes the resolution of to discover just what effects his apparently harmless actions are having on the world in general. He sets off on a journey around the world, visiting far reaching places and becoming witness to terrible acts that go against everything he was once told and he believes. Civilizations ripped apart by war, lands left barren by environmental devastation, careless water consumption and much more things. In the last step of his journey, he arrives at a desolate shores of Lake Karachay, a place in the former Soviet Union that was used to store nuclear waste for more than forty years and that was eventually covered by concrete to dampen the incredible amount of radiation that was present. Unfortunately, the concrete began to split open after several years. A person would only need to stand on the shore of the lake for a single hour before the radiation exposure would reach such high levels that the person would die from physical injuries, in approximately two weeks. Horrified by his discoveries, the man returns to his home. Considering his situation, he realizes that he will never truly be able to distance himself from the Big Machine, because it's his home and because the world is just a giant labyrinth of machines within more machines. Instead, he begins to understand that a machine is only made up of its wheels and he is nothing more than a wheel inside of other wheels. He decides to stay inside of his chosen machine in an attempt to change its direction.

Musically, "One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is very deep and intricate, as usual on all Pain Of Salvation's albums. The song structures are very well written and nothing is very repetitive on it. The songs usually go to very powerful to suddenly very soft, which is usual too. Pain Of Salvation has really some brilliant musicians. First of all, we have Daniel's vocal range and his emotional singing. He goes from the softest and low most emotional vocals to the most aggressive. Actually, four or five band's members sing which you will notice most of the time. There are a lot of vocal parts with subtle instrumentals. The guitars are powerful and beautiful at the same time and have some great riffs and complex solos. The keyboards are one of the most important things here, which are used very often, and the little piano parts make the album very enjoyable to listen. At the heavy parts, they're usually in the background, and while they might not stand out to much, the songs would sound empty if they weren't there, as if there was something missing. One of the best things about this album is how well all the instruments flow together, and all the band members play integral roles in the construction of each song, making of the album a whole. This is really a great album, indeed.

Conclusion: "One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is considered the weakest of all Pain Of Salvation's first five studio albums. It also seems to be the less favourite studio album from the band to Daniel Gildenlow. Sincerely, I'm not sure if it's true. For me, despite being less good than "The Perfect Element Part 1" and "Remedy Lane", is perfectly at the same level of "Entropia" and, in my humble opinion, is even perhaps better than "Be". The song structures are very well written and nothing is ever repetitive. The songs usually go to the very powerful to suddenly very soft sounds. They flow into each other and sometimes if you just listening to a single song by itself it will sounds very incomplete. "One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is an hour very well spent. It's impossible to listen to this album only once and be able to get its full effect. It must be heard again and again. You also need to read the lyrics, and then read them again, from the first track to the last. The album is an incredible display of all the musical influences that this band uses in their compositions. It filled with everything from classic metal hooks, to progressive metal complexity, to the warmth of the Spanish flamenco. It takes you on a journey through time and space, a journey you really never want to forget.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1699647)
Posted Thursday, March 9, 2017 | Review Permalink

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