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Pain Of Salvation - The Perfect Element Part 1 CD (album) cover

THE PERFECT ELEMENT PART 1

Pain Of Salvation

Progressive Metal


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5 stars First of all...i HATE growling and the music thats related to it!!! So imagine my surprise when i first listened to this wonderfull record (as i expected something roaringly ugly) Sure, there are hints and allegations of that "kind" of music...but hey...this is GOOD... Fantastic songs...extremely well executed...Gildenlow are really a GOD in terms of prog- heavy music....one after another fabulous number unfolds before your very ears!!! Actually i´d bet a months wage..that you´ll love this record..even if your the hardest "non-heavy"-prog fan. Every track on this fantastic album unwinds one supreme number after the other. Ive never heard nothing like it...DreamTheater seems like amateurs in the "surprise element factor"..a that says a lot! Sorry guys.... but thats the way i feel..after listening to this ..absolutely fabulous GEM!! One minute ..you´re relaxing on the couch...the next...crawling on the walls!! Thats the feeling i got, listening to this record!!! And hey ...special mention- to the fantastic guitarwork also. In all, these guys are just about the best thing you´ll hear this year (and the next).Yeah i know..that can be said..for a quite a few other items as well...isnt it just a lovely world!?? So dear friends, of prog (heavy an all)...this is a... MUST HAVE !!!! Just listen to the title track: " The Perfect element"...a perfect..ahem... element.. to..prove my point !!! By the way...i own the limited edition (2 cd) with the 4 extra numbers!!

Thats all for now....but really...GET THIS RECORD !!!

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Send comments to Tonny Larz (BETA) | Report this review (#5266)
Posted Friday, April 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
hengky@bates.
5 stars SIMPLY AMAZING! This album is a remarkable work! PoS delivers a similar taste of Dream Theater, but much much more complex and very dynamic. Just listen to the track like "Her Voices" or "The Perfect Element". I bet you will be hypnotized by their beautiful progression on rhytm and melody. This concept album is definitely a must for your collection!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#5267)
Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars After reading some reviews about POS I first bought 12:5 and I was impressed immidiately. When I visited one of my local cd record stores I was lucky to get the opportunity to buy 3 more second hand POS cd's! They only stoot there for a minute! This record was of them and the first time I listen to this I was completely blown away by the quality and the beautifull compositions on it! This is realy great music!! I think Pain of Salvation is one of the most progressive and innovating bands at the moment! Not a single note on this record is unnessesary and they overthought everything many times. I can go on like this for hours because I am really impressed by the music. Do not doubt and buy all the POS records now!!! At the moment for me it is POS in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening. Too bad I have to sleep at night!

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Send comments to J@pie Mol (BETA) | Report this review (#5271)
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 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. I saw the covers of the band's first two albums but I got no chance to enjoy their music because at that time I was in neo prog kind of mood and did not really favor metal. Last year I bought this CD from our local secondary market for one reason: it's cheap (because it's a used CD, I think) and I heard the band name many times from my metal friends (some of them are proggers too). When most of my prog friends made a noise that the band's front man Daniel Gildenlöw were joining The Flower Kings, it really struck my mind. Long before I've seen the performance of this guy supporting TRANSTLANTIC Live in Europe that I watched through a DVD. He must be "someone" because even TFK invited him to join. And .. having enjoyed the Flower Kings' "Adam and Eve" album, I devote my time listening the only CD that I have from Pain of Salvation. Well, I hate rap music but this band is excellent!!

Despite symphonic prog opening of the first track "USED", my initial reaction to the band is that they play the music that I hate: rap. But I don't know for some reason, I like the atmosphere created by the symphonic music at the background from keyboard sound. The guitar riffs remind me to progressive metal kind of music but the main body of the music itself creates "symphonic" nuances. It's really a wonderful track. The solo electric guitar is performed stunningly during interlude. The singing style, luckily, turns to normal rocking style having gone thru the opening style that is a bit growling.

All tracks featured in this album are excellent, well positioned and performed in relatively medium tempo, sometimes even mellow. So, if you expect the band would perform speed metal like DREAM THEATER, you are wrong.

It continues seamlessly to the second track "IN THE FLESH" with simple guitar fills and voice line (very nice!). The guitar fills sound repetitive at beginning while accompanying the vocal; but it then flows to different guitar fills style when the music turns to a faster tempo. Great vocal quality and stunning guitar work. The inclusion piano and acoustic guitar at the end of this track have enriched the track. Great musical flow!

"ASHES" kicks off with, again, simple guitar fills / rhythm with clear voice of Daniel at low tone in the beginning part. The music turns up with a higher, bit distorted, vocals. This track is really accessible and does not sound metal - it's more symphonic psychedelic than metal. I like the way Daniel sings. This track is a true KILLER!

"MORNING ON EARTH" starts with a guitar fills that reminds me to the intro of "AND YOU AND I" of Yes. But when the voice enters the scene, it's different kind of music. The opening voice is really heavy and theatrical, I would say. It's a nice mellow track with stunning acoustic guitar, dynamic bass line and great violin.

The music turns into a faster and rocking tempo with "IDIOGLOSSIA" (track 5). Its nuance is in the vein of symphonic metal with nice psychedelic touch. This track has a strong melody and tight composition, high energy. It continues with "HER VOICES" in a slower tempo. It's a kind of ballad tune with symphonic background.

"DEDICATION" starts with simple acoustic guitar fills accompanied with dynamic bass line. It's a melodic and mellow track with nice piano touch and electric guitar effects. I can sense the influence of jazz in this track. It flows to my all-time favorite track 8: "KING OF LOSS". I like the tasty melody here, it's really cool. Again, Daniels demonstrates his powerful singing style especially when the music turns into higher tone (the metal part). He sings from his heart, I believe. The piano and guitar fills are really excellent.

"RECONCILIATION" opens in relatively fast tempo with great guitar and keyboard. It flows up and down with a wide variety of singing style. The music then turns to a silent part on track 10 "SONG FOR THE INNOCENT" with acoustic guitar and piano at background. It actually reminds me to early Genesis style (guitar-wise). It then turns to a rocking mood with great lead guitar work.

"FALLING" demonstrates electric guitar work in the vein of PINK FLOYD. It sets the welcoming tone for the concluding track "THE PERFECT ELEMENT" that opens nicely with guitar fills. The last track is really a great track with truly symphonic style. It has a tight composition and touchy melody. Again, I have to admit that Daniel's singing style is so powerful. The interlude part, exploring acoustic guitar and violin works, is really amazing especially when combined with high tone voice of Daniel. The ending part of this track when the drum is played dynamically - really amazing! (reminds me to PETER GABRIEL's "The Rhythm of The Heat" percussive on his 4th album "Security".) What a great climax!

Well, I cannot afford not to give this album with well rounded five star. Tight composition, excellent strong writing, flawless music delivery by the musicians and good production. Minor advice is on the sonic quality: need some more bass sound. Mid range and treble are okay. Symphonic music requires more bass sound, I think. Rating 5/5. GW, Indonesia.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#5272)
Posted Monday, November 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First of all, this record has something wrong: it is the first time I really notice one musician being outrageously outclassed by the other ones, but paradoxally taking too much room! Indeed, the monolithic rhythmic guitar does not fit with the rest of the music! Let me explain how I see that: the EXCELLENT and complex drums, the sophisticated fretless bass, the insistent lead vocals, the pleasant keyboards and the heroic guitar solos are often dangerously killed by an irritating grunge guitar sound. Don't get me wrong: the rhythmic would be good if the SOUND was good! That is very sad, because the melodies, compositions, inspiration, originality and feelings involved are VERY present and interesting! Actually, there are 2 guitarists: one who plays Satriani-esque solos, always very clean, well recorded and emotional; another one who provides the rhythmic section, sounding like a bland "Our lady peace", or, in the worst case, a sick "Alice in Chains"...unless both guitarists share themselves the solos and the rhythmic duties.

Sometimes the vocals are modified, inducing a modern marginal mood to the ensemble. Obviously, the best parts are when the rhythmic guitar is absent or more timid. There are often excellent piano parts combined with the varied, emotive and sometimes hysterical voice of the lead singer. The lead & backing vocals are refined and very pleasant to hear.

The first track, "Used", has the best rap parts i've heard so far, nevertheless thanks God, it does not last for a long time! I must admit that ALL the tracks have something excellent, VERY catchy and addictive. You have the perfect example here of a contamination between alternative rock and outstanding progressive rock: fortunately, the omnipresent progressive elements are interesting enough to not give 1 or 2 stars to this album. This record is a perfect one to gradually convert a rebel and depressed teenager, fan of alternative rock bands, to a sentimental and motivated fan of pure progressive rock. My heart tells me to give 4.5 stars to this gem, but i'm going to be more reasonable: -1 star because of the rhythmic guitar sound.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#5275)
Posted Friday, February 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best albums I've ever heard, in my opinion. I think everything about it is great. There's nothing that's boring about it. That's something I rarely say about an album. It's highly intellectual. The whole album is a jointed piece of music. And I'm a big fan of long pieces of music. There are emotional, brutal, beautiful, and intense moments in it. It should be called The Perfect Album!

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Send comments to cold103 (BETA) | Report this review (#5280)
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Fair warning: I am not a fan of progressive metal and I haven't heard much that could change my opinion of the genre in the last decade. However, PAIN OF SALVATION comes closer to accomplishing this task than even OPETH, and from a completely different angle (so to speak). Whereas OPETH tickled my interest with a split personality of barren atmospherics and raging blasts of intense grind, Gildenlow & company infuse their songs with a textured emotional heaviness to match the distortion. A POS song won't bludgeon you senseless, but it may wrap its sonics around you and press you inexorably down into the earth.

All metaphors aside, "Perfect Element Part 1" is an intense experience. There's a shaky start; "Used" is an uncomfortable blend of numetal aggresion and a too-poppy chorus that nevertheless almost works. The sputtering distortion on the guitar betrays this band's ties to the post-grunge 90s rather than the usual DREAM THEATER school of 'no loose ends' prog metal, though it seems distressingly out of place on first listen. On the other hand, Gildenlow's voice typically hovers a little closer to the standard Geoff Tate paradigm- but has a versatility and natural quality that QUEENSRYCHE's frontman never quite attained. At times he rants like Mike Patton without the humor, and at (too infequent) other times he squeezes out a gritty, bluesy wail that would put ex- SOUNDGARDEN's Chris Cornell to shame ("King of Loss" has some good examples). The drums are frankly amazing; I don't know how percussion conoisseurs rate Johan Langell, but to me he displays an astonishing energy and barely restrained fury that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up during such workouts as the hectric opener of "Ideoglossia" or the pounding climax of "In the Flesh". They're not just a speedy band, though; between the slow, post-apocalyptic heaviness of songs like"Ashes" and "Song for the Innocent", and smooth melodic sections like the one in "Her Voices" (and, again, "Innocent"), the band proves that they've mastered a sense of dynamics that surpasses the usual 'hard fast part and then slow quiet part' structure of heavy music.

Get the picture yet? This is not a happy fun-time band, or one that is overly eager to have their virtuosity acknowledged...this is a band that expresses dark passion in a unique and effective way. Okay, some of the uniqueness is too incongruous; the spoken word bits stretch the patience a bit (for example, I would have liked "Morning on Earth" considerably more without them) as does the occasional tacked-on element (an industrial drum loop here and there, a dated glossy synth sound like the opener to "Her Voices", a few jazzy flourishes like those in "Dedication"). Still, for every awkward second there is a minute of richly textured intensity. Maybe a little too much intensity- at 75 minutes, you're likely to feel physically and emotionally drained before the final title track is over. I recommend easing yourself into it...nah, forget that. Gulp it all down in one go; you'll get the full benefit of all the smooth transitions and recurring themes, and the potential fatigue is worth the deliciously overwhelming experience.

Bottom line: I urge anyone who appreciates emotional intensity in music to give "Perfect Element Part 1" a try- even those who, like me, usually run from anything called prog metal.

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#5277)
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
spoltore5@hot
5 stars This cd, I think,is one of the best ten albums ever. This music talk to the heart that is what music must always do. The pieces are very interesting with insert of jazz music and very original. Lyrics by Gildenlöw are, as usual for pain of salvation, very wonderful talking of the adolescence and of the loss of innocence. Reccomended to all lovers of true emotions in music! Simply unique!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#5278)
Posted Saturday, April 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When i first listen to CD i was a little bit disappointed. They combine to much stiles. After 4 times i understand how they work. It's good ,but it is only for the peoples who have a solid backgroud in prog music. Such an album is posilble only one in 10 years, listen careful, otherwise you can lose the core of this album. Is just my opinion.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#5283)
Posted Thursday, June 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am very surprised to observe that, despite the high rating of this album, only 3 permanent collaborators of progarchives have reviewed this album up to now, most of them being rather young. I am 32 years old and I listen to progressive rock since I was 15 years old. I very much appreciate prog music of the 70's and I like prog bands as: Pink Floyd, Rush, Yes, VDGG, Queensryche to name just a few. On the other hand, from the progmetal field, I was not especially attracted by the Dream Theater music which, in my opinion, lacks a bit of feeling. Well, when I listen for the first time Pain of Salvation's TPE1 (my first album of the band) I imediatly remarked the originality of their music as well as their instrumental skilful. After few listenings, I have became addicted to this great album. This is PoS at their best. The only (small) shortcomings for me are the length of the song "In the flesh", which is a bit too long, and some guitar parts from "The king of loss" ... Otherwise, this album is a masterpiece, flowing perfectly from the first to the last song. In my opinion it deserves 5 stars. I would really like to read an review about this album done by the collaborators who likes bands of 70's ... or they want to avoid the climb of the PoS in the top100 ??? ;-)

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Send comments to misiu (BETA) | Report this review (#5285)
Posted Thursday, June 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
FishyMonkey
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Pure, unadulterated, unfiltered passion. That'as what this album is all about. I haven't seen a band fill their music wihth such energy, focus and passion since...well, never have I seen something like it. The closest for me is probably Opeth. This...this is the band that just clicked with me. I heard their songs and immediately I was amazed. In The Flesh was the introductory song, and it blew me awa ywith the sheer vlume and passion. Gildenlow was amazing -- he sung with such energy...I'd never heard anything like it. This band...this alubm has single-handedly knocked Dream Theater out of my thoughts, except for Octavarium.

So what's this album about? Never has the word album had a more worthy application -- htis is a complete, beautiful album for sure. A true, complete album is almost like an experience, while some other great CDs are just collections ofsongs. But not this band. The album revolves around adolescency, rape, beatings, hatred, giving in -- all VERY mature themes taken in a very mature way. Once again, never have these dark and mature topics been talked (sung) about in a more fitting way. Every song screams passion -- there is no filler. It's like they gave their all on every song. And I think they honestly did.

Used, the first song, starts out with a bitchin' dark and heavy tempo that screams raw metal. Gildenlow raps after a bit. I'm no fan of rap (anymore), but these parts are always enjoyable and I never skip them. The chorus is very cool and very catchy, but then it segues into a more delicate sung part, and you'll be really shocked by how versatile Daniel's voice is, right off the bat. The hwoel song continues liek that, and it doesn't get old. Great song. 9.5/10

Next we have In The Flesh, the song that got me into PoS. While there are better songs on the album, this is definitely an awesome track. Some might say it drags, but I don't think so. Gildenlow's vocals and the extremely good lyrics keep you interested. Make sure to look up the lyrics when listening to it. It gains a lot more value if you do. Great song, 10/10

Ashes is next. I don't like this song a lot, but it's good some good moments...but not many. The chorus is alright, the verses are ok, everything is average except for a couple stand-out parts that are great. Meh, not a very good song by PoS' standards. 6.5/10

Good recovery in the next song, Morning on Earth. Great haunting melody to open, then even better vocals once again...great emotion. the transition from the verses to the chorus is kinda like desperate to relieved for me. It sounds dark then goes lighter in the chorus. Great transition. I really like this song. 9.5/10

IDIOGLOSSIA! Oh man, awesome song. this song has everything: heavy parts, beautiful slower sections, rap sections, sung sections, multilayered voice work and instrumentals, oh god I love it. So much emotion on this song, and a great concept too. 10/10

Her Voices is one of those rare pieces that starts badly and ends amazing -- the opening synth work sounds terrible in my ears. Then the guitar fills come in, it starts getting better. And it just goes straight uphill the whole song until the powerful conclusion which I simply love. Good song. 9/10

Dedication is another song that starts kinda lame and gets great. There's one section where Gildenlow is yelling real high in the background and you can hear the increasing energy in the guitar and drums and it keeps buliding and building until you think it can't get better...then it reverts to the normal meody. The normal melody and the song are pretty damn good. Not my favorite, but I definitely like it. 9.5/10

Heh, King of Loss is simply amazing. The melody is very brooding and dark, but very very good. It builds nice, and the opening note sung by Gildenlow -- "Mother", will get your attention so fast you won't believe it. It's not a heavy song like Idioglossia for the most part, but it's just as emotional. Awesome freakin' song. 10/10

Reconciliation is a high energy piece with the main melody of the whole album in place just like Morning on Earth. Think of Used minus the occasional nu-metal sound and the fact that this song has a completely different tone (Used = dark, Reconciliation = searching, somewhat frantic). Nice song! 9.5/10

Song for the Innocent? Not much to be said. It's like Dedication...actually exactly like Dedication, just I like it slightly less. Remember I really like Dedication so thtis is also a great song. 9/10

Falling is a nice segue into the last piece in the vein of Pink Floyd. It's nice, but nothing important. However...the title track, The Perfect Element is...unbelievable. So many awesome sections. Just...listen to it and you will understand. It has the best crescendo in energy, tmepo, volume and passion I've ever seen.

I'm tired, no more writing. This is a must-have -- no doubt. Even if you don't like prog metal, try this. You will be surprised. A perfect 5/5.

TYPOS ABOUND! Forgive me, I type fast and don't proofread, though I should.

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Send comments to FishyMonkey (BETA) | Report this review (#36827)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
tehroxxor@aol
5 stars "The Perfect Element 1" has one word in the title that describes the album so well- PERFECT. There is not one bad song on this album and it is up there with "Still Life" by Opeth as one of my favorite albums of all time. The standout tracks are "In the Flesh", "Her Voices", "King of Loss", "Reconciliation", and the title track. The title track is amazing, but I want to talk about "In the Flesh". In my opinion, it is one of the best songs out there today. It is perfect in every sense of word. Gildenlow's vocals on this song are absolutley excellent. At 4:08 in the song when the whole song takes a complete 180-may be one of my favorite things EVER in a song.

Overall, you NEED this album and listen to "In the Flesh".

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#37029)
Posted Sunday, June 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
gordo_mor@hot
5 stars I COULD write a one word review for this album (MASTERPIECE), but they wont let me, so lets get to where it gets me

Why is Pain Of Salvation the only progressive metal band that's been doing something nice in the last few years(okey okey, Opeth has been nice the last years)? simple, they haven't been around copying Dream Theater in everything they do, and this shows this in the BEST way.

This one has a few New Metal influences, but dont worry, it wont frighten you, in fact, you only will realize this when you stop and start playing close attention in the rythm guitar, wich can get pretty cluded by the BRILLIANT vocals by Gildenlow. The thing that makes him so great, is that he is extremely expressive, he dont fear to shout, or to growl or whaterver it takes to get the thing real nice(just like Gabriel used to do in Genesis, But this one is quite the agressive tipe), he also makes GREAT vocal melodies, very different from those we're used to hear, very originals. All that and also his extremly wide vocal range. If this guy wanted to just sing he could, but as you can see in other bands he also plays keyboards, and drums(not that this changed anything in my rating for this album).

They could have changed a bit of the keyboard sounds (the sounds on the beggining of the tracks, "Her Voices" and "Morning on Earth" didn't quite fit them), but really nothing that can get in the way of this one. Just listen to "In The Flesh" and you know what i'm talking about so nice in this album

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#43025)
Posted Monday, August 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
kunangkunangku
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars My first Pain of Salvation album. It cost me serious rupiahs (the Indonesian currency) at the time I bought it. But it was worth the price, because it hit me straight "there" when I first listened to it -- kind of a goosebump moment. I was like, "This really is a mind- blowing music." Even now I still consider this as a unique progressive metal effort that deserves high praise not only because it delivers great music, but its dark imagery lyrics also made it so different from what has already been out there.

Usually, I don't enjoy rapping in a song, let alone one that is used as a part of an opening like in the first track of this album, "Used". But here I find it rather cool, if not even serve to set the tone. Daniel Gildenlow, as appears later throughout the album, indeed has a knack for delivering vocals according to the intonations, atmospheres, and moods to be achieved in each as well as parts of the songs.

Beside the melodies (great thing is that every now and then one can feel 1970s-style touch), what is also memorable in this album is the band proficient in melding strong compositions with relatively moderate instrumentation execution -- no neckbreaking speed guitar solo whatsoever. This is not saying that there are no virtuosities. Rather, it's a praise to what the band tend to do that we can call a pertinence, which is remarkably effective.

This is a no-nonsense effort. Those who like metal not only have to be aware of its existent. They also have to add a copy to their collection.

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Send comments to kunangkunangku (BETA) | Report this review (#43393)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Roubas50@yaho
5 stars This album by Pain of salvation can be characterised as the cornerstone of their career. After their first two albums (Enrtopia and One hour...) the band has given to us, two pure progmetal albums that were giving the band's view about the war and it's bad results. Very good prog metal music but lapse of emotional and melodic parts especially in the One hour album. And by the year 2000, the band gave us this masterpiece. An album unreachable even by their latest albums. Perfect from every apect. Melodic, emotional, hard, progressive, symphonic, dark, even influenced by music from around the world! Truly amazing!And there is one man in this band who made his best in order to make such an excellent piece of art. And the winner is...as you guessed:Daniel Gindenlow! I don't want to minimize the efforts, the musisianship and the ability of the other members of the band but Daniel I am sure is from another planet. Vocals that can touch even the deepest emotional strings. Through his vocals he is crying, wispering, shouting, pretesting, loving! In other words he is not a simple singer...He is acting through his vocals!Aah, and his is playing the guitar too...And if you have seen him live on stage you would understand what i am just saying. He is performer and the master of progmetal in the 00's. You can also check his vocal abilities by checking out their acoustic show (12:5). Five stars to this perfect exampe of creativity, progress and melody...Five stars to this amazing artist...Five stars to this stunning band...Stay awake for part II

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#51556)
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
nevergrowold@
5 stars Having enjoyed old stuff from Dream Theater before, I was a bit disappointed when I listened to The Perfect Element for the first time (which was actually also the first record from PoS I listened to). But with every minute, I got deeper and deeper into the structure of this album. I remember that I heard it completely two times in a row, because each song seemed to melt into the next one, resulting in probably the best structured concept album I'm currently aware of. IMO it's pretty senseless to name certain songs, I highly recommend to listen to the whole CD to catch that certain unique emotional feeling of it. unlike many prog albums, this one does not only reach my brain (in search of innovative, difficult or just crazy riffs etc.), but also my heart, and that makes this record a masterpiece for me. I guess the main reason is the fantastic and very intense voice of Daniel Gildenlöw, but I also like the change between heavy and very warm, almost fragile parts. Definitely PoS's best work!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#56309)
Posted Monday, November 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Where do I even begin...

This album..no, this living, breathing, entity is one of the few things in this world that I hold dear to me. Well, I do love my family and my friends of course. But in terms of music , this masterpiece will always be here for me. Its just that special...like a dear, misunderstood friend. I wanted to make my frist review meaningful, and there is no other album that means this much to me...

My foray into progressive rock began with Tool when I was 13, after having purchased the (still) amazing Lateralus. I was impressed by their intelligent lyrics, dark and mysterious atomospheres, and their confidence as a band. After having gone to two of their concerts, I was amazed by their larger-that-life stage productions (if anyone has been to a Tool concert, you know what I'm talking about.) For both concerts, a bizzare man named Mike Patton, with his bands Fantomas and Tomahawk, screamed and crooned into microphones and synthizizers as he held a gas mask over his face. His antics and intriguiing music led me to become a Faith No More and Mr. Bungle fan (as well as Fantomas and Tomahawk.) I can confidently say that Mike Patton was THE cataylst for how I now view music and its boundries (or lack thereof.)

The same year, I got into Dream Theater. I always saw their name when reading about Tool, but had never heard them. I decided to check them out and was instantly hooked on their catchy approach to epic, classical-influenced metal. I want to stop and make a point that while I do play guitar, I'm not a classically trained musician like many who listen to progressive rock. I didn't really understand all the different scales they were playing or time signatures. I just liked the way it sounded. I hadn't heard it before, and I had a deep interest in the unknown. one day I was browsing Amazon.com, and I looked under "related artists" to Dream Theater. For some reason I'm still unsure of, I clicked on Pain of Salvation (I had already heard Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, etc.) and read some reviews of The Perfect Element Pt. 1. I wasn't quite sure what to expect (there were no audio links) but I decided there would be no harm in downloading some of their songs off Kaaza.

Then I heard IT..

What is this?? It's a misfit, a mut...like something beautiful trapped in a tar pit, trying to escape. Reaching out for a hand, but it to no avail, all the beauty I heard eventually was smothered by sorrow and ugliness. This my first experience. This was Used. This song evoked an emotion, or a feeling, that ran through my body that I can still barely explain. The opening is agressive, and confusing. Wails and high pitched screams soar through a nu-metal influenced atmosphere, followed by a dark, spoken-word, Patton-esque rap. When Daniel exclaims "God, I'm not yours as much as you are mine!" you realize you've stumbled upon a dark..no, VERY dark world. Then suddenly, like a beaming ray of light, an angelic vocal harmony makes a grand entrance that must be heard to be understood. "I am crying..." This juxtapositon of moods completely takes hold of you. You don't what to think, but after listening to it, you begin to wonder why it works so well. But it doesnt really matter.

This is what The Perfect Element Pt. 1 is all about. Mixing gorgeous, layred, theatrical melodies with harsh, ugly walls of sound. What you have is, well, a perfect element that in reality, isn't perfect at all. The production is slightly muddy; the synths are cheesy and the piano is fragile; the guitars are covered in alt-rock distortion; Daniels voice cracks when melodies reach their emotional peak. The concept itself is slightly unclear, but you get the general idea and the lyrics fit with the music. Everything just seems to fall into place, even though by all means, it shouldn't. It isn't what a prog-rock album should be, but it is the pinaccle of my prog-rock experience.

I wanted to lead up to this with my previous experiences with progressive rock just to develop some sort of context. This album taught me that virtuousity didn't have to be flaunted in order to be understood. While I'm still into progressive rock, my interest has dwindled after discovering all the Pain of Salvation albums because I have yet to find a band that has moved me as much. In my eyes, Pain of Salvation are miles ahead of bands like Dream Theater and Spock's Beard. They are progressive in every sense of the word. I don't know if this is what prog-rock should be, or if it's the future of the genre, but Pain of Salvation stands alone and I am in their debt.

Thank you for reading all this. I think I got accross what I needed to (although not enough could be said about this masterpiece.) I hope your experience with The Perfect Element Pt.1 will be just as special as mine.

-David

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Send comments to ProgsCerebrum (BETA) | Report this review (#56343)
Posted Monday, November 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars My biggest change towards a band. When I first saw the video of Ashes I really didn't think much of Pain of Salvation. But after reading and hearing very positive opinions I decided to give this album a try(it wasn't really expensive, but not extremely cheap either). The Perfect Element is a dark and brooding concept piece. It's a story of two broken human beings meeting and loving each other.It deals with a.o. with incest, the loss of innocence, some sort of a "Bildungsroman", how indiviuals are influenced by society. About the music.Very well written and balanced. It features heavy and distorted but very warm and gentle parts too. The diverse influences are perfectly integrated.There are grunge and even rap influences(I like neither of this genres), but they work surprisingly well. The music is not full of solos, but if there are they perfectly fit the songs. The whole band plays well, I personally enjoy the gentle piano playings of Fredrik Hermansson and the drumming of Johan Langell very much. But the most impressive is Daniel Gildenlöw. He's a fantastic singer with incredible emotional range, a good guitarist and a very gifted songwriter/lyricist IMHO. All songs are great, but I'm most impressed by Idioglossia and the concluding title track. I needed some time to get into this album, but now it belongs to my favourites.

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Send comments to Norbert (BETA) | Report this review (#60758)
Posted Monday, December 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I first heard of PoS, I discounted them as just another "Nu Metal" band; mainly because the name sounded like they'd be "Nu Metal". After discovering the prog- archives and the nice full length song samples, I realized I was very, very wrong about PoS. They are anything but "Nu Metal". They are prog in all the right ways. The instrumentation of the songs is very good, but it is the quality of the compositions that really elevate the music. None of the songs are boring, they are all individually entertaining excercises in variety. Sometimes heavy, sometimes light, sometimes with lush vocal harmony, and other times with screaming torment. Often this is all within one song and yet the music never sounds disjointed or forced.

One thing I will note is that PoS is not a band that you get on the first listen. Like many challenging artists, you really need to listen to it 10 times or more to capture everything that is happening. There is so much to take in that it just can't be rushed. It's kind of like watching Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail once and thinking you got all the jokes the first time through! After all, most of us hold albums like Dark Side of the Moon in such high regard because we've listened to it hundreds of times and know the album inside out. I have a feeling that any prog-metal or art rock fan would really appreciate this album, more so if they give the album a chance to age with repeated listenings. This is an essential representative of the prog- metal genre and a worthy inclusion into any collection (especially when compared to Dream Theater's concept album Scenes from a Memory).

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Send comments to dltonya (BETA) | Report this review (#63029)
Posted Tuesday, January 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars whew. after owning this magnificent album for quite some time now, i finaly feel right about putting into words my emotions/feelings on this album, because thats what pain of salvation finally boils down to... emotion pure and unrestrained. I wont bore you with a play-by-play account of all the songs since its already been done numerous times (read Gatot's). the Perfect Element is a concept piece revolving around childhood, love, pain, guilt, etc. Though the concept is not quite clear untill you read the jacket, it doesnt matter. i find that sometimes a concept can get in the way of the music not help it, but that clearly doesnt happen here. From the agressive yet moody "Used" to the grand finale "The Perfect Element", everything about this album is majestic. Soaring emotions bring you up and then suddenly crash you back to earth and make you sob with joy, pain and sorrow all kind of wrapped into one. if you get a chance to listen to 2 songs off this album only, listen to "In The Flesh" and "king of Loss". If your not too interested at first and blow them off somewhat, as i did, dont worry. i thought, to put it frankly, that they sucked when i heard the first three songs. However, it grows and builds on you and you start to get caught up in everything thats happening. I used to be a huge Dream Theater/Symphony X fan and although i still enjoy them ocasionly, i find there music kind of bland now, hollow even, after listening to POS. now im sounding like a fan boy. Oh well... i am one now and ill flaunt it : ). i genuinly hope you are as moved and touched by this album as i was. enjoy the experience...

mike

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Send comments to Mikeypoo (BETA) | Report this review (#64644)
Posted Friday, January 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
irlude@gmail.
5 stars Pain of Salvation. The future of progressive rock. Another masterpiece. We should kneel before such a creative and genious band which continues to innovate in a decade where music is starting to take it's fall. Six albuns, all masterpieces of their own. Someone's on fire here I believe. And that one is no one less than Daniel Gildenlöw, the vocalist and mind behind all the well-crafted concepts and melodies of POS. I can't stop paying my regards to this band. It was POS that brought me into the prog world and although I met a huge variety of bands, it still remains as my favorite one. Now enough with the crap, let me tell you something about this genious masterpiece that is "The Perfect Element Pt. 1". It is much more mature and focused than its predecessors, like they finally created an identity of their own. It mixes the progressive feel of the early 70's with a huge quantity of influences from our current musical word. Yes, Daniel has done it. Listen to "Used", where Daniel makes some really creative rap in his own style, yes, he can turn water into wine. Messias anyone? Or even Song for The Innocence, with a very Marillionish feel. I love every song the same, but if I had to choose one song to listen before I die, it would surely be Idioglossia. Such a beautiful and varied song, with its light and heavy parts.. You just need to give this album a chance and you will surely love it, just like Daniel said in an interview: "If they dive into this complex piece of art unconditionally they will most likely find a friend for life". Five stars.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#65563)
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Any work of true passion stands out from the rest of the crowd. I have been hearing this album everyday again and again for more than a month now. Though I am not into heavy metal prog in general, I selectively like metal prog if it has enough diversity and melodies. I found these elements in this "Perfect Element". As a metal prog album, it stands as a perfect one. Firstly, the vocal of this album is outstanding-- Daniel Gildenlöw is oozing with passion about what he is singing. Hardly few moments of typical vocals. Secondly, the guitar playing is distinctly different and guitar sound is subtly different from other heavy metal bands. Such distinctiveness is typically the mark of super-bands. Thirdly, wonderful drums throughout the album. I especially like the ending drums of the Perfect Element--- though the rhythm reminds me of Rush (he's a rebel, he's a runner...). If I compare this with Dream Theater's Metropolis 2, I can safely say Daniel Gildenlöw has severely beaten DT here. I have not even gone through the lyrics of this album. But musically (I mean sound-wise)l, this album coveyed to me anger, desparation, remorse, desire and a host of dark feelings. But strangely it never left me feeling depressed. In its genre, its a master-piece for sure.

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Send comments to Sharier (BETA) | Report this review (#73308)
Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars - The PERFECT Element: let the title speak the word!

The predecessor to the brilliant and controversial Remedy Lane continues Pain of Salvation's trend of emotionally-charged, no-frills progressive metal straight from the deepest pit of the narrator's heart and soul. Daniel Gildenlow and co. try to squeeze out every possible inch of emotion from each vocal nuance and piano and guitar lines and it seems as if they greatly desire the listener to empathize with the lyrics of the songs and feel emotions as deeply as Gildenlow.

If anyone hasn't noticed, Daniel Gildenlow (btw, the bassist Kristoffer Gildenlow is Daniel's brother) is the star attraction of this little prog outfit from Eskilstuna, Sweden. From my understanding, due to PoS's seemingly purposeful minimalist approach to riffing and soloing, the band derives much of their power and drive from Gildenlow's skills as a vocalist. Everyone should hear his voice. It's so incredibly rich and much like the audio equivalent of Tiramisu or strawberry short cake. His range is incredible as well, going from a low moan to a high shriek at the drop of a hat. It is this versatility which drives many of the songs.

You see, he basically establishes the tone of the music usually and the rest of the band accompanies him to supplement the mood. Many of the riffs are based around his voice. They rarely, if ever, have a mind of their own and morph into unintelligible, incoherent blobs of sound. This approach is to be much appreciated in prog metal, for Pain of Salvation has the power to keep the listener firmly entrenched in the plot of the song and to actually FEEL it, yet they are not very technically impressive. This is a norm which I don't mind being violated because it works very well.

Something that does, in fact, bother me about Gildenlow's vocals, however, is the fact that they often sound plagued with indecision. It's as if he can't decide which notes would sound the most euphonious following certain other notes and it ends up creating an almost discordant rising and falling effect of the vocals.

I can forgive this wishy-washiness, however, because Gildenlow is a talented vocalist and he likes to keep things NOT simple and show off. That's understandable. The most blatant example of what I'm referring to is on the underrated tune "King of Loss". Don't ask me why Pain of Salvation or whomever decided to put "Kingdom of Loss" as the banner on their official site.Why indirectly bestow such great honor to such an inferior song? Musically, it's nowhere bad, but the chorus is one of the most annoying known to man.

I've made the point that Pain of Salvation isn't very riff-oriented, and I'm sure this holds true on their first two albums as well, but there ARE some good riffs for crying out loud! Without any notable playing skills, the band just wouldn't be prog, am I right? The most blatant example of this is the song "Idioglossia", which is actually the name of some fictional place. The inspiration of it I do not remember or know, but there is quite a lot of good keyboards and riffs to be found here.

PoS exhibits more of their Faith No More vocal influences on this record. It's been said before that Pain of Salvation mixes the prog rock tendencies of bands like Yes and King Crimson with the heavy riffing and attitude of bands like Faith No More and Metallica, and on the opening track "Used", it is quite apparent. I'm not sure what you'd call Gildenlow's singing style on it, but I supposed it could be best described as a rapping/ranting hybrid that suddenly morphs into an uplifting chorus.

I love the cover art of this album for a few different reasons. First of all, the color scheme is very congruous with that of Remedy Lane, utilizing many warm browns, and creamy and tannish tones. When looking at this album situated just above Remedy Lane in my CD carrying case, it looks very pretty and it's perhaps symbolic of what Pain of Salvation is all about lyrically. PoS tears new paths in those respects because they are heavily focused on exploring the idyllic times of childhood and the turbulent adolescent years, and helping listeners to see the lasting impressions those times have on people throughout their lifetimes.

Much of the lyrical inspiration behind this album is from band members' personal problems, but the members expect the listeners to look at each song's lyrics from their own perspectives and apply them to their lives. Although the lyrics are cryptic 90% of the time, there is no trace of fiction in them. PoS writes about life, and that's part of what makes them so appealing.

The color scheme of the two aforementioned albums is symbolic of the band's exploration of their (and our) roots of existence, and being able to feel comfortable with ourselves in front of nature and God. Much kudos has to go to Erik and Klara Iggsten as well for being the cover siblings of this album. They are both adorable and perfectly convey the concept of the album.

Track-by-track guide:

First off, like all PoS albums, it is conceptual, and is split into 3 Chapters.

Track 1: Used - Excellent track to begin the album. Fast paced and fun to listen to. If you've never listened to PoS before, this may be the place to start. As far as the album goes, it's average, but it's definately an amazing song.

Track 2: In the Flesh - Great song. This is a lot more of the standard PoS sound. This'll give you a taste of everything. If you like this song, there's no doubt you'll love everything the band has ever made. A lot of the tunes you'll hear later in the album are thrown in here. The highlight of the song is the last minute and a half or so, where Daniel just does what he does best.

Track 3: Ashes - The fan favorite. "Ashes" has an incredible gloomy feeling to it, and one of the most memorable choruses ever. I honestly find more than half this album to be better than Ashes, but most PoS fans seem to disagree with me.

Track 4: Morning on Earth - Bitchin' keyboard tune going here. Very calming. This song just keeps on building up and getting better and better. Overall very good, but we still haven't hit the meat of the album yet.

Track 5: Idioglossia - Here we go. The godly "Idioglossia". This is just one hell of a song, sporting many different, and amazing tunes, and a very nice guitar solo. Contains the chorus from Ashes, along with a few other parts from other songs. The bassline in this song is great. The best part of the song without a doubt is around the 5 mniute mark where they go into a faster paced version of the Ashes chorus, followed by the guitar solo. It then goes out with a crazy climaxing barrage of vocals/screams. Overall excellent song, one of the best on here.

Track 6: Her Voice - The first half is standard emotional type stuff, but around the 4 minute mark you get into an awesome instrumental section, followed by one of my favorite parts on the album, with the operatic like vocals in the background, with Gildenlow singing in the front with an awesome tune going on. "and I closed my eyes" is a great example of his excellent vocals. Did I mention how awesome the lyrics are, because they are.

Track 7: Dedication - Slow, emotional ballad type song. One of my least favorites on the album, but it's still a great song, with amazing lyrics.

Track 8: King of Loss - The most underrated PoS song. Although it admittedly has an annoying chorus, this has one of the best tunes on the album. And did I mention the bridge around 6:00-8:30 is the climax of the album. I won't even begin trying to explain everything amazing about this part. If you can get past the screechy chorus, this song really is amazing. This is more for the big PoS fan than the casual listener.

Track 9: Reconcilliaton - Pretty fast tempo'd song. One of the best examples of Gildenlow's vocals on the album. "But if you run away, you must always move, so if you have to run, run free" is an example of an amazing line. This track contains many tunes from past songs, most specifically the one from In the Flesh, and a great solo.

Track 10: Song For the Innocent - Yes. This song rocks. There's too much to say. It's got a pretty happy tune to it for a while, and then with the phrase "What else can the dying do?" the whole song just turns to a melancholy emotional solo. Despite being one of the album's shorest songs, this is just plain killer.

Track 11/12: Falling/The Perfect Element - Falling is an amazing little solo that leads into the album's true gem, the title track. A combined 12 minutes of pure amazingness. This song has a little bit of everything. I can't even begin to try to explain it. One of the best closers on any album ever.

One of the best things about this album, which you may notice, is that it has an absolutely amazing lineup of final 5 tracks. Although every song on the album is amazing, it's always nice to have something to look forward to while you listen to an album. There's absolutely nothing worse than when the best song is first.

This is the story-based album that every prog fan has always dreamed about. Good concept, amazing lyrics, beyond amazing vocals, not too based on the instruments. It's all song structure here folks. Pain of Salvation don't need to show us that they have talent through writing hard to play tunes, they show us by writing amazing material, and being probobly one of the most consistant bands ever as far as quality goes. You MUST check this album out. This album may be tougher to get into than Remedy Lane, but once you're into it, you're entranced. Get this album, now. It's already on my fave- list and the album title speaks for itself. It may contain a few 'weaker moments', but as a whole, I couldn't think of a more consistant concept-album.

album rating: 10/10 points = 100 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#76606)
Posted Friday, April 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Pain of Salvation's best. This album is quite hard to get into, but so rewarding when you do. I really love this album and I listen to it twice a week of so. Gildenlow's voice is great, and the musicianship is also amazing. Very complex if I might add.

I find that some of the melodies and the emotions that are missed in some Dream Theater albums is right here....in some way or another.

This is PoS's masterpiece, maybe not a masterpiece on prog as genre, but a masterpiece for the band, and definetely for metal. So that's why it deserves 5 stars. If you're new into this band get this album first and then go to Remedy Lane and then Be....see what you think of those...and write a review on progarchives!

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Send comments to Tasartir (BETA) | Report this review (#77040)
Posted Wednesday, May 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
amaden@alden.
4 stars An aquired taste. Most love these guys or hate them, in my case I hated them and now love listening to them after finally "getting" the style it clicked. Super emotional roller coaster from heavy crushing guitars and intense vacals to soft gentle musical instruments and vocals. This album fuses so many styles together and is definately one of the most unique sounding discs in progressive metal.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#78328)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dark, brooding progressive metal piece... A concept album whose themes revolve around childhood and growing up... Pretty much like In Absentia by Porcupine Tree.

The album is dark throughout and disturbing, both lyrically and musically. It is as beautiful as it is unnerving...

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Send comments to Don Quito (BETA) | Report this review (#78796)
Posted Friday, May 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
AtLossForWords
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Suprise five star rating!!!

Pain of Salvation's third album The Perfect Element Part I is part of a planned two part concept. The Perfect Element is sort of a turning point in Pain of Salvation's career. Pain of Salvation moves further away from their metal roots and more towards a variant orchestrated project. The songs Idioglossia, Her Voices, and King of Loss are excellent demonstrations of Pain of Salvation's new pension for orchestration. The Perfect Element Part I is a leap forward for Pain of Salvation.

Daniel Gildenlow's peformances is better than ever before. Aside from composing this entire album, Gildenlow's vocals now showcase extraordinary skill. Gidlenlow's vocals are so variant. He can power a listener or finesse them with equal talent. He can scream and sing, but he can also rap. The vocal experience provided by Gidlenlow is as unique as they come. Gildenlow's guitar playing is interesinting too. He creates the perfect contrast with Johan Hallgren. The trading of solos between these two is brilliant. The solos are not as technical as they are emotional.

Johan Langell gives an excellentperformance on drums. Langell's use of cymbals is one of the most unique. The crashs and splashs on so many off beats keep a listener on his or her toes throughout the album. Langell's cymbal use is not over done. Langell's primary tool is his toms. He can roll across at a variety of speeds and always lands right on the beat.

Fredrick Hermansson's keyboards add an essential melodic support for the band. So many of these pieces would not have the same substance without Hermansson. Hermansson's synths are not the focal point of his playing. The piano interludes and melodies from Hermansson are his passion. For listeners who prefer the classic piano rather than limitless keyboard tones, Hermansson is the man.

Kristoffer Gildenlow does an excellent performance on bass. Gildenlow is quite skilled, but in much more subdued ways. Gildenlow is primarily a rythymn player who will also support the melodies along with showing off tapping and slapping skills. Gildenlow's rare slap spots are a breath of fresh air in a genre which rarely showcases slap bass skills. Gildenlow's rythymnic sense is unparalleled. Gildenlow is the perfect groove agent for Johan Langell. The flow of this album is made so much smoother with the way these two play togethor.

Johan Hallgren is the lead guitarist. While Daniel Gildenlow drops away from the axe in favor of rythymn guitar skills and his vocal abilities Johan Hallgren takes the guitar stage. Hallgren's melodic sense is amazing. His playing is so tasteful. Hallgren's solos are an excellent contrast to Gildenlow. Hallgren has a bit more shred technique in his solos, but they don't fail to retain that emotional basis.

The production is just amazing. Every note of every intstrument is clear and articulate. The balance between the instruments is something to behold. The production of this album is done with the entire band in mind. The drums however are the prize of this mix. The toms are so powerful and articulate. The bass drum is tuned just right for the perfect amount of depth. Excellent production for an excellent album.

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Send comments to AtLossForWords (BETA) | Report this review (#80025)
Posted Thursday, June 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok, what to say about one of the greatest progmetal albums ever? I thank PoS for getting me into the progmetal genre and finding that I'm able to accept heavy music. Several years ago I listened to some selection of songs from different progrock bands and that was when I first met the band's music, actually the song "Used". At the first listening I thought it's very similar to FAITH NO MORE but after a few more listenings I realized this is much more complex and I got an interest in the band. So, I bought the album with this song and immediately fell in love with the music. Yes, for me as for a fan of progrock bands like Genesis, Spock's Beard, Porcupine Tree, Kansas etc. some parts were very heavy and it took me more spins than I found that there are strong melodical ideas hidden inside of it. I won't list all the songs and ratings to each one because other reviewers did so but when I want to describe the music, I must highlight David Gildenlow's beautiful voice with many mood changes (he is like an chameleon) and overall the band is instrumentally VERY skilled. After this album I have also gotten into their discography and I must say that every album is quite unique and I wouldn't give to any of them less than 4 stars. I can't say for 100% sure that The Perfect Element is their best because all of them are awesome but because it's my first album from this band, it's still the closest to my heart. RECOMMENDED for all progrockers!!!

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Send comments to KeyserSoze (BETA) | Report this review (#83004)
Posted Friday, July 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of PoS's most acclaimed albums, we find a variety of sounds here. Many will be turned off by the first song, which is pretty dull and uninspiring. Don't let that get you down, the album does get better.

The album is very good, but its not very great. It is a very moving album, one that touches on many important points, but some of the songs just don't make the grade for this to be a 5 star album. Theres only 2 or 3 really great and outstanding songs, and while the rest of the songs are very solid, they never really give you any great vibes or feelings that great songs and albums do.

On the bright side, Daniel Gildenlow is probably one of the most amazing vocalists you are likely to hear in any band these days.

PoS is a great band, but don't let the fanboys make you think this is the second coming of Dark Side of the Moon, its not, its just a solid prog album.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#83292)
Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Without a doubt one of the bands that to grown more lately are PAIN OF SALVATION, I have practically not found place in the network where not them name, his completes production "BE" when having a very scandalous concept I believe that these glances were centered more in is Swedish band, without a doubt of best of the moment, the its countrymen who also are good but that they have not given that I jump ANDROMEDA, that I jump due to its darker conceptualismo in addition to than the participation of the members have caused that this band grows much and now but it is recognized that its homologous and compatriots even. Good changing the subject of the disc also knowing the next launching "The Perfect Element Part II" I make a small summary of this disc, this first part narrates the beginning of the conscience and as it is possible to be altered and of how with a good one it guides east way is not so escuro, without a doubt a very good, but obvious metalero disc that "BE", the voice of Daniel GILDENLÖW is simply beautiful and it gives that touch him of the additional dark, this enough one or made the concept, I do not have either to leave of side that obtains a connection between líricas and adapted instrumentation, enough or made, is a work that feels like for second good part that that already this in way, recommendable only if you please of the progressive metal of first order.

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Send comments to Shelket (BETA) | Report this review (#88658)
Posted Friday, September 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars An absolute masterpiece.

Pain of Salvation has been the most intriguing Prog-Metal band I've discovered since joining Prog Archives over a year ago. I admit that I was completely turned off to them after hearing the sample of "Beyond the Pale," and in retrospect I can find a rational explanation for this ridiculous bygone opinion: the music was just radically different from anything I was looking for at the time. When I came across Prog Archives in the summer of 2005, my experience in Prog-Metal was limited to Dream Theater and.well, Dream Theater. Browsing the bands in this genre, I would listen to samples of bands whom I hoped would be similar in composition to Dream Theater. I've yet to find a technical Prog-Metal band that pleases me as much as them, but I have found a band that meets and surpasses them in emotion, impact of composition, and coherence of concept. This band is Pain of Salvation, one of the most unique and difficult-to-classify bands in the realm of Progressive music.

The Perfect Element Part 1 was my proper introduction to Pain of Salvation, and it promptly obliterated my notions of an inferior band to my beloved Dream Theater, and it converted me into a devote follower. I'd like to say it's beyond words, that I can't do justice to the music with any sort of review, and while that's probably true, I want to try and get my point across. The main obstacle one of a less Prog-Metal-oriented background might encounter in this particular album is that the atmosphere, more so than most other Pain of Salvation albums save One Hour by the Concrete Lake, is relentlessly dark and possibly depressing. While this may turn some people off, the album would work in no other format. The convoluted but obviously meaningful concept of The Perfect Element Part 1 is a personal journey that comes right from the darkest corners of the human heart. Life can be very dark, at times, and I can think of no other album that exemplifies this truth more than The Perfect Element Part 1.

Let me make this clear: I love every single song on this album intensely. This is one of those albums that you wouldn't really want to alter in any way. It works as a straight beginning-to-end listen, but the tracks hold up to individual listen as well. Daniel Gildenlow proves to the world that he is one of the most versatile and unique singers in music altogether. He's got such a beautiful voice that works just as well in the format of a late night, tortured soliloquy as an emotionally cathartic wail. In my opinion, he's the best vocalist I've experienced in Prog-Metal, but the absolute truth is that he is the one and only fit for Pain of Salvation. The band would simply not work without him as a vocalist, not to mention that he contributes guitar parts and a constant stream of excellent concepts.

If I had to choose songs that appeal to me above all the rest on The Perfect Element Part 1--something I'd rather not do, as it seems to detract from the songs not mentioned--these would be "Idioglossia," "Her Voices," "Reconciliation," and "The Perfect Element," but every other track is just as good. I hope I don't come across as a fanboy here, but there is no other way to express my true feelings. I honestly do enjoy just about every second of The Perfect Element Part 1, and I am waiting with eager anticipation for The Perfect Element Part 2. This is an album for those looking for an alternative to the overtly technical aspects of bands such as Dream Theater, but for those who are looking for substance and meaning in their music. As an introduction to Pain of Salvation as a band, The Perfect Element Part 1 is an excellent choice, but is one of the darker albums by the band. Despite this, or perhaps due to this in part, it is probably the band's best album. I'd suggest either this album or Remedy Lane for the beginning Pain of Salvation listener.

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Send comments to stonebeard (BETA) | Report this review (#89143)
Posted Wednesday, September 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the Albums that should be a staple of modern prog. It has everything excelent (in a very depressing way) concept. Wonderful harmonies and complex time Signatures. Gildenlow and others are probably the most fantastic music group since Genesis (the Gabrial years) Gildenlow's voice range, the guitar work the classical piano, and the percussion Johan plays like a percussionist not a drummer. On top of that they are one of the few bands to stray from the Dream theater progressive metal style. I highly reccomend this album to anyone with good taste in music 5/5

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Send comments to Lex C (BETA) | Report this review (#94931)
Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This was the first CD from them I've purchased a couple of years ago and in some way it highly triggered my interest for this great band. Maybe this was the case because musically spoken the compositions on here are more easily accessible, almost to be called catchy compared to their firstt two albums. And honestly after listening to "The Perfect Element Pt.1" very carefully (through a set of headphones) several times and analysing the songs rather critically (just music- and not lyrics-wise) I came to the conclusion that actually it should be considered inferior to their other excellent albums. But on the other hand this work can't be fully appreciated without taking a closer look at the lyrics written mostly by Daniel Gildenlöw as usual. The concept of this album is similar as for their masterpiece "BE" a highly ambitious and elaborate one, thought as a two-part one whose second part's still awaited and dealing about human maturing from childhood to adolescence. Though I'm usually not that much focusing on lyrics and mainly concentrating on the musical composition I've to admit Daniel's poetry is all the time highly inspiring and touching albeit at times as well slightly irritating and difficult to follow. The album is conceptionally structured into three chapters, each one consisting of four tracks. In the following I'd like to go a bit more into detail focusing exclusively on the music presented here.

Ch. I

The opener "Used" starts as a quite heavy song with a strong FNM-reminiscence, which isn't bad necessarily. Though I usually dislike rap, Daniel's doing it here very well and overall the song is a pleasant listen, very catchy but on the other hand composition-wise nothing extraordinary either. It's becoming considerably better in its second half and best features of this track are definitely the vocals, drums and the lead guitar work. "In The Flesh" reveals like the previous one as well a highly memorable chorus line and main melody and like that one it's improving during its run with nice acoustic sections on guitar and piano later on. Though lacking a bit of variation in its first half it's revealing great guitar/bass play and strong lyrics. Daniel's presenting one of his best high-pitched yellings here."Ashes" is again a very catchy, but a rather ordinary and uninspired song with partly modified vocals which makes it even worse. Although being a nice one it could have been done by any other band and leaves an advanced listener with higher demands rather unsatisfied behind. "Morning On Earth" is closing the first chapter and the one which can fascinate me the least I've got to say, not necessarily because it's a very ballad-esque one but due to its almost musical-like, radio-friendly and rather cheesy sound. Certainly it's highly appealing to everyone having rather problems to enjoy their more heavy stuff which I'm admittedly preferring in general.

Ch. II

Although "Idioglossia" reminds initially quite a lot to DT (a band that I'm not favouring in fact) with a rather bombastic keyboard sound the band manages here very well to combine the best features of symphonic prog metal and more alt rock-type of bands like FNM or Tool. Despite the DT-reminiscence (actually only in the keyboard sound) this track is a highly enjoyable one for me and a good showcase, how an extraordinary lead vocalist can influence the general impression of a band. "Her Voices" is another great track though being like "Morning On Earth" as well quite ballad-esque in its first half but developing into a more heavy and highly versatile song later on. Once again Daniel's proving here how variable his vocals are and there are great solo sections by drums and guitar as well as nice string arrangements. "Dedication" is by far not as strong as the previous one and in fact, apart from the vocals a rather mediocre one. Being again more like a ballad it's offering some sections with a nice dark atmosphere though. But overall this one ain't very much convincing. "King Of Loss" is one of the better tracks here, but not quite on par with "Idioglossia" and "Her Voices". Starting in a more atmospheric vein with guitar, piano and vocals it reveals a highly enthralling and climactic structure with a quite late first breakout after 3 ˝ minutes before it continues more in a straight forward way. Finally it's getting into a more symphonic lush vein and closing with a fine guitar solo and dissonant shouting of all band members. This is at the same time the closure of chapter II which is musically the strongest one, at least in my view.

Ch. III

"Reconciliation" sounds more or less quite straight forward, altogether a nice one with a highly memorable melody but without offering anything exciting, at least for me. "Song For The Innocent" is a very derivative Floydian type of song, another one which is "just" a nice one being in some parts more quiet and mellow or lush and bombastic in others. "Falling" is a very short instrumental one with Gilmour-esque guitar and spheric keyboard tunes and this one's leading over into the final title track which offers once again an incredibly wide spectrum of lead vocals by Daniel which is the main attraction of this +10 minute song though.

As a summary I'd like to emphasize that though I'm preferring their two former albums as well as "Remedy Lane" and "Be" I still consider this album a very strong one by PoS, especially if taking into account its elaborate lyrical and conceptional work behind. Since it's musically more easily accessible than their other works I'd recommend it as some perfect introduction to those who are still not familiar with this amazing band.

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#95502)
Posted Monday, October 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This would be the album that would really bring into another world of progressive metal as The Perfect Element Part 1 would be my first album from the amazing Pain of Salvation. I gotta be honest at first I wasn't sure about these guys cause my listen of POS was BE and i gotta say BE totally turned me off big time i didn't know what it was about it i mean it had some nice riffs but it just didn't grab my attention. luckily my local record store had the last copy of TPE: Pt.1 and i just couldn't let this slip through my hands since i gave there other albums a chance and decided to give them a try. WOW never before have i heard such a great combination of music. POS have been able to combine some great genres of metal, prog, thrash, goth and even rap and jazz. Not to mention the album flows so well together since it is a concept album which POS are the masters at doing. I basically could say that the concept of this album deals with a story of someone's childhood it seemed obvious to me cause of the cover but hey i could be wrong. But still this is a wonderful record with lost of great songs like the In the Flesh, Ashes, Morning On Earth, Ideoglossia, Her Voices, King of Loss, and the title tracks. Shoot almost all the songs are just grand as to me this is one of those albums you have to listen from beginning to end. And i can't forget about the amazing musicians with great riffs and solos from the twin guitar duo of Gildenlow and Hallgren, amazing rhythm section of Gildenlow and Landgren, and probably the best background keyboards i've ever heard not to mention BEAUTIFUL piano playing from Hermansson. But the one thing that makes me look forward to listening to POS is the vocals and i must say WOW where do these guys get the way they sing especially from Daniel as this guy can wail. But i have to be honest this was a very different record for me so it took some time for it to grow on me but i love this album just not as much as I love Remedy Lane but don't let that influence you cause if you want a great album with amazing vocals and harmonies, lots of crazy rhythms and time signatures, down to earth lyrics, great concept, and melodic and SHREDDING guitar soloing, then you'll find yourself at home with The Perfect Element Pt. 1.

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Send comments to Progdrummer05 (BETA) | Report this review (#101623)
Posted Tuesday, December 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The Perfect Element

Few bands have been able to captivate me as much as Pain of Salvation. Their unique brand of metal is not the easiest to digest, but of all the progressive metal bands I've encountered in my searches, none have been able to have as much substance as style in their music as Pain of Salvation. When I first heard The Perfect Element, Part 1, I thought that it was a good album, but didn't give much thought to it. As of late, though, now that my fascination with Pain of Salvation has grown exponentially, I've come to realize the genius of this album. No individual song is weak and all of the songs work together to tell a heartwrenching, although obtuse, story of human emotion and the trials and tribulations of life itself.

I can't really specify which songs are the absolute best, as they all add a certain element to the album, which wouldn't be complete if it weren't there. The songs that leave the biggest impression on me are Used, which opens the album with a bang but then takes so many twists and turns musically that this sounds like a new Pain of Salvation. Other songs that really grab my attention are Idioglossia and King of Loss, which show the band's intuitive use of orchestrations which would become the focal point of albums like BE and to a significantly lesser extent Remedy Lane, and The Perfect Element, which may be one of the best closing Pain of Salvation songs thus far, it sums up the album perfectly and it leaves the listener feeling complete. Although I only named a few songs here, I want to highly stress that I have high admiration for every single song on this album, every second of every piece is well worth the listen.

The Perfect Element, along with Entropia, remain my favorite Pain of Salvation albums, and I can't stress enough how much they've affected me as of late. I wouldn't consider myself a Pain of Salvation fanboy (I certainly don't want to come across as one with this review), but I can't recommend this album highly enough. Everything about it is perfect, and it may be the perfect introduction to Pain of Salvation for anyone who hasn't heard them yet. 5/5.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#103353)
Posted Saturday, December 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
TRoTZ
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album is, in my humble opinion, the biggest overrated album of this site. While I can understand all the fuss created by it, such an honour classification is quite unacceptable. Comparing this album to Dark Side of the Moon is undoubtfully outragious: Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon marked a cut with all the reality of the music at that time - it showed a completely different way to make music! The Perfect Element part 1 not only do not show anything of particularly new, but also just limits to work on a space Queensr˙che started almost 20 years ago and Dream Theater started 9 years ago.

Although these initial critics, I cannot say this is a bad album by Pain of Salvation. In fact, the band shows here their songwriting and technical skills at their best, as the album is full of memorable refrains and instrumental passages. It has also many emotional sections, but, at times, the band seems not to fully make profit of them, running them in excessive dramatism which poison their intent.

Though captivating in few listenings, stucking you to like glue, the album sails in the sea of trivialness. It may be difficult to separate the emotional from the cognitive core of our ego, but if you do so, you realize, like I did, that this album, despite having great songs and good performances, did not bring anything of new to rock music. Good, but not essential.

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Send comments to TRoTZ (BETA) | Report this review (#103606)
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I heard about Pain of Salvation shortly before joining ProgArchives last month. I acqired The Perfect Element Part 1 becasue that was the most recommended on metal sites that I frequent. By that point, I was immersing myself in prog metal, rejoicing that my two favorite genres collided in one amazing whole. Dream Theater, Tool, Symphony X, Fates Warning, Voivod, and Opeth blared on my iPod alongside Crimson and Metallica. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to hear.

Pain of Salvation combines phenomenally technical drumming, subtle yet skilled fretless bass, heavy SX/DT keyboards, and Opeth-like harsh yet atmospheric guitars. Then, there was Daniel Gildenlow. If ever someone could strip Geoff Tate of his crown as king of metal singers, it's this guy. He is a wondeful hybrid of the purity of Geoff Tate, the falsetto of Jeff Buckley, the screams of Ian Gillan, and the versatility of Mike Patton. Those four vocalists happen to be in my top 15, so I was stunned that they came in one package. The musicianship alone should confirm PoS as metal elite, but the music takes you to another world.

Every PoS album is a concept piece, and Perfect Element is no exception. Prog metal is no stranger to bleak ablums. After all, it's finest album, Operation Mindcrime, deals with a dystopian future where a naive addict is used for terrorism. PoS takes the hopelessness of Queensryche's masterpiece and synthesizes with the bleakness of Opeth. The concept, like all PoS releases, is nigh impenetrable without looking carefully at liner notes and websites for aid. The concept here is the development of the individual. Since this is part 1, it goes from birth to adolescence. The bleakness comes from the tales of child molestation, shame, pain, etc.

As with other PoS releases, it's difficult to pick highlights. Though the individual songs are strong, particularly "King of Loss" and "In the Flesh", when you first listen, listen to the whole album. The album alternates between soft beauty and sludge rock heaviness. Gildenlow goes from a growl to a scream of agony without breaking a sweat. Some people are put off by his Patton-esque rapping of some songs, but like Mike Patton, he does it in a way that is still tuneful and superb. The guitars are crushing with a borderline nu-metal sound; thankfully, they stop just short of entering that unforgivable territory. The drums and bass offer a subtley overpowering rythmn section. Drummer Johan Langell reminds me of Mark Zonder of Fates Warning. Overall, this album isn't as strong as its follow-up, the stunningly brilliant Remed Lane, but it's still a worthy listen. Highly Recommended.

Grade: B+

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#105075)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars i condsider an album that is rated 5 starts to be one of the absolute best albums out there, and this album is with out a dought an album that recives 5 stars. in my opinion, the way the songs are layed out on this album is absolutly amazing. this is one of the best progressive metal albums out there right now, so i highly suggest it. with songs such as 'Ideoglossia' and 'her voices', it makes this album quiet essential. so if youve never heard of pain of salvation before, this is an album that you really need to check out. one more thing i would like to add, pain of salvation is my faviorite band, and they are a band where the more you listen to them, the more amazing they get, so i highly suggest one night when you have nothing to do, play these songs over and over again, you will not be sorry.

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Send comments to nonzno (BETA) | Report this review (#106862)
Posted Tuesday, January 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A little bit overrated in the site, I think, this one is the best Pain of Salvation album, to date, in my opinion. The mighty Pain of Salvation has managed to create a concept album, with rich themes, that catches you and flows through its end even at your first listen. Very well crafted album, musically and lyrically, possessing both complexity and sentiments. Maybe an unessential detail, but I also find the artwork of the album very cool and in harmony with the music of PoS.

Those had been said, this album does not really qualify as a masterpiece of Prog music; but comes close... Anyway, The Perfect Element, Part 1 is surely an excellent addition to any Prog collection, with my final score 4.3 / 5 stars.

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Send comments to taylanbil (BETA) | Report this review (#107937)
Posted Friday, January 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars On both of their first two releases Pain of Salvation has threatened to produce a stunning album that could hold its head up high with the best that prog has to offer. On creating The Perfect Element Part 1 it appears that Pain of Salvation have created the perfect album.

The Perfect Element is a concept album that tells the story of two adolescents, a boy and a girl, as they are abused when young and grow up to be social delinquents who's meeting causes them to face the causes and consequences of their actions. To me its a deep and emotionally involving concept that draws you in and makes you feel for the characters. In-fact this concept is the key to why I enjoy this album so much. When I first heard this album it was immediately apparent that it was something very good indeed, but it didn't strike me as being a masterpiece, but on uncovering the meaning of the concept as a whole and the meaning of the individual songs it clicked. And when it clicks the concept, the lyrics and, most importantly, the music all falls into place as being incredibly powerful, drawing you through a range of emotions from elation to a deep sadness.

So what is it that's changed in Gildenlow's, and occasionally Hermansson's, lyrics and compositions that has elevated the album to such greatness? I think the main change for the lyrics is that its no longer a political concept as the previous two albums were and Gildenlow clearly shines when he concentrates on the social and emotional state of people, the songs just feel more real and sincere than on previous albums. With the compositions the there is two main differences that I feel that has elevated this album. The first is that Fredrick Hermansson's keyboards are now very much in the foreground of the music with the guitars, they tended to be a little in the background on One Hour by the Concrete Lake and at times were almost completely missing from Entropia, and are more integral to the music and the whole feel of the album, heck, you even get a few keyboard led songs now. The second is that the compositions are far more dynamic and involving than before, they shift seamlessly from slow, brooding passages filled with malice or anger to quiet, delicate songs to fast, crunching guitar driven parts and epic, graceful and powerful songs, there's not much it doesn't have.

As I have stated before the music works seamlessly with the lyrics to grab you emotionally but its led by the fact that each member of the band has stepped-up a notch and performed their hearts out here. Gildenlow shows, again, that he is one of progs greatest singers here by adding a level of finesse that was missing just a bit in previous albums. On songs like Morning On Earth and Dedication his voice sounds incredibly delicate but it gets really forceful on Ashes and Reconciliation really shows off his range to perfection. The guitar lines fill a wider role here than before giving really delicate and soft passages at times as the song needs as well as "spreading out" to fill songs, particularly on the crescendo of pieces like Idioglossia and The Perfect Element, whilst still providing the powerful riffs and souring solos as before, but this time to a level not previously achieved. The rhythm section of Kristoffer Gildenlow (bass) and Johan Langell (percussion) work together here far more closely than before creating some really interesting rhythm patterns and changes in sings, little things that have a big impact to what's going on. Kristoffer in particular of these two has really come to the fore as his bass now fulfils a role of both playing melody and rhythm without neglecting either, bolstered by his ability to switch from picking to slapping at the drop of a hat (something I admire him greatly for).

The Perfect Element is one of those strange albums that proves to be the easiest starting point for the band in question whilst holding such huge reserves of emotional and musical depth that it remains as a fast favourite. I also believe that its this incredible depth and dynamic of the music that makes it so accessible as well as so astonishing. Its not often that I claim an album is an easy 5 star masterpiece but this is definitely one.

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Send comments to sleeper (BETA) | Report this review (#109397)
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I like the pictures in the liner notes of the band with a picture of them as children in the background. It reminded me of GREEN CARNATION's "The Quiet Offspring" where there were pictures of the band as children as well. I noticed that Daniel Gildenlow thanked Stefan Zell from WOLVERINE.

The opening track "Used" has to be the heaviest on the album. Opening with TOOl-like drumming and vocals that go from theatrical and angry to higher pitched and upbeat.This contrast is also evident in the instrumental sections as well. It's quite amazing and surprising how fast this song changes from heavy and angry to light and upbeat. "In The Flesh" is a lighter song that has a dark undercurrent running through it. The melody 5 minutes in sounds great, but the lyrics are a little disturbing. "Ashes" is a powerful song with a haunting chorus.The guitar solo is quite emotional. "Morning On Earth" features acoustic guitar, good harmonies and a monologue. "Idioglossia" has some good bass lines and drumming. And like the first song there is a good contrast between the light and dark passages.

"Her Voices" is a mellow song with synths that becomes heavier and darker. Nice guitar melodies after 5 minutes. "Dedication" is a beautiful song with strings and piano that blends into the next song "King Of Loss", where the guitar and piano comes and goes. Things get intense after 3 minutes eventually changing into an uplifting melody. Another good guitar solo. Great tune ! "Reconciliation" is an uptempo, triumphant song. And check out the lyrics to close the song, "I was always on my mind, but never on my side. Run-but if you run away, you'll always have to hide. So if you need to run, run for help." Amazing words ! "Song For the Innocent" is like a prayer for the children. And check out the incredible Gilmour-like guitar solo. "Falling" is a short, guitar and synth instrumental. "The Perfect Element" is the emotional and passionate final conclusion to this splendid recording.

I like the music a lot better on "Remedy Lane" but the concept and lyrics on this album surpass "Remedy Lane" in my opinion. Although I take the music over the lyrics every time.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#110515)
Posted Friday, February 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I always avoid writing a review of a Pain of Salvation album because i know i can't be neutral enough for it. I really love this band, it is my favorite band ever, i am a total fan of Daniel Gildenlöw and really really think that this is the best band in the world.

Well, even avoiding write reviews about them, i belive this album must be among the top 10 progressive albuns ever, so i will make my contribution to it.

I will not talk about every track because i don't like that way of reviewing and because this album as a conceptual album and a piece of art, must be analyzed as a whole and not in parts.

The concept of the album is kind of an analysis of the adolescence and it's social, psicological and emotional problens. Daniel Gildenlöw treated it in a so complex, introspective and poetic way, that i can't ignore the fact that he is actually is a genius. He can show all the feelings in his lyrics through his compositions and through his unbelievable feeling in his singing. The arsenal of voices and vocal techniques that he hides inside his throat is completely unbelievable.

Besides his incredible concepting and singing, this guy can make very complex music, in a so flowing and pleasant way, which i never heard in anywhere else.

Highlights? Yes... the entire album is a highlight from the first second of "Used" 'till the very last second of "The perfect Element" (which is my favorite song). The album has no weak points, not even a defect, it is so perfect that i was afraid to review it 'till now.

Well, I don't have much more to say... but will repeat again:

Daniel Gildenlöw is a genius in every way, Pain of Salvation is the best band I ever heard in my entire life, this album HAVE to be among the top 10 progressive albuns ever and everybody should listen to Pain of Salvation at least once, specially the ones against prog metal, this album will prove you that progressive metal deserves to be in this forum as much as symphonic prog.

1.000/10

Perfect... really perfect.

BUY IT! NOW!

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Send comments to Benjamin_Breeg (BETA) | Report this review (#115527)
Posted Monday, March 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I will start by saying that I'm not a huge fan of prog metal, so if you are and you're reading this, take that into consideration. This is probably the heaviest PoS album I've heard (I have not heard the ones before it), so that may affect my feelings about it. I will say this though, PoS is the most interesting and original of all the prog metal bands I've heard so far........which isn't very many, admittedly.

The album is a concept, which is the norm for PoS albums it seems. The concept itself is quite good and is supported by some excellent lyrics by Gildenlow. His outstanding vocals are what drew me to this band in the first place, and he does not disappoint here. Some of the songs though, grate on me, with their overly growly vocal parts and thrash metal type guitar sounds. There are some excellent ones though, like the title track, Ideoglossia, and King Of Loss.

My big issue with this one, unlike other PoS albums I've heard, is that much of the time the songs are indistinguishable from each other. This is not the case on their following albums at all, however. Perhaps it is their particular style of heaviness, riff focused and not concerned with overt complexity like Dream Theater or similar bands. But for whatever reason, about half the tracks on here don't really stand out for me. Still, this is a good album, and my 3 stars should indicate more my luke warm feelings towards metal in general than the true worth of this album. If you like prog metal, you will most likely enjoy this album.

I read in a recent review that they sound "commercial". I can't imagine how someone could accuse them of that (though maybe I'm just not familiar enough with commercial music, since I haven't heard any in the past several years). This is, for my money, the most original prog metal band there is. But I enjoy their albums after this one more, as they head into a more dynamic symphonic direction with less of the metallic grind that shows up a lot on this album (though Scarsick sees something of a return to this). In any case, a solid 3 stars for me for this one.

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Send comments to infandous (BETA) | Report this review (#115892)
Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Right then. Where to start... How about... awesome!!! When I first heard a couple of PoS songs from their website it took me a while to get into it, but thank goodness I did. I had no idea what I was missing. Now that I have this album, I will definitely be investing in more music from this wonderful band.

Let's examine the reasons why I can justifiably give this album 5 stars.

Firstly, Daniel Gildenlöw's vocals are quite probably the best I've ever heard. He has got certainly the most diverse vocal capability of any singer I've heard (even some of the vocals on Ayreon's Human Equation, which are generally fantastic, don't compare) - from his beautiful mellow mid tenor range, to his soaring high notes delivered charismatically and with probably the best tone I've ever observed, then to his more aggressive metal singing which is also carried incredibly well. On top of that his pained screams (as displayed powerfully at the end of King of Loss and in Idioglossia) are truly heartwrenching, which really adds to the macabre nature of some of the lyrics. The spoken word sections may put off some listeners on the first hearing, but they certainly grew on me - adding to the 'dark and twisty' vibe in songs such as Used and Ashes in the first section of the album.

Secondly, the intelligence of the lyrics and the concept. And also, indeed, the fact that the lyrics in some places are incredibly moving. Although the album as a whole has a quite depressing feel, as it reflects all the darker sides of real-life, a lot of which is a reality for many people, it is possible to see there is hope here - especially reading some of the personal comments for each band member, it can be seen this album is not meant to throw the listener into a state of complete despair over the horrific trappings of life. It simply confronts those realities in a very powerful way.

Thirdly, the beautiful and intricately crafted songs. I promise, hearing is believing.

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Send comments to profskett (BETA) | Report this review (#116853)
Posted Friday, March 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Daniel Gindenlow has done it again with this masterpiece, The Perfect Element Part 1. Words cannot describe the amount of passion that was put into this CD. Words can also not describe how great this CD is, but I will try my best.

I'll admit that when I first got this Cd, it wasn't my favorite. I got it at the same time as some other albums, and this one did get a lot less play time. I later went back to this album after feeling like I neglected it, and what I heard amazed me. Firstly, just a note, this album is best enjoyed when reading the lyrics and listening at the same time. The words are very powerful, especially on the song "Dedication".

The singing varies a lot, from Daniels wonderful soft voice to his heavy voice, which some people label as "rapping". I disagree with this term, and say that it is more of a form of emotional yelling, as if he is angry for the events that took place (in this fictional album). He does a great job of only having this heavier form of singing only during the most emotional and angry parts of songs.

The songwriting is great. Pain of Salvation uses dynamics a lot to convey emotions. The guitar parts are all wonderful, the keyboards are used a lot for rhythms and melodies, and are used very well. The drumming is also great. Many of the songs have a lot of polyrhythms and syncopation (check out the tabs for songs like "Indoglossia", it's just amazing). PoS does a great job of keeping the listeners attention.

This Cd was surprisingly light for me. I thought it would be heavier, but there is actually a lot of soft sections. I enjoy this, because the transitions to the heavy sections are great. This Cd is a masterpiece that tells a powerful story of youth and the loss of innocence, and should be heard by every fan of progressive music.

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Send comments to asimplemistake (BETA) | Report this review (#117942)
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars An album that is both interesting and difficult to listen all the way through. This is in my opinion the weakest Pain of Salvation album. It focuses on Daniel's vocals and his storytelling, though I find this album to have his worst vocals to date. A huge problem I have with the album is the production and how the music feels overcrowded and overproduced. If you felt "Yes - Going for the One" had that annoying "overproduced" sound, wait until you hear this. Also, This album is very difficult to approach as it manages to use many different styles and genres into a unique sound of Progressive Metal

Used starts the album on a very disturbing note with a very raw metal-rap song. I particularly like the pre-choruses with him rapping angrily "Getting Used Away". It's very memorable, but I really don't like the melodic chorus. They really don't fit and aren't anything special on their own. In The Flesh is a chore to listen to, with some vocal melodies being very irritating. A supposedly soft-metal track focusing on the melody, but I think it's a big flaw in the album. The song ends unnecessarily with an instrumental so that it could connect [badly] with Ashes , a ballad that gets high praise but does nothing for me. The verses has an irritating keyboard/guitar unison riff on a loop and the chorus is as unmemorable as a Linkin' Park refrain. Morning on Earth is basically a guitar line done with harmonies and a decent melodic chorus. The vocal melodies are very unimaginative, sometimes even singing the guitar line which is awkward.

Idioglossia starts with an instrumental very much in the style of Dream Theater. It's not bad, especially when a bass riff begins after arounnd 50 seconds, the instrumental professionally melds into the first verse with a very nice guitar riff. The first chorus is a better reworking of the "Ashes" chorus, and the second chorus doesn't exist, it is a nice section with guitar solos. The last two minutes has that unbearable "overproduced" feel and over-processed vocals that ruin what could have been a good song. Her Voices is another unmemorable ballad with choruses that feel like they don't connect and are nothing special on their own, sounding again a bit like Linkin' Park. Thanksfully, at minute 4, a crazy instrumental comes that is really really good and saves the song. The instrumental reminds of the Pain of Salvation I love. The ending is as weak as the one in "Idioglassia" with that overproduced "wall of sound" feel that just doesn't work. Dedication is another musically dull ballad though it has a neat and unexpected symphonic burst around the middle. King of Loss is one of the better tracks ... with a very menacing sound and and a good first verse that teases you into getting you into a chorus but doesn't until three minutes passed. Unfortunately, the choruses are screechy and very annoying. The bridge around minute six to eight is very good and is another bright spot in this album. It is deep, complex, well-arranged, and contains an excellent guitar solo.

Reconciliation is not much more than a rewriting of "Morning On Earth" on a heavier tone. The verses are similar but with electric guitars instead of harmonics, the chorus are similar, the only major difference is the heavy pre-chorus that is pretty memorable. Song For the Innocent is at a point where I'm already tired of listening to this album, but I can't deny that this song is great. It sounds slightly happy at first but then turns into a hard rock monstrosity. Possibly the best song in the album for me. Falling continues the surprisingly high quality set by Song For The Innocent with a very emotional guitar solo that leads into the epic and last song of the album, which is an overall good lengthy song that brings the album to a close. It's not great, but it has some great moments.

So overall, I'd give it 2 stars for "fans only", but even if you are a fan, listen to the sample of the song in here in progarchives to see if you like it. This album for me is the worst album they ever did. I know I have given a poor review to "BE" but I would like to eventually change it to arouund 3.5 stars now that it 'clicked'. What bothers me in this album is that overproduced feel, lack of good melodies, Daniel's vocals (what happened to him in this album?), and the overall songwriting. I am a casual fan of Pain of Salvations and this is the only album that didn't do it for me, which is ironically the best one rated by far.

1. Used (C+) 2. In The Flesh (D) 3. Ashes (D+) 4. Morning On Earth (D+) 5. Ideoglossia (C) 6. Her Voices (C) 7. Dedication (C-) 8. King Of Loss (C) 9. Reconciliation (C-) 10. Song For The Innocent (B+) 11. Falling (A-) 12. The Perfect Element (C+)

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#124268)
Posted Friday, June 01, 2007 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Perfect Element is one of the first prog-metal albums that I picked up since coming to this site. I have played it countless times and have to admit that I just can't quite see the masterpiece that so many others do. I keep waiting for it to grab me like their later stuff has. I do like it and it is good but I don't think it's quite in the same league as Remedy Lane or Be.

As always the playing is just immaculate and I'm always most impressed with Hermansson and Hallgren. The both blow my mind off the map. My favorites are probably "In the Flesh" which has some great rock moments but also a nice light touch at the end with beautiful piano and acoustic. The lead-in to "Ashes" is really nice. I also love the "Falling" intro and the title track that closes the album. The drumming build-up towards the end is somewhat dramatic but even there it should have been more. I think this album was important in their maturation process and you can see tinges of the genius that would come on the future releases.

The booklet, lyrics, photos, and concept are all very well done. I really wish I could like it more but it doesn't move me very much. 3.25 stars for obvious talent and ambition. I would fervently push PoS newbies to head straight into Remedy and Be instead.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#140206)
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It's hard to image a more essential example of smart metal music than this absolutely masterful release from Pain of Salvation. "Perfect Element" is a wonderfully varied, powerful, emotive, and dynamic journey through creative songwriting and memorable playing.

The melodies are flat-out amazing, and will stick with the listener for a long time, while the dark rhythmic textures are an undeniable delight for fans of the genre. The songs flow into each other nicely, and feature the band's signature dynamics better than ever before; additionally, the guitar solos are of strikingly higher quality than those in previous albums. Of course, it's impossible not to acknowledge the amazing Daniel Gildenlow's vocals, which will in all probably leave their mark on the listener. His voice has an almost incomparable range when compared to other popular singers in the genre, and makes the album for me (try not to scream along to "Reconciliation"!).

As essential a progressive-metal release as there can possibly be-don't miss it!

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 5 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#144605)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars What can be said about this album? Oh! This is the first in a string of three absolute masterpieces by the band. Pain of Salvation finally fully realize the extreme potential they showed on their excellent previous two releases. The Perfect Element, Part 1 is one of the most powerful releases I've ever heard. It is dynamic, diverse, atmospheric, emotional and just downright amazing. Some songs are highly technical, some are fairly simple, but they all serve a purpose in the greater whole and still can be enjoyed individually. Daniel Gildenlow is simply a genius. There are so many fine details in the composition and production. Pain of Salvation just has to be heard to understand. And give it some time if you're not into it right away. I heard "In the Flesh" first and fell in love with it, but I had difficulty falling in love with the album. After hearing Remedy Lane and easily getting into it, I put this one back on and was just blown away.

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Send comments to Moatilliatta (BETA) | Report this review (#150654)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I'm not really surprised this album by Pain of Salvation is constantly high up in the ranking of best prog albums of all time. Every time I play this I'm astonished by the quality of the bands musicianship and the specialness of the compositions. This album simply breathes masterpiece status as I always say. And still I will give it four stars and that is caused by the style of the band which isn't 100% my cup of tea. Where prog metal is concerned I prefer the smoother style played by bands like Threshold and Vandenplas. PoS plays more in eclectic style, more original and innovative and actually more interesting and versatile too. But still sound and style suits me less I have to admit.

Therefore I can't go for the full score here. Title track The Perfect Element has always been and will always be one of their very best songs to me and really stands out. But in fact all the other songs on this exiting concept album are very worth while. Highly recommended; in fact for all proggers a must to explore, that is if you want to be an allround prog fan.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#159413)
Posted Monday, January 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The perfect Element Part 1 is such a great album. This was the first album by PoS I ever heard and it took me some time to understand PoS complex sound, this band uses many different styles and they can play really soft and melodic or really heavy.

The lyrics are great, Daniel Glidenlow vocals are just unbelievable good, The first song Used is one of the heaviest. My favorite song on the album is King of loss which is a fantastic song where Daniel is singing at his best I have to admit that since I first heard PoS Daniel Glidenlow has become the number one vocalist in my book just great.

The whole concept of the album is fantastic and the way the music complements this concept is awesome. The last song the perfect element is another one of my favorites but hey the entire album is a beauty, a masterpiece without a doubt..

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Send comments to eon_ (BETA) | Report this review (#161946)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Pain of Salvation - The Perfect Element 5 stars

An opus of progressive music, something that any fan should cherish.

This album is absolutely beautiful, an emotional powerhouse. The Perfect Element is a concept largely about growing up and the things that are experienced like violence, abuse and sex. This is a very dark and moody album, the emotion is perfectly brought out through the instruments as well as the lyrics. Passages and catchy melodies are revisited throughout the album, although they are altered, depending on the placement in the concept where it is conveyed.whether it is an uplifting moment or a deep end of the album that is nearly suicidal. Finally, to end my intro, this album contains two mini epics, 'King of Loss' and 'The Perfect Element' that will hopefully be remembered as the most emotional and progressive songs in the history of music. The Perfect Element tops every aspect that one is looking for in an album whether it would be compositionally, musically, emotionally and lyrically.

The line-up is unchanged from the previous album. Daniel Gildenlow (Guitars, Lead Vocals), Johan Halgren (Guitars, Vocals), Fredrik Hermannson (Keyboards), Kristoffer Gildenlow (Bass, Vocals) and Johan Langell (Drums, Vocals).

The album itself is split into three parts.without even knowing it prior the listener would definitely get the sense that it is certainly split up.

Chapter 1 - 'Used', 'In the Flesh', 'Ashes', 'Morning on Earth'. Right away the album starts off heavy, brought into an almost rap like verse with a trippy background. I was very unsure of what the hell happened, but then I was treated right back into a nice chorus where Daniel shows that he even grew more powerful as a singer. On top of the sweet chorus it gets repeated over and over as a new line is sung over it to end the first song. 'In the Flesh' is even more beautiful. This song is slow.a drastic change in tempo from the first song with very little repetition. More beautiful lyrics are sung as the song goes on and on until it is finally abruptly cutoff.and Daniel finishes his lines. 'Ashes' was kind of strange, had a lot of 'hit' potential. It was a good track, accessible, but very simplistic, I'm not taking anything away with it, I just don't really need to go in depth in describing it. Just like track 2, 'Morning on Earth' takes a break from the previous anger track, a beautiful ballad. The intro is some harmonics on the guitar.it gets brought back.but in an overdriven tone in a later track.

Chapter 2 - 'Idioglossia', 'Her Voices', 'Dedication', 'King of Loss'. 'Idioglossia' starts off chapter two that a tapped intro on the guitar.then the entire band comes in after it is repeated. One of the most powerful intro's I have ever heard on record, pretty intense. The song has a nice structure.it is built up with some fast tempo'd stuff and pretty fancy guitar work. This leads into some smooth emotional breakdowns and the 'Ashes' chorus is repeated a few times throughout the song, a different way every time too. There is also a beautiful guitar solo on here. Pain of Salvation is really starting to show their mastery of conceptual work. 'Her Voices' is one of my favorites. The intro is a piano and vocal ballad most just those two till about two minutes in. Most of this track is non- distorted, until the middle.one of my favorite parts on the album. At first, the track takes a drastic turn.there is nearly an African like vibe with the drums.the guitar and bass mimic some line into each other, followed by Daniel doing some single string picking up and down the fret. Finally it goes into another one but it sounds entirely medieval.like at a damn ye olde fare or something. I feel like Pain of Salvation is just slapping the listeners in the face.showing they can throw this in there and execute it perfectly. It is quickly followed by an operatic backing chant with some violin leads summoned in. this is nirvana. 'Dedication' is the next track, giving us a damn break from all the excitement. It is another one of those piano and vocal ballads. Again with the non-distorted guitars and soft drumming. This piece leads right into the first mini-epic, 'King of Loss'. 'King of Loss' is one of the greatest prog tracks ever written. Why may you ask? There is something out of place on this track, the first 6 minutes are kind of repetitive.until randomly the chorus in progress ends.the song takes a completely different turn, with dueling vocals along with some counter point piano work and this haunting guitar line that repeats and repeats. Eventually the vocal lines fade out and the guitar is accompanied with violins.giving the most beautiful lines ever written. Finally the guitar solo begins.you don't know the meaning of feeling and beauty until you hear this, every note just feels like blood has been shed to make it, absolutely beautiful. The chorus is brought back in.from here on out; the album takes a drastic turn that makes it epic status.

Chapter 3 - 'Reconciliation', 'Song for the Innocent', 'Falling', 'The Perfect Element' These four tracks work together to close the album out the right way. Reconciliation takes the harmonic intro from 'Morning on Earth' and turns it into a regular guitar line accompanied by the rest of the band.very sweet and melodic. The lyrics play an important role of this song. 'Song for the Innocent' has another epic solo in it, mimicking the end of 'Her Voices' just a beautiful rendition of the previous vocal arrangement for that track. 'Falling' is a 1:50 second guitar solo accompanied by a synth chords.sounds like just a chorus sound. It is another wonderful one indeed and it leads right into the epic title track, 'The Perfect Element'. What to say about this one.the band is ready to put their instruments down and goes out with a bang. The intro is an arpeggiated line on the guitar followed by distorted chord version of it with the entire band playing. Daniel uses layered vocals to really get the message out that the character is looking back and concluding his/her thoughts. The chorus is extremely beautiful followed by some really nice rhythm work REALLY TOUGH TIME SIGNATURES AND PATTERNS. The drums in the outro are really intense, with Johann just pounding away on them. Again, I get another African-like vibe.

I doubt anyone read this review all the way through so I will say this. I don't hesitate to call this album perfect, it did everything that was possible to make an album essential. This is an album that truly deserves a 5 star rating. I really cannot chose between this and 'Remedy Lane'.the follow up record. All I can say is this album is more 'epic' while 'Remedy Lane' is possibly one of the most emotional records ever made in music. Anyway, 'The Perfect Element' is an essential album that any human being should own.

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Send comments to ProgBagel (BETA) | Report this review (#161947)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This stuff fits my definition of emo-prog--real angry music (and at times increidbly sad and morose). I'm not one to get very emotionally involved in my music, but this is one of those rare albums that can't help but pull me in. That's probably one reason why I don't listen to it very much.

The Perfect Element, at least to me, is one of those rare albums where all the songs really do run together and form one cohesive piece. Given this, I'll just try to point out the highlights and lowlights (though of course the highlights far outnumber the lowlights).

The highlights: Used, In the Flesh, Idioglossia, Her Voices, King of Loss, Reconciliation. These songs are absulote prog gold--full of great melodies, tons of interesting stuff going on (the occasional yawning fretless bass, guitar harmonies, grungy/dirty textures, and vocal harmonies), and of course plenty of captivating lyrics, excellently performed (most notbably by Gildenlow). Used really breaks the the album through on a high--somehow bouncy and depressing at the same time. Reconciliation is the perfect summary song for a concept album--bringing both melody and theme together before the big finale, while the rest are longer songs, and each definitely worth listening all the way through each time. My favorite is Her Voices, with an absolutely inspired jam in the middle, though Idioglossia is a close second with its sheer catchiness.

Un-highlights: Ashes, Morning on Earth, Dedication, The Perfect Element. I call these un-highlights to be clear that they are far from lowlights. Ashes is just too simple to represent the album as the song that most people will hear. Morning on Earth and Dedication are simply too slow--there are plenty of slow moments on the album, and these are simply unnecesary. The most unfortunate letdown is the title track, which has the length and melody to put it over the top, but unfortunately all the best material has been already used, and the result is a conclusion not fitting of a true masterpiece.

Pain of Salvation have come painfully close to a masterpiece, but they are not quite there, due to the occasional drop in tempo (and emotion) and the rather non-descrpt finale. Otherwise, I have to admit that this is a fantastic album, and you owe it to yourself to track it down, even if you are like me and are not in the proper mood to appreciate it's dreary and intesne outlook very often.

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#163017)
Posted Sunday, March 02, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Almost perfect.

Curiously enough it took me a lot of time to get into Pain Of Salvation’s music. For the first time I heard of this perfect band in 2004 and the first album I listened to was exactly The Perfect Element – Pain Of Salvation’s best and most complicated album to date IMHO.

The album grew on me for some years of countless and tireless listens and finally I fell in love with The Perfect Element (and later with other PoS albums) in 2006. Pain Of Salvation is definitely a progressive rock band, for the band plays top-notch and their own progressive metal, not typical prog-metal, not Dream Theater-prog-metal. Pain Of Salvation is as important for prog-metal genre as Dream Theater is, as the band managed to create their own sound and play with passion, play inspired music and write thoughtful and intelligent lyrics.

Used (8.5/10) is a nice opener with some verses sang in hip-hop manner, but that will do – Daniel is certainly a gifted man and a great singer. In The Flesh (10/10) is the second song on the album and maybe my second favourite after Idioglossia (10/10), which is absolutely stunning. When I hear Daniel singing “Fly away, don’t be afraid, don’t hesitate...” it sends shivers down my spine! There are some nice solos here, and guitar work is great overall. Ashes (8.5/10) is PoS’s famous song and I like it. The chorus is powerful and moving. Morning On Earth (7/10) is in some way an intermission – just a nice ballad with great vocals and some acoustic guitars. Idioglossia, as I’ve already said, is one of the best songs by PoS. Very proggy. Her Voices (9/10) starts with a mellow keyboard intro, which gets heavier due to a heavy guitar riff. There are some nice sections in the middle of the song, which are very complex. I also like the next track - Dedication (8/10), which shows softer side of Pain Of Salvation. Very gentle and delicate music with great vocals. I have some problem with King Of Loss (7.5/10), which is liked by almost all PoS’s fans. I just can’t get into it, though I like the solo at the end of the track. Reconciliation (7/10) starts with pretty guitars and has some nice solos in the middle, but overall it’s not the best track on the album by far. Song For The Innocent (7.5/10) has a very moving guitarsolo. Although the song is heavy, it reminds me of Pink Floyd. Falling (7/10) is just an intro to the grand finale - The Perfect Element (9/10). I can’t describe my feelings when I listen to the intro and the main riff – these moments are perhaps one of the best PoS has ever composed. This song is not far from being a masterpiece, but I can’t give it 10, for it’s too long and the middle section is quite dragged out, frankly speaking. Though, a very powerful ending of the great album...

Inspiration. Power. Might. Spirit. 4+. Excellent album.

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Send comments to Paper Champion (BETA) | Report this review (#163977)
Posted Saturday, March 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is the first in a wonderful string of masterful albums by the band. Usually quality this high takes a break, but not for this one, Remedy Lane, and BE. This is where Pain of Salvation truly began to be Pain of Salvation. The music is now their own. No more imitations of other progressive metal bands. In The Perfect Element, Part I, the band writes songs that work on their own, in their groups, and on the whole. This is how a concept album should work. The production is much better here than in their two previous ones. Yes, this here is where they truly stand out as their own band, and no longer can they really be compared to any other band except for bits and pieces and possibilities of inspiration.

The guitar is finally right in the mix. The rhythm pieces carry enough growl to keep the music heavy, but also keep enough flair to have something to say. The solos have never been better. The bass explodes with speed and style consistently, providing the necessary undercarriage for their sound. The drums are incredibly unique, totally unstandard, and refreshingly fun throughout. His cymbal work is fast and complicated. And by this time, the keyboards have found not only their niche but a set of sounds that complement the band and sound pretty awesome in their own right. There are issues with this release, namely a few points of worthless noodling and a few songs that really don't pack as much punch as it seems they should. But considering how significant this is of a Pain of Salvation album, if you like the band at all you should find yourself rather enjoying this one.

And then there's the absolute highlight of this album: Daniel Gildenlow. It's not enough that he writes fantastic lyrics that explode deep and dark subjects with intelligence and empathy. It's not enough that he composes both catchy and creative vocal lines throughout. It's not enough that he creates awkward and delicate harmonies that still confound me as to how they work. Apparently, Daniel decided that it's important to have one of the most dynamic, powerful, and unique voices in the whole genre. His range is just staggering. Wicked screams in Reconciliation and Idioglossia give me chills every time. Roaring, shrieking, rapping, whispering, and so forth all appear at various times in this album. Highlights include the wide range of vocals and vocal talents on the heavy opener Used, the complex proggy metal intro to Idioglossia, the heartbreak of Dedication, the sheer atmosphere of King of Loss, and the percussive finale to the album.

Yeah. It's worth it. Very unique, very different, very weird, but definitely very moving and powerful.

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Send comments to LiquidEternity (BETA) | Report this review (#168662)
Posted Friday, April 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pain of Salvation(PoS) is really a fantastic band in terms of creativity and amibition. After seeing a countless number of five stars on almost all of their albums, I decided to truly give them a chance. Even though my initial view of PoS was that it was not my bag.

This album contains so much; Great vocal harmonies, heavy riffs, soaring melodies, rap(?!), falsetto screams and a truckload of fantastic musical moments. If you even slightly like PoS I truly recommend you to lay your hands on this cd and get ready to be pleased. For those of us who aren't initialy(or even after ten listens) attracted by this band, I still say that it's worth giving a shot, since it's in my oppinion the best album they've yet recorded.

BUT(did you see it coming?) even the sun has spots and however impressive PoS from time to time are, I can't shake the feeling that they sometimes are trying too hard. Daniel and the rest of the band want so much from their music and are all in their own aspect brilliant, but I sense a bit of desperation when Daniel and the boys lay down that hundreth solo/wail/scream. However much I may enjoy brilliant chops I don't really see the reason to overuse them, perhaps it's just that they are TOO good? Who can tell?

All in all, a fantastic album. With slightly less virtuoso and a bit more tastefulness this band would pretty much destroy their competition. But until that day, I am not convinced.

3/5

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Send comments to Lezaza (BETA) | Report this review (#169833)
Posted Sunday, May 04, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars First of all, I would like to thank the ProgArchives community for bringing Pain of Salvation to my attention. I saw the high ratings and decided to try them out. I've purchased four albums so far: The Perfect Element Part I, Remedy Lane, Be, and 12:5 and have thoroughly enjoyed each one.

For me, Pain of Salvation bridges the gap between my Neo Prog (Marillion, Pendragon, Arena), Prog Metal (Dream Theater, Devin Townsend, Riverside), and Prog Related (Coheed and Cambria) tastes. PoS covers that entire range quite well and then some. Even their heaviest material maintains musical integrity without resorting to thrashing, machine-gun drums, vocal growling, or skill showboating (a reason why prog metal is often hit or miss for me). Their music has great harmonies, soaring emotion, violent rage, and gentle melodies. Add to that one of the best vocalists I've ever heard and this band clearly demonstrates that it is a rare find.

I wasn't very impressed the first time I heard this album, but as with all great prog, it takes time to fully absorb and appreciate the music. On my third listen, this became probably my favorite PoS album. It is more cohesive as a album and has a more consistent style than Remedy Lane. There aren't any weak songs and each song has least one remarkable musical signature. That being said, the title track The Perfect Element is the highlight with my favorite part being the middle section at around 5 minutes in (such emotion!).

Songs: Used (8/10), In the Flesh (9/10), Ashes (8/10), Morning on Earth (8/10), Idioglossia (8/10), Her Voices (9/10), Dedication (8/10), King of Loss (9/10), Reconciliation (8/10), Song for the Innocent (9/10), Falling (7/10), The Perfect Element (10/10)

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Send comments to hattrick (BETA) | Report this review (#175551)
Posted Saturday, June 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars IMO, it is probably the best POS release so far. If you would just forget about the loudly vocals of the opening "Used", this album starts quite promisingly. Melodies are not alien "Ashes" but I'm lacking some more creative instrumental parts.

When I listen to "Morning On Earth", the very good "Arena" is not far away (mostly thanks to the vocals which are quite Rob Snowden oriented). This is the most melodic song of the whole: almost mellowish!

It is quite the opposite of "Idioglossia" which starts as a total metal song (extremely "Dream Theater" oriented). It combines the heaviest sounds with subtle and melodic vocal parts. But this is a consistency for the genre and the combination works pretty good. This is one of the best numbers out of this album. Johan Hallgren finally woke up and delivered some great (but short) lead guitar instants.

Another very good song is "Her Voices". It starts as a true rock ballad but evolves into a fantastic and wild hard-rock atmosphere. The extremely well crafted and performed final part is just a jewel. Unfortunately, it won't be repeated. The next two songs are pretty much forgettable, but for different reasons.

While "Dedication" is just a filler ballad, "King Of Loss" is too much metal oriented even if there are some fine vocal harmonies and a wonderful guitar solo towards the end.

But the catchy "Reconciliation" does it work on me: a mix of prog and metal. I guess that it is only the essence of the genre.The problem that I have with this album is that it is either too metal or too mellow at times.

"Song For The Innocent" also mixes both elements, but it only shines during the emotional guitar solo. This is renewed during the short instrumental "Falling".

The long closing and title song is the most progressive one: it combines crystal clear acoustic guitar, fine background violins, moving vocals and delicate piano (that's for the prog side which prevailed). Some heavy riffs and a strong structure are just there to remind us that POS is a special band. A highlight.

This is a good album which could have been shorter: "Morning On Earth" and "Dedication" could have been easily avoided. Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#182427)
Posted Sunday, September 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars HEIR TO OPERATION MINDCRIME

For many years, the classic masterpiece Mindcrime was my standard for the best metal album of all time. Despite looking far and wide, I had never found a suitable companion. I had heard and liked PoS previously (mainly tracks from Entropia) and owned many other Queensryche albums. But the Perfect Element is the only album I have found that is a worthy successor. I would argue that this is intentional, that PoS had Operation Mindcrime was part of the work that most influenced the album, just as the Wall influenced Queensryche.

Clearly Geoff Tate was a huge influence on frontman Daniel Gildenlow's vocal style. But Gildenlow has expanded the vocabulary greatly, including influences by the vocal genius Mike Patton. The often mentioned rap-style is much more reminiscent of Faith No More than R&B, and on this album fits well in my opinion.

The songs themselves are strong, and though they flow together into one work very seamlessly, each one has something to offer. Much like Mindcrime, the equivalent of the first side of the disc is nearly flawless, but here the second half keeps up its end of the bargain even better. King of Loss and the title track are very strong.

Furthermore, TPE is much more classically progressive than Mindcrime. More changes in time, timbre, more variety in sounds. The lyrics and storyline are less straightforward and this could be a plus or a minus depending on your preference. (I actually like the clarity of the storyline in Mindcrime. As anti- establishment as Gildenlow is, he will never match Revolution Calling for its eerily timeless critique of corrupt capatilism.)

Having now listened to all of PoS early catalog, and some of their most recent work, I have little problem saying this is their best album by far. Both Entropia and Remedy Lane have their moments that I really enjoy, but no other album works from the first note to the last as well as this one. Highly recommended to say the least as it is my #2 Prog metal album of all time.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#187593)
Posted Saturday, November 01, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars First of all, Pain of Salvation is one of the most original bands I have ever heard, if not the most original. Each album is uniquely different from the rest. I listen to all of them quite a bit. Daniel Gildenlow and Pain of Salvation have done an incredible job writing some of the best music out there. As far as The Perfect Element is concerned, it is probably my overall favorite Pain of Salvation album. The album starts out with an intense feel to it with "Used." It is one powerful track that draws the line between scary and beautiful. Each track thereafter just builds your wanting to hear more, until finally, you reach "Beyond The Pale," the incredible, 10 min. closing track. The vocal harmonies on this album have an eerie sound to them and are very haunting. Daniel Gildenlow displays great range and many different styles when it comes to his singing. The melody from beginning to end will leave you drained afterward. There are just so many great vocal layers. As far as the tone and distortion of the guitar, I think it could be a little heavier, but the musicianship from it is miraculous from both Halgren and Gildenlow. The drumming can be rather chaotic at times and pleasantly unnoticable at other times. The bass and keyboard complement the rest of the band well, but, do not play a major role. Without them though, the music would be empty. In short, not many other bands could write something this emotional and epic. I'll keep this cd in my top 10 for a long time.

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Send comments to peart_lee_lifeson (BETA) | Report this review (#204057)
Posted Sunday, February 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars As I walked through the ashes...

My word...what an emotionally provocative and brilliant album. This is the kind of music that shoots chill after chill through your entire body and leaves you physically and mentally drained after listening to the entire piece in one sitting.

Each song is a progressive mix of emotive atmosphere. and each song has multiple parts and sections. From the thick metal of Used, driving off into the powerful and emotional chorus. The songs are a roller coaster of passion and emotion. Did I forget to mention that this album is highly EMOTIONAL?!

The songs are filled with lilting piano melodies, and thick violent guitar portions. Captivating synthesizer effects, and Gidenlow's astonishing vocal delivery. The lyrics are nothing short of poetry, and lead you into a damp and bleak world.

Ashes is the album's Single and has quite a dark feel. Honestly, the entire album is dark. Idioglossia is the album's highlight.... so amazing. possibly the perfect song. The solo that is Falling near the end of the album is melancholy and brilliant, leading into the final song, and title track. It is a culmination of dark brooding pain, and shining heartfelt passion.

My Final Rating is 5 stars

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#208997)
Posted Friday, March 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars There is so much to say about this absolutely perfect album. Pain of Salvation nailed it again. The first two releases by the Swedish progressive metal band, while great in their own respect, only hinted at the perfection that they would soon achieve with this album. There isn't a single flaw on this entire album. One thing I praise Pain of Salvation for doing is creating a new type of progressive metal. The modern day prog metal scene is crowded with too many Dream Theater clones (I love DT, but it gets annoying). Pain of Salvation has a more experimental type sound, uses various influences, and isn't nearly as heavy (for the most part).

Pain of Salvation's frontman, Daniel Gildenlow, is the foundation of the band. He writes all of the music (except a small section in "Her Voices", which he co-wrote). You also have to respect the incredible voice this guy has. At first listen, I found the singing style very different. He can sing really high pitches, he does borderline growls sometimes, and he even occasionally raps! Now if this sounds like too much for you, it very well might be. Pain of Salvation has am signature sound that can't be compared to anything else. This album will determine if you like them or not, and is a great starting place for anyone looking for a different type of progressive metal.

The Perfect Element is a concept album that has many lyrical themes and a few musical reprises. This album doesn't have an overture or a prelude, but it has many reprises throughout the album and is used perfectly. I love how in almost every song on this album they combine dark sections with lighthearted and emotional sections that flow perfectly. For example, in the opening song "Used" it sounds very dark and heavy, but then it has a beautiful section that flows back into the dark section.

This album is tied with Dream Theater's "Scenes From A Memory" as my favorite progressive metal album. Now, just because you like Dream Theater, Symphony X, etc. it does not necessarily mean you will like Pain of Salvation's signature sound. I think that you would have to have an open mind to music, and you will love this as much as I do. This is definitely in my top 10 albums of all time, and is Pain of Salvation's magnum opus. An album I would recommend to any progressive rock fan willing to listen to a type of music no other band has ever achieved.

5/5 stars without any hesitation.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#223108)
Posted Thursday, June 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars After releasing an amazing debut, and a paralleled sophomore album; the third album was less of a challenge, because once you have 2 amazing albums, the third is basically an excuse to continue your good work.

I feel that this album is in ways better than the first 2, mixing elements of both albums, but still retaining a unique approach.

This album was in many ways, a perfect element?you can't get a better pun than that.

The concept in ways is much darker than the first 2, due to the fact that it deals with the loss of innocence within childhood. The language used is very interesting, and Daniel really does pour his heart and soul into everything he does.

1.Used ? Dark and disturbing. The intro is very "grabbing by the balls." The lyrics are quite dark and very disturbing. Daniels angry vocals really give a sense of character. The guitar solo is probably one of the greatest solo's I have ever heard. The last vocal note, is incredibly high and the climax leading to it sends a shiver down my spine every time I hear it. Amazing, This song is also an amazing song to hear them play live. I heard it's their most complicated song for the band.

2.In The Flesh ? Quite dark and disturbing, but very beautiful in places. Very epic and emotional. One of their better songs in my opinion.

3.Ashes ? The single from the album. The toy piano does add a very childlike effect. Great chorus and it remains a fan favourite and a theme throughout the album.

4.Morning On Earth ? A laid back moment. You need one after the first 3 songs. Very beautiful and very calm.

5.Idioglossia ? A kick ass bass riff and amazing polyrhythms. Very dramatic and very memorable. The instrumental parts in this song are amazing.

6.Her Voices ? Quite eerie but still very epic. Quite catchy as well.

7.Dedication ? Another more laid back moment. The Pain Of Salvation laid back moments are quite a thrill.

8.King Of Loss ? Probably one of my favourite songs of theirs. This song is very out there when it comes to arrangements. I love the lyrics and the tune of the chorus, quite sad but very frightening.

9.Reconciliation - One of their better riffs. The piano and guitar parts are very kick ass and beautiful.

10.Song For The Innocent ? Laid back. What more can I say?

11.Falling ? Brief interlude basically.

12.The Perfect Element ? This song is a good end to the album, but to be honest, it doesn't match up to Beyond The Pale. I love the rhythmic drums that end the song.

CONCLUSION: An amazing album. Incredibly infectious and an incredible listening experience. Buy it now. If you haven't heard of this band yet, then you are missing out on so much.

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Send comments to arcane-beautiful (BETA) | Report this review (#266993)
Posted Friday, February 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars This album was my introduction to Pain Of Salvation and listening to it today it's safe to say that The Perfect Element Part 1 has so far withstood the test of remaining my favorite release from Daniel and his band.

The most prominent thing about this album is its magnificent flow from beginning and right to the last note! This flow does sacrifice most of the band's usual progressive metal elements but considering its status it seems like the fans really don't mind this all that much. The Perfect Element Part 1 did mark a significant change in the band's attitude towards their development. First off the music is much more delicate and harmonic. The vocal harmonies that have previously only been used sparsely have now been implemented in almost every instance where the music calls for the occasion. On top of that almost 80% of the material here is played in a slow ballad like style.

For me all of the previously mentioned changes are very positive and in the instances where the band combines them with their top notch material the results become mesmerizing to say the least! In The Flesh is a perfect example of this instance where everything to the minimal little detail just works so well. Incidentally it's also my favorite Pain Of Salvation composition to this day and the track just gets better every time I hear it. King Of Loss might not have as strong concluding section but it's almost as excellent as In The Flesh and holds a high position on my list.

So after all this praise why am I restraining this album from receiving the highest possible rating? Well, to be fair all is definitely not perfect with this release. First off its running time of 70+ minutes is rather unnecessary because many of the musical themes do get rehashed in the process plus I never understood the greatness of the album-titled conclusion track. I honestly don't consider it to be a worthy ending to such a great album. But all of these faults are most probably attributed to my second and most important complaint, namely that I don't care much for this album's concept. The lyrics are often sharp but at the same time I find them rather insipid.

Non-the-less this is definitely the Pain Of Salvation album I would recommend to everyone who is interested in exploring this unique and existing band!

***** star songs: Used (5:23) In The Flesh (8:36) King Of Loss (9:46) Reconciliation (4:24) Falling (1:50)

**** star songs: Ashes (4:28) Morning On Earth (4:34) Ideoglossia (8:29) Her Voices (7:56) Dedication (4:00) Song For The Innocent (3:02) The Perfect Element (10:09)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#267337)
Posted Sunday, February 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 10/10

"The Perfect Element" is not only Pain Of Salvation's magnum opus, but also one of the great metal albums of our time.

2001 was probably the best year for progressive in the 00's: Devin Townsend's "Terria", Maudlin Of The Well's "Bath" and "Leaving Your Body Map", Tool's "Lateralus", Green Carnation, "Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness", and Pain Of Salvation's "The Perfect Element", certainly the band's magnum opus.

The album has everything a prog metal should have: fast, heavy and technical moments, light, beautiful ballads, long, complex songs, and great musicianship, especially for singer and guitarist Daniel Gildenlow. Also, "The Perfect Element" has a lot of songs for a prog album, twelve. Some are long (but never more than ten minutes), some are short, so it is balanced well.

The production is good, highlighting the excellent musicianship of all members. What makes the structure of the album so unique is the amazing, amazing flow these songs have of one another; "The Perfect Element" is sure a concept album, about losing innocence, rape, murder, concentrating particularly on childhood and adolescence. But even for this sort of record, the flow is unlike no other album. From "Used" to the title track, the band shows in this particular album how eclectic they are, from a Nu-Metal friendly tune to a progressive one, from an aggressive, but somewhat melancholic metal part, to a haunting and beautiful calm piece. Indeed, the album intends to be listened to all at once, just like a concept album, like one long song. As this is a concept album, many hooks return in different parts of the album, making the album even more solid.

"Used" is the friendliest song here, it almost doesn't sound anything like progressive. But then comes "In The Flesh", eight wonderful minutes, (where Gildenlow's vocals dominate everything else) that build so majestically that only a fool wouldn't call it ambitious as hell. Many of the long songs work that way, like the title track, possibly the band's best song ever, or "King Of Loss", a dreadful and soul crushing experience because of it's utterly haunting moments. Even "Her Voices" works this way, another excellent builder, very climactic. Some other songs though couldn't be more different, like the wild "Idioglossia", or "Reconciliation". And then they are the short, calm ones, like "Song For The Innocent", "Morning On Earth" or "Dedication". An album that creates, unfolds, rebuilds, reduces to smithereens, there and back again.

"The Perfect Element" surely is not only Pain Of Salvation's magnum opus, but also one of the great metal albums of our time that have a strong progressive influence, and automatically are called Progressive Metal. But attributing that label to this record would be a huge injustice to the music that lies within it.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#275312)
Posted Monday, March 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The best way I can describe Pain of Salvation is prog-metal with a nu-metal attitude. Some may like that, some may despise it. I kind of fell somewhere in between.

This album starts out with "Used", which, unfortunately, sounds like Korn trying to be Dream Theater. I'm dead serious. So, I despise that track.

But after Used, the album soon becomes much more proggy, using little to no more rap and more melodic song structures, eventually concluding to the final title track, which I was very, very impressed by, even if the lyrics seem a little uninspired.

Overall, I'd recommend this to System of a Down and nu-metal fans looking to try out prog. It's a pretty good gateway drug. I would NOT recommend this to anyone who doesn't like metal of any kind, especially those who dislike Limp Bizkit and Hed P.E.

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Send comments to CinemaZebra (BETA) | Report this review (#278763)
Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars Pain of Salvation's "The Perfect Element Part 1" is the third POS item I acquired and it is a real departure from what I had expected after listening to "Remedy Lane" and watching the wonderful "Ending Themes" DVD. I recognised a lot of tracks from the live DVD such as 'Used' but the studio versions are way more polished and easier to listen to. The production on this album is excellent. I like the vocals better too on the studio versions. The concept of this album is rather heavy handed but you can bypass it for the quality of the tracks. I like the lyrics on this though they are dark and brooding culminating in a final immolation of the protagonist. The tracks range from incredibly heavy to incredibly melancholy.

Used is a heavy opener that has a great vocal from Daniel, low and ominous in the verses and heavier when he sings "getting used to pain..." the rapping lyrics are angry and intense; "I am the unclean, The black drop at the bottom of your cup, You'd better drink or throw me up, 'Cause I am on your lip and tongue, God, I'm not yours as much as you are mine, So let me in to be your lung, Just breathe me deep and take another sip So still, A taste so sweet but so bitter the kill, Still on your lip, You are so close..." fairly nasty lyrics with an emo feel in some sense, and a very symphonic sound is present.

In The Flesh features a quiet vocal on the verses and a lovely guitar lick. It builds in tempo during the mid section. There is an odd time signature at about 4 minutes into the track. It changes feel after 5 minutes and gets heavier. It mellows out again completely toward the ending and there is an excellent acoustic instrumental section with Fredrik's piano. A very moody, evocative song.

Ashes is a well known POS song and has a great vampiric film clip to promote this album. The clip is genuinely creepy with chilling images of a sick old man fondling a mannequin, a couple of lovers romping naked and then covered in ashes, little children, a bath full of gore and a woman lying in it with a snorkel, and Daniel leering into the camera clad in black. The track features a deep menacing vocal in the verses and a louder chorus; "as we walk through the ashes I whisper your name...". The sound is ominous and Gothically dark. There is a musical box chime that plays throughout giving that creepy feeling of innocence lost, the theme of death pervades all.

Morning On Earth has a pastoral feel, an orchestrated approach, with calming vocals. It flows along with lucid keyboards sustained. There are some fascinating lyrics here; "I am the tears in your mouth, I am the weight on your shoulder, I am the scream that wants out, And my heart just couldn't grow colder, Now this rusty heart is my gift, This fallen love is my gift..." The musical box sound appears at the beginning and end, almost like a toy piano.

Ideoglossia is 8 and a half minutes of fantastic metal. The guitar riff at the beginning builds with heavy distortion, bass and drums. An awesome sound drives this one headlong with a very unusual time sig. The lyrics spell out the pain of the protagonist encountering death; "Kneeling in whirlpools, Of pink champagne, Celebrating the bravery of my pain, Something broke And no water could ever wash, The anger from that first stain, I scratched the surface to find Someone wicked and blind, Where did it come to that end? Why can't these scars ever mend?" The riffs are very intricate, complex musicianship. The vocals are kind of like rap, the type of thing found on "Scarsick". The track slows suddenly and changes back to fast without warning. It even reprises 'Ashes' chorus. There are some wonderful harmonies too. This is glorious metal, one of the best on this album.

Her Voices runs for 8 minutes and is dominated by strong keyboard staccato passages. Very gentle vocals of Daniel carry the song again in a beautiful style but with darkly sinister lyrics. It builds to an interesting faster riff and very loud chunky guitar licks. The flute sound is arresting and works well to balance the metal sounds. Once again this is a mini epic that soars into the stratosphere. It is so well played with a very complicated structural framework. The majestic feel is solid and it builds to a crescendo, one of POS' ultimate tracks.

Dedication is a quiet track with soft vocals, acoustic and piano. It has an atmosphere of impending doom and loss. "I still can't believe that you are not around, That your warm voice won't make another sound, Sure I understand, but I never will accept, That you should be gone, I watched you die, And I have feared this moment Since I was just a child, So why that sunny sky? When my beloved grandfather Lies dead here cold and still?"

King Of Loss is a 10 minute mini epic beginning with intricate guitar riffs and piano with heartfelt vocals. The piano is creepy, there are some brilliant time sigs that shift at stages. When the vocals are sung "I am the king of loss!" the track builds to a heavier feel and a delicious chord structure, loud keyboard stabs and ambient sounds. The pace quickens as the next verses are sung; "Mother, I wish that we could talk, You see I'm not fit to play this game, Bound by its rules just the same, My talents turned to talons, Every monetary pile, Will buy me a precious smile... smile... So smile for the King of Loss Feed from the juices Bleeding from this cross Then tell me our lives mean more Than this vain thirst!..." The lead break by Johan on this track is divine, very emotional and creative with orchestrated sections.

Reconciliation has a catchy riff and a moderate rock beat, a more accessible track for the band. Interesting lyrics about the guilt of the protagonist, "I'm sick of running away... I've washed my hands of your blood, Thought it would leave me clean, But with time on my hands, It turned to mud forming this crust of sin, Now to be truly free, I'll let it come to me So break me if you must, When you break this crust, Freedom is to see, Hear this voice, see this man, Standing before you I'm just a child, Just a man learning to yield... I hate what these eyes have seen".

Song For The Innocent features Daniel's gentle vocals, ethereal guitars and Fredrik's haunting piano. The moderate rock beat gives it a kick along and it has a great chorus with loud crunching guitars.

Falling is a beautiful guitar solo by Johan that is very popular with budding guitarists as you may note on YouTube the amount of guitarists giving this a go. It is a very pretty melancholy tune and emotional in line with the context of the concept of a man falling deeper into sin.

The Perfect Element is a 10 minute album closer that is one of the best from POS. It begins with the familiar guitar riff, then a wall of sound is generated with orchestrated synths from Fredrik. The lyrics are as dark as it gets; "Stealing meaning from this child, We took away his reason, His soul put under lock and key, His heart blackened from treason, But if you take from those you fear, Everything they value, You have bred the perfect beast, Drained enough to kill you...Falling far beyond the point of no return Nothing to become and nothing left to burn...Watching unseen untouched bleeding Empty exposed dying eyes closed." At 7 minutes in the beat changes and the track shifts into a fast tempo with multi layered tracks. The album ends with a huge finale, and the chapter is closed on this part of the concept.

The album overall is one to listen to from end to end as the tracks blend together into one seamless track. The concept is creepy but this should not detract from the brilliant music. Daniel's vocals take some getting used to but it is a unique sound that POS generates and one to revel in with blasts of symphonic, Gothic nu metal and passages of deep ambience.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#280680)
Posted Thursday, May 06, 2010 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars On Pain of Salvation's third they fully established themselves as a progressive metal force to be reckoned with. The album is well-written, diverse and it has some true highlights. Only, there's too few of them.

The album starts very strongly with 3 hard rocking prog-metal songs. As in most prog-metal there's some layers of cheese to bite through but you get used to that after a couple of listens. The Faith No More inspired Ashes offers a solid highpoint but from there on the ride goes quickly downhill. The emphasis shifts too much to the vocals, not that Daniel Gildenlöw's vocals can be criticized in any way, but I lack the daft musicianship and inventive songwriting of the opening songs.

In fact most of the song-writing restricts itself to extended ballad formats, of the rather sentimental kind I must say. There are some heavier prog sections like King Of Loss that deserve our attention but overall, my amazement at the highly acclaimed masterpiece standing of this album only increases as it proceeds. Luckily it ends on a high note with the album closer.

The Perfect Element is a good album that could have been excellent if it had more highlights and less average balladry. Really, there are few bands that can go on unpunished for 72 minutes, and PoS certainly can't here.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#284141)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars For some reason I just could not get into this band. The songs that I picked at first did not capture my attention and seemed to just wander around with no purpose. Eventually, because I saw that this band garnered so much praise and a fairly large fan base, I decided to give them another try by buying this album. At first, I did not really find this to be all that enthralling or memorable. The music just seemed to go on and never piqued my attention. I had never really even made it to the end of the album. After trying again and again, listen after listen, I finally made it to the end, but was still not wholeheartedly impressed, yet I was beginning to like the music more and more. Once the title track played, I finally understood why this band has such a large and faithful following. That song, in short, is one of my favorite 10 minute songs that I've heard yet.

After I realized that I love that song, I began to listen to the album again, but with new ears. Although it still took a bit of time for me, I finally began to appreciate the music. The songs gained coherity that I had never before been able to find in them. In fact, I began to like nearly all of them. They began to tell the story that Gildenlow had crafted, and I finally saw that each song was very well crafted and involved some incredible songwriting and musicianship. And, of course, Gildenlow's voice is perfect for telling the story with such zeal.

I can't really find any faults in this album anymore.

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Send comments to Mystery (BETA) | Report this review (#353416)
Posted Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Perfect Element, Part 1 is a concept album that addresses the issues surrounding the development of people from childhood to maturity. The story intertwines the experiences of "He" and "She" and how their worlds collide and develop.

Used - 05:23

This track opens with thundering drums and grungy-distorted guitar riff. Lyrics are spoken/rapped in what can be a troubling issue for some trying to get into this band. Generally a heavy/dark/fast-paced song Gildenlow transposes his uttered rap with delightful vastly-ranged vocals and the song breaks into a trickling guitar solo at around the 2:40 mark. A growled (not in the death metal sense) ending, with a slow-down of all instruments to a halt.

Favourite Lyric: "I am crying unwept tears through this violence, I'll die trying to break this thick crust of silence"

Although an obvious choice, I cannot help but love the wording in this two-liner chorus of sorts.

Favourite Section: 2:40-3:15.

Yes, the guitar solo. Simply a magnificent, sultry and fitting piece of musicianship.

This songs gives us the background of "He" and in doing so provides us with the dark, disturbed and underground mood of the 'hero' of the story.

In The Flesh - 08:36

In The Flesh takes us in quite a different direction musically. A much cleaner guitar melody opens the song with a brooding bass beneath until the drums halt this little loop and bring in an almost heart-beat and Gildenlow commands the music with his calmer voice. The song is fairly controlled in the sense that it is leading to a climax and at 2:45 this breaks out for about 15 seconds before it is reined back in. Delightfully ordered chaos consumes all. At about 3:40 it kicks in again with Gildenlow coming back and keys and guitars complement each other beautifully with the clean riffing and light keys from Fredrik Hermansson. At 5:40 the song ultimately assumes a darker tone as desperation sinks into the character of "She" as the turmoil of her past unravels. The drumming of Johan Langell complements the entire ensemble immensely and provides the tough and heavy backbone of the band. The music continues to build to the apex of the song that culminates in the release of all tension at 6:51 and closes with beautiful vocals and piano accompanied by acoustic guitar with drums joining in to delicately finish this fairly lengthy track. That is until moody drumming and eerie guitar comes from nowhere to ease us into the next....

Favourite Lyric: "Sometimes the hands that feed, Must feed a mind with a sick need"

Nice little bit of imagery and poetry.

Favourite Section: 6:50-7:25.

As the wailing, held guitar note soars alongside Gildenlow's magnificent high-pitched singing, you can't help but shiver.

Ashes - 04:28

Compared to the dizzying heights reached by Gildenlow in the last track, Ashes presents us with the deeper tone of his voice. This song has a much slower pace than the previous two and at times sounds slightly industrial. This song is slightly eerie to me, with the guitars reminscing the music from a childs toy above their crib, only slightly off, slower and darker. This song brings together "He" and "She". A frantic solo ends the song, although the drums maintain the slow march that makes it although more haunting. The last 30 seconds are given to a mini-solo of spooky climbing notes that ride over spoken vocals.

Favourite Lyric: "I taste your sorrow and you taste my pain, Drawn to each other for every stain, Licking the layers of soot from your skin, Your tears work my crust to let yourself in"

Lyrics that divulge the sorrow and and darkness that draws these two together, creating a beautifully disfigured couple.

Favourite Section: 0:00-0:15.

The start until the introduction of vocals, set the scene for this slow, dirty march through their story.

Morning On Earth - 04:34

This song contains some of the elements that makes Ashes so creepy, haunting keys that here belie a sense of being alone. This is a song controlled by the vocals that puts forward the harmonies of this band, the song in itself is very calm and melodic, accompanied by some string instruments. At 3:40 onward Gildenlow displays again his magnificent powerful voice and the song ends on the same evoking keys it began on.

Favourite Lyric: "For as long as I can remember I have wanted to, Silence every beating heart; every sound of breathing, Now there is something inside of me that aches as I hear you, Breathing here when you sleep between these morning sheets"

The opening verse in this song tells us how this internal hatred of our hero has turned to a calming love via the connection with "She".

Favourite Section: 3:40-4:25.

The closing vocals and keys are heartfelt.

Idioglossia - 08:30

This is a monster of a song that begins with a dizzying guitar melody and drums erupting into the fray. The song is a full instrumental tour de force, the guitar riff that follows, accompanied by strings is truely epic. The frivolity displayed on each instrument is a joy to behold, the song jumps from strength to strength and changes tempo all over the place, moving from crushing riffs, to doodling melodies, to voice driven harmonies with extremely strong backing vocals. The song opens up to mainly instrumental ends in the second half, although again Gildenlow's wrenching scream at 7:00 is spooky.

Favourite Lyric: "This blood proves me right, In that the last move is all that, Counts if the beasts must bite, Vow to the floor, Oath to the taste of dust, In my mouth - never!, I bite the words - never again!, Will I let anyone else finish, I'll be the end of every way"

Although the 'rap' moments for this band may not be to everyone's taste, I enjoy them Daniel's play on words and the way they roll off the tongue is quite melodic in themselves.

Favourite Section: 3:46-6:05.

From the slightly mellow solo, through crushing, grungy, emotional vocals (reconnecting with Ashes) until the drums pick up the pace and frantic second solo ensues.

Her Voices - 07:57

As so often happens with these band, they contrast moments of pace and brutality with those of serenity and delicacy. The opening to this song is one of those careful delicate moments. The piano on this song is intricate and played just right as it slips inbetween Gildenlow's words and trickles through the cracks and gaps in this song. Returning to the very clean guitar sound (for the most part) the song is very soothing. Besides the intermittent towering moments of distortion and group harmonies. At 3:50 the songs changes direction as the drums take on a primeval tone. The song mimics its predecessor at times with the frenetic playing of all instruments all at once. All I can say for the song from 6:20 onwards is that it is truely beautiful.

Favourite Lyric: "Their ugly truth, Outnumbered by far her beautiful dream"

Yum.

Favourite Section: 7:00-7:57.

I love the composition throughout this final section.

Dedication - 04:00

This song is emotional, yet haunting. I think in this case the song speaks for itself better.

Favourite Lyric: All of it.

Not overdone, just right.

Favourite Section: 2:16-2:40.

Wonderfully sung.

King of Loss - 09:47

Unlike Idioglossia and perhaps even Her Voices, this song delicately builds up to the point of explosion, which even still is contained and controlled. This track is much more about the music seeping calm and quiet skill rather than hitting you with the solid right hook.

Favourite Lyric: "Mother, at my first breath, Every paragraph was set, As I inhaled the scent of debt, Mother, that first stolen air, Taken as a legal sign, On papers saying I'm not mine."

The opening verse, a very good attempt at decoding the struggle of the individual in modern society.

Favourite Section: All.

One of my all time favourite songs.

Reconciliation - 4:25

Again with the contrast, Reconciliation picks the pace back up with a fantastic opening guitar melody that is a play on the opening keys to Morning on Earth. This song is one of the best for showcasing Gildenlow's voice, highly recommended. It is also flicks a lot between dark and bright guitar.

Favourite Lyric: "I've washed my hands of your blood, Thought it would leave me clean, But with time on my hands, It turned to mud forming this crust of sin."

Blood, mud and sin- all you need.

Favourite Section: 3:18-3:48.

If ever there was proof needed that Gildenlow can sing with the best, here it is.

Song For The Innocent - 03:03

This is a very short song with not many lyrics. But a beautiful take on the failures of man.

Favourite Lyric: "This world is what we can give, Scarred from the way we lived, All those dreams we shared for you, How I wish they could come true."

Pretty much half the lyrics, but an incredible half.

Favourite Section: 1:30-2:44.

In contrast to the calm first half, powerful, emotional and breathtaking.

Falling - 1:50

Essentially a segue, this song preludes the fantastic title track brilliantly.

The Perfect Element - 10:10

I'm not sure I can really do this song any justice in description, but will just advise you to listen :).

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Send comments to Kilgannon (BETA) | Report this review (#378118)
Posted Tuesday, January 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the masterpieces of progressive metal.

I had heard the album "Remedy Lane" of Pain of Salvation and stayed amazed.This guys have a incredible sound.But "Remedy Lane" I am not attracted me as did this album, "The Perfect Element Pt. 1".After years know only through the progressive metal of Dream Theater and Symphony X I got to the Pain of Salvation and was immediately attracted by the sound of this wonderful band.Listen this album makes me not diminish my passion for albums like "Metropolis pt.2" or "Images and Words", but this album is wonderful, it can not be doubted.

People seem to have problems with the rap of the opening track "Used" ,but so what? The question is what is this song is perfect, and now she is my favorite album(the best vocals from Gildenlow are here-this guy a demi-god when it comes to voice). "In the Flesh","Morning on Earth ","Idioglossia"," Her Voices","Dedication","Song for a innocent","Falling" and the title track (ie almost every song on the album)complete the list of my favorite tracks from that album.

What deserves to be heard thousands of times.

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Send comments to voliveira (BETA) | Report this review (#389883)
Posted Sunday, January 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
Isa
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars |D| The only disappointing "masterpiece" I've yet encountered.

I suppose I'm just one of those people that I've seen on this site who find this album dreadfully dull and uninteresting, rather than a five star masterpiece. In general, I tend to agree with the opinions here when it comes to highly rated bands and albums. In fact, there are only three bands of the hundreds I've tried here I that I say I really dislike three; and Pain of Salvation, particularly with this release, is one of them.

I have tried to listen to this album about ten to twenty times, and almost every time I wanted to turn it off out of shear boredom and annoyance, and often did. The main problem is that every track that came on, I'd think, "oh cool, this is kind of an interesting intro... I wonder how they'll develop the song from that." And they never really did. Granted, the music itself sounds like it was put together in a pretty balanced way usually, but I never got out of the feeling of waiting for the song to go somewhere, only to be disappointed as it ended.

This is indeed progressive metal, and of the slightly more eclectic and less cliche type, using sounds and instrumentation that breaks even the mold of the progressive metal sound. This is the soul reason for me giving this more than a one star, is the uniqueness of sound. Guitar tones are pretty nice, and vocals are competently in tune with decent (albeit alternative sounding) tone.

Unfortunately, it's the composition, the rise and fall of a piece, the melody, harmonies, riffs and solos that make up the interest of a song. This album sounded more like a mushy mass of eclectic sounding prog metal in the end. The vocal melodies (and even the harmonies) were dull. The riffs were dull. The transitions between sections were dull. If I were to imagine something moving to this music, it would be a humanoid mass of sludge trying in vein to walk forward despite its own weight dragging itself back. This is the image, the feeling I had in my mind for every song beginning to end.

These are good musicians, and the album has good production, but the composition is just so under-developed that I have no interest in really pursuing other albums, except to find redemption for this band in for my ears. If you're a fan of this band, go for it. As highly rated as this album is, I reckon if you like their other work, you'll probably like this one.

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Send comments to Isa (BETA) | Report this review (#392355)
Posted Tuesday, February 01, 2011 | Review Permalink
jampa17
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Complex, sensitive and great.

Sure, it took me a lot to finally "get" the direction of the music and it's hard still to dive in to this extremely complex album. But it suers eventually shines, especially if you are willing to give dedicated attention to the album. Here are my initial impressions to this interesting purpose.

First, you might be prepared to get an avalanche of different styles and a lot of different tendencies in one sitting. Sure, it will take you a while to digest it, but once you pass the first couple of spins the sounds start to fall all in the right places and the music shines with glimpses of excellency and greatness. The musicians are top of class, no matter it's an "in your face" metal phrase, a dramatic melodic line, a mellow tune or whatever. My first impression is that they tend to go into the darker way than the typical Dream Theater-like bands that infest the Prog Metal sub genre. Guitars and keyboards really make the deal to keep it interesting and powerful at the same time, though all the instruments share emotion and technique capabilities that really make a wonderful experience.

Second, the vocals are mainly the most let down of the album. Sure the guy can sing, sure he can make a lot of different interpretations, like a "rapping" stuff followed for a more dramatic high pitched melodies. But I think it's hard to get to the music because of his voice. Eventually, when you let the music surrounded you, then you start appreciating the vocal arguments that fit great with the music.

If you can pass and hang on for the third spin of the album, I'm sure you will find something interesting and attractive to follow. I'm more than interested in continue the journey of knowing this great musicians and their music.

It's not for all the tastes, but if you are a Prog Metal fan, you will sure find something interesting for you. If you are a little more progressive, there's still many things to like. I like it but I don't feel it can reach an "essential" status. I feel like a strong 3.5, but I feel that sometimes the lose me a bit, here and there' so I will keep it in 3, because is a great album. Maybe I'll change my rate after I get the other albums. For now, Pain of Salvation is a good, but non-essential band for my tastes.

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Send comments to jampa17 (BETA) | Report this review (#444633)
Posted Sunday, May 08, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great album, but its way too damn long. So first the good. Pain of Salvation has succeeded in creating a unique and distinct sound in a world filled with carbon copy, generic Prog Metal bands. That is success number one. When its comes to this album, its has some moments of real brilliance and some parts that drag, and overall, its way too long. This album did not need to be 74 minutes. This is a fatal flaw. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy the album, but today while listening to it, I was like "Is this thing almost over yet?" just to look down at my IPOD and see I was on track 9 of 12 and sadly let out a groan. They seriously should have designed this album to be around 60 minutes and as a counterpoint I present Images and Words which clocks in at just under 60 minutes which feels likes its over in the blink of an eye and leaves me wanting more, where as The Perfect Element OVERSTAYS ITS WELCOME. Now usually I would just delete one or two songs from the playlist, but it can't be done in this case since the album flows together as if it was one long song, so in the end this album is fantastic for the most part, but is like a marathon to get through.

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Send comments to Phoenix87x (BETA) | Report this review (#447983)
Posted Saturday, May 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album was my introduction (followed immediately by Remedy Lane) to POS. To be honest, at first listening, I was rather put off by it. But like so many records that need repeated exposures for them to grow on you, The Perfect Element Pt. I truly ended up delivering on the promise of it being rated (at the time) here at PA as one of the greatest of prog-metal albums! The more I've dug into this album, the more I've gotten out of it; the compositions and playing and concept were gripping and have left me wanting to keep this disc in constant rotation in my playlist. This like all releases might not be consonant to everyone's tastes, but if you've a penchant for prog-metal well thought out, played and produced, this is an album I'd highly recommend! As always, your actual mileage may vary... In my world, this is a FIVE STAR release.

Grace and peace, Cylli Kat

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Send comments to Cylli Kat (BETA) | Report this review (#456949)
Posted Saturday, June 04, 2011 | Review Permalink
ppl
5 stars The Perfect Element Part 1 was love at first sight for me,although it was the second POS album i istened to..That album managed to introduce POS to a larger amount of people..they needed it and totally DESERVED it..So..What makes this album special?The answer is simple..EVERYTHING..The musicianship from the riffs to breaks and then to solos..Each one shines here..Of course Daniel steals the show but what can you say about the other 4 members?! Johan Hallgren:i don'y know if without him the album was the same..Bombastic player with some excellent guitar solos..I can't imagine Daniel playing guitar without him.. Fredrik Hermanson:The man behind the ''scenes''..His brain produces such amazing melodies and delievers them so magicaly.. Kristofer Gildenlow:Teriffic bass player with some of the best basslines i've ever heard.. Johan Langell:I've Always considered him the ''machine'' of POS and couldn't imagine POS without him..Can you replace his incredible rythms his dynamic grooves his marvellous breaks?Surely Leo is a bet that Daniel has to win..I 'dont want to describe the songs particularely cause i shall write hours and it's no use..All compositions shine here with Idioglossia The Perfect Element King of Loss and In the Flesh steal the show..All in all a 5 stars album,a true diamond you must NOT ignore!

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Send comments to ppl (BETA) | Report this review (#548913)
Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I wasn't too thrilled by the first two Pain of Salvation albums, but I have to admit that on The Perfect Element Part 1 things really came together for them. Drawing from a wider range of metal influences than is typical for a progressive metal band - there's even points, as on Used, where things begin to sound a bit like Faith No More (particularly when it comes to the Mike Pattonish vocals) - still, there's enough more traditionally proggy elements to the album to keep most prog fans happy.

A lot of the time I think Pain of Salvation's occasionally goofy lyrics and concepts overshadow their music, but that certainly isn't the case here - and in presenting a radically less showboaty and cheesy vision of prog metal than the genre's giants in Dream Theater do, the band do a lot to help the genre's sound emerge from the shadow of Images and Words.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#640322)
Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pain of Salvation's "The Perfect Element Part I" kicks off with a cascade of drums and guitar and a mixture of several musical styles. In the opening track "Used" there's a distinct flavour of Disturbed or any number of other nu-metal acts getting around circa 2000. Then the chorus almost has a pop feel to it.

"In the Flesh" and "Ashes" take a different and far superior direction, ditching the nu-metal vibe in favour of some more interesting textures. The musicianship is excellent and the album begins to sound a lot more cohesive. "In the Flesh" features a stunning acoustic guitar and piano outro that feels both like an organic extension of the first part of the song, and also as a great introduction into "Ashes". This track is the highlight of the album, with the most memorable guitar and vocal hooks.

"Ideoglossia" is a complex, chaotic number that once again showcases the band's prodigious talents, and also which cleverly incorporates the chorus of "Ashes" midway through the song. "King of Loss" also deserves special mention as a brooding, simmering track with a great buildup. The album closes with another 10 minute epic "The Perfect Element", which takes the total running time up over the 70 minute mark. It's a long album, but there are enough ideas incorporated over the duration to keep things fresh.

Overlaid upon all of this are some impressive vocal gymnastics by Daniel Gildenlöw, at times evoking Mike Patton with a guttural, savage delivery juxtaposed with the silky smoothness of a seasoned crooner. And of course, he has an amazing heavy metal high pitched scream just to top it all off.

While not one of my favourite albums, this is still a great production to experience for the sheer ambitiousness and talent on display.

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Send comments to bonestorm (BETA) | Report this review (#963085)
Posted Monday, May 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars This is another concept album by Swedish outfit Pain Of Salvation, and is actually only part 1! I enjoyed their last album 'One Hour By The Concrete Lake' so I was intrigued to hear this. While they have always been seen as part of the progressive metal movement, this album sees them make some real strides in both parts of that genre. There are times when they are playing as heavy as any of the hard rock bands coming out of the States, yet they temper it by going through so many different musical styles and ideas. The gentle lilting vocals, accompanied by a delicate fretless bass can give way suddenly to brutality, while there is often a feeling of melancholy.

It is the sort of album that can be enjoyed on first hearing, but it has great depth ? and I wish that I had the lyrics so that I could study them. This album will only see their reputation grow.

Originally appeared in Feedback #61, Feb 01

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#968440)
Posted Saturday, June 01, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars An 80's hair metal band gets marinated in progressive rock.

I read a lot of very good reviews about this album and saw it was among the top rated prog metal albums on PA and MMA. Since I had just received Symphony X's "V: The New Mythology Suite", which is another top rated prog metal album on both sites, and I quickly grew to love it, I thought that this album should be among my next prog metal purchases. Honestly though, this one is taking its time to appeal to me.

The good points are many. Daniel Gildenlöw has a very diverse voice and can sing anything from gruff barks to high screams to smooth and calm to somewhere in between it all. The album tells the story (part 1) of two broken people, He and She, who meet and begin a relationship. That's as far as I got there. I'm afraid the broken people stories don't go far with me. The best one I've heard is Nine Inch Nails' "The Downward Spiral". After that it's difficult to impress me with that kind of story. Still, Gildenlöw uses his voice to effectively convey the emotions of each part of the story. The music is for the most part not too complex but like "The Wall" (in a way) mostly sticks to relaying the moments in the tale. The tempo stays slow to mid-range and I only noticed one part where a double bass drum comes into play. In this way, this is a pretty mild and tame metal album despite the theme of pain and frustration.

Two other points to mention in favour of the music are the guitar and keyboards. While there are no catchy, bang-your-head metal riffs, the guitarist (be it Gildenlöw or Johan Hallgren) uses lead playing to create beautiful melody lines and as well there are some delightful licks here and there in the solos, particularly in "Her Voices" lies a favourite of mine. Fredrik Hermanssen is used very well to provide beautiful piano passages, atmospheric synthesizer, and some powerful rhythm synth work that treads into symphonic prog metal at times, most notably in the title track. I always feel that if you're going to have a keyboard player in a metal band then you should let him/her contribute to the overall quality of the music and not just keep the keys in the background for rhythm behind the guitars.

There's some great music on this album and the songs to stand out the most for me are "Ideoglossia", "Her Voices", "King of Loss" and "Reconciliation". These songs are where the overall feel of the album is wonderfully combined with some excellent music that captures the progressive metal quality best or where the music is simply beautiful. The title track offers some great moments too.

However, there are some aspects of the album that still haven't grabbed me. First, this is not really a heavy metal album. There are parts where the guitars are loud and the vocals screaming or full of raw energy but the majority of the songs are pretty lightweight. Even when the music gets heavy and aggressive I find myself thinking that it needs more bass to enrich the sound. It's as if the band wanted to show aggression without wanting to be offensive. The first four songs are easy to get by because they don't really get the album up and running. It's not until "Ideoglassia" that things really turn exciting and even then the song reuses the pseudo-rap of "Used" and reintroduces the chorus of "Ashes". It almost seems that the album is already reprising music before it has hardly gotten started. Thankfully the rest of the song really begins to show off POS's talent. There are also a couple of puzzling spoken lines like "Call your dad" at the end of "Her Voices" and the beginning of "Dedication" (I'm sure he says, "Call your dad") and "Will I ever walk again?" in the title track. If I familiarize myself with the story more it might make more sense to me, but these lines just seem to leap out from the music and I'm like, "Huh?"

For me, a good album should be enjoyable to listen to straight through and as well have a few songs that can be enjoyed on their own. The four songs that I have mentioned here are great stand alone tracks but the rest of the album goes by me without many parts signaling my attention. I agree that this is a great album insofar as the effort and outcome are concerned. But I am not as excited about the whole concept as I am about the music in a few parts.

For anyone who doesn't like really aggressive metal but can appreciate something a little more melodic and easy, this album makes for a nice safe step into progressive metal. I think it's still a good album, but I'd like to hear another POS album that is either a little more technical or a little more varied in pace.

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Posted Monday, September 15, 2014 | Review Permalink

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