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Pain Of Salvation - Linoleum CD (album) cover

LINOLEUM

Pain Of Salvation

Progressive Metal


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4 stars Well, first i'm glad to submit the first review of this expected ep, but also a bit surprised nobody did it first, as Pain Of Salvation is THE cult prog-metal band of many, myself included. Instead of giving a track by track review, i will try to put general ideas of the ep as a whole, with a few exceptions of elements worth mentioning. At a first "glimpse" the music strike me as dark, heavy, eclectic, with retro elements like the classic organ sound and the doomy-sabbath like riffs. If Pain Of Salvation is to be defined by a word, besides progressive, that word is eclectic. Like in the two past albums BE, and Scarsick, in this last one there are a lot of musical elements blended in a perfect mixture, like the aforementioned retro organ sound, the doomy-sabbath riffs, but also bluesy and psychedelic guitar lines, busy Bill Ward like drum fills ( courtesy of new drummer Leo Margarit), industrial or almost death metal growls by the always amazing Mr. Gildenl÷w. If a clue towards the new album is to be seen here, i'd say it must be the tendency of the music to a more dark, moody, melancholic, but also angry character. The only particular song i'd like to mention for being such a nice surprise is Yellow Raven, a cover of The Scorpions from the Roth-era album Virgin Killer. This song fits very well with the overall nature of the album and rounds it perfectly. It's such an emotional song like the original, with Gildenl÷w's voice and Hallgren's guitar bringing chills to the listener's spine. (At least for this one, hope it does the same for everyone). If this ep is just a taste, i can't wait for the next album, hope it comes out very soon.

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Send comments to glaurung (BETA) | Report this review (#251455)
Posted Wednesday, November 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars As usual, I've been waiting anxiously for an album from Pain Of Salvation. This EP, hoping it to be a treat to my ears, left me a bit on my appetite. The first two songs sound like good leftovers from ''SCARSICK''. Track #3, IF YOU WAIT, is the 'soft' part of Pain Of Salvation. GONE (the fourth song) is what the song DEA PECUNIAE (from the ''BE'' album) could have been at its metalest sound. It is full of surprises, yet you can almost guess what chords will come up next. Their Swedish humour is well shown on track #5 (I can't wait to 'see' the hair in their cd's!). It joins well with their humour on the ''TWO DEATHS'' dvd which came out last year. YELLOW RAVEN, a track from an old SCORPIONS album called ''VIRGIN KILLER'', is a nice surprise and ends this EP with style. The next album should be interesting to hear. This EP is musically the logical follow-up to ''SCARSICK''. We are far from albums like ''REMEDY LANE'' or ''THE PERFECT ELEMENT'' (which, by my opinion, are their best), but Pain Of Salvation are still good at what they do: obscure, deep music with Daniel Gildenl÷w singing his heart out, being backed by excellent musicians.

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Send comments to skreamer (BETA) | Report this review (#253754)
Posted Monday, November 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pain of Salvation is my favorite Progressive Metal band, and I expected very much this EP. After the Scarsick album, I realy would like to know what would lay ahead. This EP is interesting and has good songs, but don't expect so much. "Linoleum" opens this EP with interesting passages, the second half is very good and has a retro atmosphere. Fortunately the scream vocals are very rapidly. I think "Mortar Grind" is the most similar to Scarsick songs, and is the poorest music on this EP, although it's a good song. The song has a dark atmosphere, but the chorus is a problem for me because I think it's very cliche, and there are also lots of distorted vocals. "If you await" is a more diferent music and serves as a prelude for the next and best song on this EP, "Gone". "Gone" is a very good song, with variable elements and moments, but I highlight the great interpretation of Gildenl÷w, although I feel uncomfortable with the vocals on the chorus. The next song is a joke, and I disconsidered that. The last song is a Scorpion's cover. "Yellow Raven" is a good music, and has a good interpretation of PoS, ending the EP in a satisfactory maner, in my view. Besides the EP has good songs, and a good interpretation of Gildenl÷w on "Gone", this EP is no big deal. So, I think that three stars are the best for PA website.

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Send comments to peccatum (BETA) | Report this review (#255249)
Posted Wednesday, December 09, 2009 | Review Permalink
sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With the collapse of distribution giant SPV and the subsiquent financial problems with InsideOut (that resulted in Pain of Salvation having to cancel 4 tours with no finance to underwrite them) and the buyout from Century Media, Pain of Salvation found that the new album they had recorded was going to have its release put back by about 6 months. So, to ease the fans wait for the new album, Road Salt, Pain of Salvation went back into the studio to record Linoleum, a 5 song EP of unique tracks meant to give us a taster of what's to come. Now, I dont normally buy EP's as they are just too short for me to waste my hard earned money on, but this is Pain of Salvation, so I wasnt about to pass up the oportunity to get new music from them, and now that I have I'm rather glad that I did.

I remember reading towards the end of 2008 Gildenlow describing his new material as "1976 on steroids" and its a phrase thats very much applicable to this EP to. The opening two tracks, Linoleum and Mortar Grind, have a very strong feeling that the band has been channeling Black Sabbaths early muse with dirty, grungy riffs powering the songs along but with the dynamic shifts and flurishes that are part and parcel of Pain of Salvation. This is a feeling that continous with the EP's 4th track, the 8 minute epic Gone, which for my money is possibly the best track the band has recorded since Beyond the Pale off of Remedy Lane some 5 years ago. This 1970's hard rock/metal feeling is helped by the inspired production on the album which gives a very "gritty" feel to the sound, remeniscent of the 70's production sound, but with excellent definition to each instrument used throughout the album, no problems with a bass or hammond organ/keyboards too low in the mix here. The EP is rounded out with a cover of the Scorpions Yellow Raven, an interesting choice of song but played in a way that keeps it very muh in line with the rest of the EP's material.

Though I'm probably one of the biggest fans of Pain of Salvation currently on ProgArchives, even I have to admit that previous album Scarsick was a disappointment on all levels but the techincal proficiancy of the musicians. However I was certain, without hearing a note of new material beforehand, that Scarsick would very much be a one off and that Gildenlow hadnt lost his touch at musical composition, and Linoleum has very much proved me right. Scarsicks biggest failings were two fold IMO, musical structures that were too simple to hold the listeners attention for any length of time and lyrics that were overt and crass, though I felt both were called for by the concept of the album. Musically Linoleum is well ahead of Scarsick with complexity and catchyness being mixed togethor creatively resulting in 4 very strong songs, though non of them really try too hard to reach the levels of intricacy that was last heard on BE. 3rd track If You Wait stands out in this regard as being a bit different, more of a gentle, mellencholic ambient piece than a full on rocker as the other 4 songs are and proving to be an interesting break in the structure of the EP, adding variety to avoid any chance of the sound getting stale, even if Linoleum is only 28 minutes. Lyrically this EP stays in the regions of heartfelt melencholly that that band tends to do best and so the poor socio-political comentaries of Scarsick are consigned to history, though I'll confess that nothing here touches me in the way that songs like Iter Impius (BE), A Trace of Blood (Remedy Lane) and Reconciliation (The Perfect Element Pt1) have done.

Long time drummer Johan Langal retired from music at the end of 2007 and has been replaced by Frenchman Leo Margarit while a permanent bassist continues to allude the band as well, with Gildenlow once again playing bass as well as his normal vocal and guitar duties. The results are excellent, Margarit is clearly an excellent drummer and on the strength of this recording will prove to be a match for Langal's legacy. The rest of the band are playing at their best as well with them all proving their virtuosity whilst holding a very tight performance that is centred on the composition. The only track on here that I havnt mentioned yet is the 5th one, Bonus Track B, which isnt a song but a rather funny discussion by the band at what they will do for a bonus "track" that I probably shouldnt laugh at, but still do anyway. Overall this is an excellent EP that puts to rest the memory of Scarsick and leaves me hungary for the new album, whenever that comes out. Personal favourits on here is the dynamic Mortar Grind and the powerful epic Gone, both of which have risen my personal favourites list within Pain of Salvations discography, and there is no low points to speak of. This EP doesnt reach the emotional highs that the bands first 4 albums brought me too, but it lacks the vehicle of a concept that Gildenlow has always used to give greater meaning to the bands work but as a taster of things to come, Linoleum fills its requirments excellently, a strong 4 stars.

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Send comments to sleeper (BETA) | Report this review (#258267)
Posted Monday, December 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Given how much Scarsick grew on me, I made sure to give this latest EP from the eclectic Pain of Salvation lots of listening before passing judgment. Now, after at least 6 straight runs through the disc in it's entirety, I would feel better about being able to rate this. Which brings me to the point. Almost all of the "Perfect Elements" of Pain of Salvation, built up through years of many different styles and genres but retaining a clear and unrelenting identity, are stripped away. The always complex and brilliant compositions, meaningful and enriching solos, clear and often memorable melodies, and poignant lyrics well dressed in poetry or raw and disturbing are extremely scarce. While the last of these is still fairly present, particularly in the last real song, "Gone" , it is considerably less, and the lyrics to Mortar Grind are almost laughable. Then the "melodies". Or, better put, the lack there of. "If You Wait" has no melody what-so-ever. It's just Daniel, singing along to a bland backing as if he is reading words from a page and just spouting them out in melody. "Gone" has the strongest melody out of all the tracks. Now, Composition. Really simple, heavy, rhythmic, non-accentuated, heavily distorted, painfully predictable guitar riffs. Frederik is about as present in this record as Kristoffer Gildenlow and Johan Langell are. Really, he's an extremely talented keyboardist (and writer, for that matter), and Daniel Gildenlow is giving him absolutely nothing to go with. Once again, Daniel sees himself as the most fit to play bass. (hey, it's only job is to make sure his singing sounds perfect) I'm surprised I haven't mentioned singing yet, as it is the absolute center focus of the album. Yes, Daniel has one of the best voices I have ever heard, and this has not changed. However, It just loses so much when emotions and well-written melodies are not coming out of it. They are often so exaggerated that the lyrics are unintelligible, which pretty much leads the listener to believe that they (the lyrics) are not important , which is a complete contradiction to what Pain of Salvation has made themselves about since their seemingly more mature debut. There are also lots of distorted vocals that are really annoying, especially when heard in headphones. As far as tracks go, Gone is the only song that would be passable on any other Pain of Salvation album, I have to admit that the delivery on this song is well done. Bonus Track B is a funny edition to the album, and the Scorpions cover is one of the more enjoyable moments on the album. Overall, I am very disappointed, to say the least. I rated it relative to the rest of Pain of Salvation's catalog, considering that this is still better than 90% of the music out there, but a four star rating would imply that Pain of Salvation really did something right this time, which they didn't. I still think there are plenty of surprises left in store on Road Salt, but, unfortunately, partly because you can't fill two disks of this monotone and uninspired music without blatantly copying yourself.

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Send comments to dtismajesty (BETA) | Report this review (#258694)
Posted Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I'm Really Excited for Road Salt!

I consider myself a huge fan of Pain of Salvation. They might actually be my all-time favorite band, only rivaled by Genesis, Neal Morse and Dream Theater. They've released some of the highest quality music I've ever heard in my entire life, and their first 5 albums are pure genius.

When Scarsick was released, words can not describe how disappointed I was. While the album's not a complete failure, I couldn't believe that my beloved Pain of Salvation could release an album that's anything less than incredible. For that very reason, I was nervous to hear how their upcoming album, Road Salt, would sound. I was still really looking forward to the album and I really hoped the band could create another masterpiece despite my doubts.

Recently the album had to be postponed for 6 months due to financial problems with InsideOut and the buyout of Century Media. Needless to say, I was really disappointed. I was really anxious to hear the new album, but when I heard I had to wait another 6 months, I was very disappointed. To satisfy their fans, such as myself, the band released an EP, Linoleum, containing 4 songs from the upcoming album, as well as a bonus track and a cover song.

Of course, being the fanboy that I am, I bought the EP the day it came out and listened to it frequently for the next few days. I was immediately pleased that the band didn't continue the style introduced on Scarsick and I enjoyed the 70's hard rock feel to the EP. My only real complaint is that the music isn't as challenging or emotional as the band's first 5 albums. Regardless, I have high expectations for Road Salt after this enjoyable EP.

THE MUSIC:

"Linoleum"- The first song on the EP opens up with a hard rock sounding riff. The use of organ in addition to the guitar riff gives the opening a 70's hard rock sounding. It goes into a funky verse that progresses into a powerful chorus. Daniel Gildenl÷w delivers a powerful vocal performance, and the musicianship is generally of high quality. Near the middle a light keyboard section enters, and it builds back into the main section. I really love this part, and I think it makes this song really worthwhile. The progression into the chorus is excellent. This is a pretty standard verse-chorus-verse song, but it is a great opening track.

"Mortar Grind"- A drum beat opens up this song, and a distorted guitar and organ riff soon enters. It reminds me a lot of bluesy hard rock of the 70's. This riff is really great and memorable, and most of the song builds off of the riff. The chorus is particularly good, and Daniel Gildenl÷w does an excellent job vocally. This is possibly my favorite from the EP, and this is a great piece of music.

"If You Wait"- After the two, heavier-edged hard rock songs, this is more of atmospheric ballad. Most of the song builds off of the same guitar melodies and Daniel Gildenl÷w's vocals. All in all, a good song, if not particularly memorable or challenging.

"Gone"- This is my favorite song from the EP, and it is also the longest. This song opens up with a dark pop-rock sounding guitar and piano riff. I like the Porcupine Tree-influenced sound of this song, and it has clear atmospheric alt. rock influence. A beautiful section enters with solid vocals. A heavier riff enters with clever melodies. The progressions in this song are genius, and everything works perfectly. This is a really great song.

"Bonus Track B"- This bonus track is not really a "song" at all, but just a conversation between the band. It is really hilarious, clearly showing the distinct sense of humor present in the band.

"Yellow Raven"- This is a cover of the song by Scorpions, and Pain of Salvation does a really great job. I haven't heard the original, so I can't compare the two, but I must say I really enjoy this one. The overall feel to the song is great, and Johan Hallgren does an excellent job on guitar. Overall, this is a good addition to the EP and it's a solid closer.

Conclusion:

Linoleum is a really good EP from Pain of Salvation. This is such an improvement over the disappointing Scarsick, and I am very pleased with the EP. The songwriting is solid, the musicianship is excellent, and the arrangements are great. I love the 70's hard rock direction taken on this EP, and the band does a great job. This doesn't come close to masterpieces such as The Perfect Element, Pt. I, Remedy Lane, or BE, but it definitely holds it's own. I will give this solid EP a 3 star rating. This is really good, but non-essential. If you don't have the three albums I just mentioned, Entropia and One Hour By The Concrete Lake, get those first. This is still a great and highly recommended EP for any Pain of Salvation fan.

3 stars.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#262175)
Posted Saturday, January 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This one's a grower.

I have a confession - I've never heard Scarsick, except for a few brief listens to the live tracks from their newest live release. I doubt I'll ever pick it up considering how many albums I have on my "to buy" list. But PoS is definitely one of my favorite progressive metal bands.

On my first few listens to Linoleum, I was entertained but a bit worried. I guess I assumed that (besides Scarsick), Pain of Salvation's material would continue to grow more and more complex and dense. So I was confused - where did all the razor sharp playing go, the layers and layers of polished production, and epic song structures.

But I'm beginning to love this grungy, somewhat retro sound. It feels like this is material that will lend itself to some great live shows and benefits from a lot of band chemistry. The high point of the EP is Gone, though I'm very fond of If You Wait. Mortar Grind I'm still getting used to.

A big nod goes to the cover Yellow Raven, as well. I admit I haven't heard the original but it sounds great. I love the guitar tone especially.

Check it out and open yourself up to the new direction. PoS haven't lost their chops, they're just trying something new. There are plenty of other bands I can hear if I want my fix of insane technical compositions, and while I'd like to see PoS return to something like Remedy Lane again, this will do nicely for now.

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Send comments to npoczynek (BETA) | Report this review (#262436)
Posted Monday, January 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Sad!...sad...sad!!!That's all I can say after a first audition of this really uninspired new POS material!Thank GOD it's only an EP,because a whole long play would definitelly kill POS' new musical direction.The drift continues,after the monstrulusly dissapointing SCARSICK and this proves the guys in POS are out of fuel!Finito the inspiration,over the magic...or the magic is over,as you wish!The dissapointement is even bigger for me,because I was fan of this unique band since the beginning!Album after album they have developped an unique way of expression,very tortured and extremelly original,with this fantastic musician DANIEL GILDENLOW in front and his musical vision,called being close to be sonsidered a cult and something like a classical in life!Unfortunatelly,too much drug abuse is not good in the compositional process and the neuronns are the only human cells that are not able to regenerate itself!This new POS material is the culmination of uninspired music and proves that the Sweds are searching new ways of musical expression,being more and more away from the prog rock music!They sound now like stoners,or '70's era music when LSD was king and all was...very coloured!But this LINOLEUM musical mistake is grey...without any form any substance or core!It's weak under all aspects!GILDENLOW's voice is wonderful,-it;s the only light in the dark-he sings like an angel or a devil,depending of the song,but overall POS's music on this album is garbage !Disspointing,boring,senseless,uninspired and a true failure under all aspects!Hardly 2 STARS indeed only for die hard POS fans!Such a shame!

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Send comments to Ovidiu (BETA) | Report this review (#264363)
Posted Friday, February 05, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars When Pain Of Salvation does something new you can be sure that they will put their own original spin on it! First we had the live album, then a DVD release and now it's time for the first EP!

Linoleum starts off with the loud metal title track and pretty soon I recognized an apparent pattern here which reminded me of the title track from Scar Sick. This previous studio album was a continuation of the concept album The Perfect Element Part 1. Does that mean that this is Scar Sick Part 2 hence The Perfect Element Part 3? Probably not, but at least it was a though.

Mortar Grind is probably the most straight-forward metal composition that the band has ever recorded which might mean that the shift on Scar Sick wasn't a one time deal. The tune's chorus section is catchy but I got tired of it after a few spins and now usually skip the song every time I see it coming up on the play-list.

Things do get a whole lot better with the short but sweet If You Wait and the eight minute long Gone. These two track redeem the EP for me and hopefully there is more where this material came from once the full length studio album hits the market. Pain Of Salvation balances the fine line between metal and ballad-like sections on these tracks and put their original spin on the compositions, something that I definitely lacked on the first two tracks that sounded more like typical output from Roadrunner Records, but with slightly better production.

Track five is a bonus track which I would have considered unnecessary on a full length album but the joke within works fairly well in the context of the EP and so I'll leave it at that. The closing composition is a cover of an early Scorpions track which actually once again strengthen my point when I mentioned that Second Love on Remedy Lane sounded a lot like a Scorpions tribute. Still I should probably give Pain Of Salvation credit for not hiding their sources of inspiration. Especially since they do a great cover of this lesser known classic.

So what do I think about Linoleum as an EP? It definitely does the job it was suppose to do, nothing more and nothing less. Although the EP showed us the metal side of the band I personally lacked those mellow subtle moments that Pain Of Salvation has perfected on their previous releases.

At least, here in Sweden, we've got a good taste of that during the performance of Road Salt which the band played live at the Melodifestivalen 2010 and was broadcast on national television. That song is so far my favorite of the material from the upcoming album so maybe it's a sign of the things to come once the actual album is released. Therefore I shall restrain myself from any type of prediction of how that record will turn out to be.

**** star songs: If You Wait (2:50) Gone (7:55) Yellow Raven (5:39)

*** star songs: Linoleum (4:54) Mortar Grind (5:52) Bonus Track B (2:28)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#267688)
Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars What an egoistical move by Mr. Gildenlow and co. How in the world can this cost nearly as much as a LP when the main track "Linolium" allso is on "Road Salt One" Ok, we have about four other tracks where one is a cover, pretty good. But cmon! The sound and the vocals is sometimes atrocious like on the else promising "Motar grind" really amazing song but the choros is unlistenable! The two more mellow tracks are allso great. But when they suddently feel that they have the nerve to record a conversation about bonus hair they pretty much, or atleast Daniel shows his huge ego. Why couldn┤ they atleast do like Steven Wilson did on " The Incident instead of taking that much money for an EP right before a new album. Not like they┤re an upcoming band, and if Daniel really wanted to earn more money he could start to consider that maybe he has a decent fanbase in USA who share the same opinions as him about capitalism and get his ass over there. But i still love 70-80 % of your music, still a fan, but this release is mediocre, and yes! I know that i don┤t need to buy it. But i think that it┤s wasting obsessive fans money when they should be as humble and giving as possible and maybe have "Linolium" as a second disc. Just an opinion.

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Send comments to Sonicprogscape (BETA) | Report this review (#449361)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | Review Permalink

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