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


Pain Of Salvation

Progressive Metal

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3 stars This is worst cd in there career road salt 1 is better then this,I hear tons of ballads on this its meh Even scarsick is better then this,I thought that was weakest of there catalogue. This review will be short nothing to express bout how crap this is,going on ebay to get 8 bucks off it. At least not many cds i have to do that to,This is worst then new pendragon cd which i sold also.

strongest traks on this is 2. Softly She Cries (4:15) 3. Conditioned (4:15) 6. Eleven (6:55) 11. The Physics Of Gridlock (8:43)

Do not waste 13 bucks on this crap,This is worst then new opeth which sucked also. I hope the next cd is metal not some blues funk ballady horse crap,Road salt 1 was excellent this is not this is 2.5 stars cd avoid at all costs. Pos what have u done,Please make nother be cd or perfect element part 1 not recycles shovelware.

Report this review (#531306)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars let's take it from the top..POS,DT and SX are my fav prog metal bands..but my POS is my FAV band after of the reasons is that they keep changing their style album after album with such incredible results..don't get me wrong..i don't say that the other bands play the same over and over again,but come on POS manages WITHOUT fear and guilts to play 70's prog/psychedelic you name it rock in 2011!!!!!!When i first heard RS1 i was blew my mind away..then RS2 came and it changed my world..forget the cliche prog metal..long songs without meaning..solos and solos and solos..i get bored of it..All i want from my fav band and generally from any prog band is to progress..and daniel and his company do it with so much style..let's go down the ROAD SALT road..

1.Road Salt Theme:A very melodic and catchy intro that leads to........

2:Softly She Cries:..........with this bombastic guitar work that made my body move from my haed to my knees..Excellent vocal work from daniel too..a hard rock tune that intoduces you to the RS's2 world..

3:Conditioned:it's really a simple track but so wonderful only POS can deliver..nice,catchy song..Love at first sight..haha...

4.Healing Now:A ballad song actually that earns you in an instant..when i hear it i imagine the band alone in a cabin upon a hill.....and Daniel says''now guys i want us to write a song straight from our bottom of our hearts''...and then we hear this song..Well done lads..very nostalgic tune..

5.To the Shoreline:this tune reminds me the Sisters from RS1..wonderful melody,nice vocals from daniel..

6.Eleven:The best track in this album..only POS can create these sounds combined perfectly with each other..loved the Zeppelin-like intro..loved the cresendo..loved the progressive nutch!

7.1979:Short track,ballad,OUTSTANDING melody,piano-oriented,fantastic...

8.The Deeper Cut:i can't describe it with words guys,sorry,,just listen to it..that refrain..oh my god....

9.Mortar Gring:the only metal song in this album..very heavy with amazing riff..very aggressive tune that forces your body to move according to the rythm..

10.Through the distance:A nearly 3 minutes composition that shines on it's own..EMOTION!!!

11.The Physics of Gridlock:the longest composition,very unusal tune from POS that grows inside you..Give to it time and it'll reward you..

12.End Credits:and the grande finalle..the closer part of the album with it's mainly melody taken from the RS theme..nice song that concludes the ''trip'' and now the only thing you have to do is to press the REAPET button..

Report this review (#532022)
Posted Sunday, September 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars So, after road salt I here's part II

If you like Road salt I you'll probably like this album as well. I started listening to Pain of Salvation at the release of the album Remedy Lane. I think the band has changed a lot. The latest albums sound very different from there earlier albums. I started to listen to early Genesis albums and other 70ies prog and Road salt 1 was released. I like the change Pain of Salvation made but I can imagine some people don't like the way Pain of Salvation sounds today.

Road Salt theme, the album opener returns at the end of Softly she cries. Softly she cries had a very catchy chorus. I realy like that the Road salt theme is used in the middle of this song. It's making this song so much better, It realy makes this song.

Conditioned is a very catchy song. Even if you don't like it the tune will get stuck in your head. Healing now is a song I can't get used to right now, I skip it. Most times I appreciate a song later. It must still grow on me.

To the shoreline. This song caught my attention right away. The intro reminds me a bit of the Flower kings. Daniel's Vocals sound like Sisters from Road salt I.

Eleven needs to grow on me like Healing now. 1979, the intro will return in the end credits. I wasn't born in '79. But you hear how he reflects on this great time in his life.

The deeper cut. One of the highlights of this album. it's a darker song with a little aggresion in it. It second half of this song is different from the first half. I realy like this song. Mortar Grind is a song I already knew from the EP. Through the distant sounds realy fragile. ( in a positive way) The fysics of Gridlock starts a little bit harder than the other songs. The best part is that they sing French at the end of this song.

This album reminds a lot of Road salt one. But I think it's better then Road salt one. Road salt one sounds a little bit boring compared to road salt two. I think the use of ''synthesisers'' make this album much more appealing. The songs are better constructed and there's more variation in the songs. 4 stars.

Report this review (#535361)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pain of Salvation is one of those bands you don't know what to expect with every new release. Each one of their albums features different styles, but, looking at the big picture, the PoS progressive trademark sound hadn't changed until last year when they took a different edge with Road Salt One. And Road Salt Two comes as a not big surprise to be honest. There's a lot of chuggy and bluesy guitar riffs, mellow ballads, catchy melodies, awesome drumming, raw 70's-wannabe production and ambiental organ on the background. Everything we had in the previous part of Road Salt is still there, but don't get me wrong, this is a completely different album.

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

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

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

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

Report this review (#536532)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although Pain of Salvation has never been a band to play it safe, Road Salt One's dramatic deviation from their distinct style left their fanbase a bit puzzled. The seventies' heavy rock vibe was a shocking change in direction from this established progressive metal act, and a large chunk of their dedicated following considered it inferior to any of their previous creations. Road Salt One may not be my favorite Pain of Salvation album either - far from it, actually - but it is a record that I enjoy, and I did eagerly wait for Road Salt Two to see if these Swedish masterminds could do an even better job at this decidedly-retro sound. After thoroughly enjoying both parts of the Road Salt saga, I can confidently conclude that Road Salt Two is the superior observation and an all-around excellent album from Pain of Salvation. The songwriting is more impressive this time around, there are more progressive rock and metal tendencies, and there's a strong conceptual feeling that was lacking a bit on Road Salt One. Road Salt Two isn't without its flaws, but it's still a highly impressive effort that open-minded fans of the band will hopefully enjoy. Pain of Salvation may never return to making masterpieces like The Perfect Element, Remedy Lane, and Be, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Road Salt Two is one hell of an album. Fans of 70's heavy prog with unique Gildenlöw flavoring should be sure to check this one out - just don't expect anything even remotely close to "vanilla prog metal"!

There are a few noticeable differences that I will point out shortly, but Road Salt Two is by-and-large a very similar album to Road Salt One. The music is still played in a very raw and unpolished seventies' hard rock style, and the retro keyboard palette, intelligent songwriting, and commanding vocals from Daniel Gildenlöw keep the album from ever descending into mediocrity. Road Salt Two's main unique feature is that it seems to have much more of a "prog-touch" than their previous effort, and that's a certainly a good thing in my opinion. When I say that this album is more "progressive", don't think that it ever implies vanilla progressive metal - the music here just tends to feature deeper, more complex, and more emotionally charged songwriting than it's predecessor. And, honestly, I think that's what gives Road Salt Two a slight edge. There are a few uninspired blues riffs that I could've done without, but it is obviously an integral part of the retro atmosphere that Pain of Salvation are aiming to create with the Road Salt saga.

The album opens up with the short orchestral piece entitled "Road Salt Theme", and even though no parts of this song were heard on Road Salt One, they are all heard again before Road Salt Two ends. "Softly She Cries" is a heavier track that's filled with doomy metal riffs and a haunting synthesizer melody - an excellent way to open up this chapter for sure. "Conditioned" is the leading single from Road Salt Two and (unsurprisingly), it's the weakest track here by a substantial margin. It's not a bad song by any stretch, but the repetitive blues riff lacks the depth and emotion to really grab me until the climatic ending section. "Healing Now" is a folky acoustic song, and an absolutely beautiful composition - one of the highlights for sure. "To The Shoreline" is one of the most progressive tracks here, and the jazzy drumming parred with the captivitating synthesizers and moving choruses make this a contender for the best track on the album. After a filthy hard rock riff, "Eleven" moves into more grunge-y territory that's completed by Gildenlöw's gruff vocal performance and the pulsating bassline. Don't expect this track to ever become repetitive, though, as the instrumental middle-section is one of the most interesting moments on Road Salt Two. The first truly beautiful piece of music on the album come in the form of "1979" - a rather short ballad with serene lyrics and heartwarming melodies, as well as a terrific arrangement that reminds me of something I would've heard on Be. "The Deeper Cut" opens up with a complex and progressive riff that sounds more like traditional progressive metal than anything else you're bound to hear on this album. The emotionally challenging second half of the song features one of the most impressive builds I've ever heard, and Daniel Gildenlöw's vocal performance is nothing short of stunning.

"Mortar Grind" was also featured on the Linoleum EP from 2009, and I still enjoy the song just as much as I did back then. It's not the best track on Road Salt Two, but its haunting melodies are definitely more effective within the concept of a full-length album. "Through the Distance" is the second ballad on the album, and is every bit as beautiful as "1979". The melancholic lyrics matched by the lush arrangements make this another one of my favorites. The "epic" of the album is in the form of "The Physics of Gridlock", a near-9 minute epic that sums up the album pretty well. I wish that the spoken word section in French were omitted as it really takes away from the power of the track, but the rest of the composition is top-notch for sure. "End Credits" closes up Road Salt Two almost exactly how it started, and this is another (slightly longer) orchestral piece that features a few more themes from the album. I think this is the perfect way to end the album.

As we're used to from Pain of Salvation, the musicianship is excellent across the board. Daniel Gildenlöw's expressive vocals are at the forefront of the music, but his work on the guitar and bass shouldn't go unnoticed either. Johan Hallgren's guitar playing is equally impressive, and Leo Margarit's drumming is not only technically demanding, but also emotionally impressive. Frederik Hermansson's eclectic choices of keyboard tones always suit the music perfectly, and even though he may not be the most prominent figure in the band's sound, no song would be complete without his tasteful additions. Unfortunately, the production is a bit of an issue for me here - just like on Road Salt One, the production intentionally sounds muddy and "vintage". I tend to think that it just sounds really low-quality most of the time, and I really miss the polished production of Pain of Salvation's earlier works - Road Salt Two would've benefited greatly from a more impressive sound quality.

Pain of Salvation may have lost a little bit of their "bite" and inspiration over the last few years, but I refuse to think that they've become any less of a creative force in the progressive rock community. Road Salt Two is not a flawless masterpiece like The Perfect Element, Part 1, yet the creativity of Daniel Gildenlöw and company shines as brightly as ever. A band that can constantly shift styles and manage to pull it all off with precision and success is worthy of my praise, and Pain of Salvation have demonstrated here that this retro progressive rock sound can work very well for them. Whether or not the famed Swedes decide to stick with this sound or move on will only be told in the coming years, but this album has restored my faith in Pain of Salvation as one of music's most genuinely impressive forces. I'd say a big 4 stars are very well-deserved here. Road Salt Two is not the place to begin your Pain of Salvation journey, but any established fan should be sure to check it out.

Report this review (#538285)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Quite an interesting release by Pain of Salvation. It really leaves you wondering where they are going to go with their next album. But for now we have this. It's metal, with a very strong tinge 70s hard rock. For the metalheads out there, perhaps you've heard of "Pantera" vocalist Phil Anselmo's other band, Down. This album appears to sound like them in places, especially on the track "Mortar Grind" (which may also be the strongest track on the album).

So really, going into this album we'd expect something different. Pain of Salvation has been changing their style a lot as of late. This may have come as a bit unexpected though. Did it pay off? I say it did. We have an element of Pain of Salvation we don't see much: great fun. Sure they've been fun a few times, sometimes in a negative way (Disco Queen), but this album is an all around fun listen. We have some catchy riffs (which you're going to need if you're going to take on some 70s hard rock influence), great vocals from Daniel Gildenlow as always, and a nice flow to it all too. Still, it avoids sounding like an attempt at being popular and still carries that signature Pain of Salvation sound.

I'm not all too satisfied with the lyrics, as I hadn't been with Road Salt One either. The lyrics don't seem as emotional and subtle as we'd often get from the band, which is unfortunate. Hopefully this will change soon in the future.

Before I obtained this album, I didn't have high hopes. I had a sinking feeling the whole 70s approach was going to just come off as pretentious and trying too hard, but I was gladly wrong. This album, despite this, gives me the great feeling I used to get from listening to Pain of Salvation before the previous two albums, Road Salt One and Scarsick. Those albums disappointed me, but this one shows the band still has it. Great album, 4.5 stars.

Report this review (#542106)
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have heard a lot about this band without hearing a single tone from them. So when a promo album arrived in my inbox, I finally got the chance to check them out.

This is part two of a the Road Salt series of albums. Is it a trilogy or how is this ? I do not know. But when I hear the The Beatles opening on Road Salt Theme, I got the feeling that this is a band wanting to stretching their wings. I was not mistaken.

There is a lot of The Beatles too on this album. That and a lot of other things. That includes progressive metal, yes. But the band is on their wings and that mostly around the US of A. From Americana via country rock metal to modern rock (King's X) to a bit neo-metal and whatever Korn is doing. Hence, the sound is very modern. The band is truly stretching their wings.

I am not sure if this album is a deviation from their normal fare. But the sound on this album is good and I like the music. But great melodies are sorely missed though. Any great melodies, in fact. In the law of average, this is pretty much average stuff and that's what I will remember this album for. I am left unimpressed.

Good but nothing more.

3 stars

Report this review (#554727)
Posted Saturday, October 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 stars - this is a good album. When Road Salt 1 came out, I did not enjoy the 70s sound turn that Pain of Salvation took. I thought that, after a bad album like Scarsick, they ran out of ideas, and the songs from that album still look not so great to me. So I approached this Road Salt 2 with not much hope, and I was very surprised.

The songs can be very emotional even if their sound changed so much from the beginning. This is 100% Pain of Salvation, with all the elements I like in them: great emotions, tragic feelings, touching lyrics, a disquieting atmosphear and a voice which can express all of this in a magistral way. I thought I had lost this band, but I was wrong: Pain of Salvation are all here!

Of course their style has changed, but this is not bad. The songs are generally very short, and the sound is very raw and dry. But it is well produced and it fits for the purposes and the feelings that the songs want to transmit. As long as Daniel can sing like this, every piece will fit. I also appreciate the polishing work they did: what I generally disliked most about PoS is their habit to overfill the songs with arrangements and talk. They perfectioned their style by scraping all away, and the result speaks for itself. Just compare Of Salt (from the limited edition) with its "twin song" from Road Salt 1, Of Dust. The last one is so much simpler, yet it can go so much deeper.

It may appear too simple or too raw, far from the eclectic prog metal of the beginnings (but who cares if it's not prog metal) but it is still able to convey deep emotions. It is far from the level of their masterpiece (The perfect element 1) but still a great album.

Report this review (#555397)
Posted Sunday, October 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars Can't really imagine that any unbiased prog fan will demonise 'Road Salt Two'. Okay - here we have an exemplar with less metallic essence once more, yes, you'll also stumble across some Red Hot Chili Peppers references, superficially seen this album sounds close to prog related grunge bands like Soundgarden (Superunknown) for example. This is something which probably causes desperation, will split their fans again. But it's that simple - Daniel Gildenlöw and his band mates do their own thing, don't want to be pigeonholed, so what ... I first had to notice that when listening to the splendid 'Scarsick' while anticipating a metal drenched album.

In any case I find it a great achievement to provide every song with catchy moments without exception. The last two minutes of Conditioned for example are so intriguing. And I'm reminded on Chris Cornell when listening to Softly She Cries - not meant with despair to make it clear. Eleven eventually shows the strongest prog essence - Leo Margarit's drum playing is irresisitible, refrains are inviting to sing along - and I love the accentuated electric piano. And POS come into the wild with the The Deeper Cut - my favourite sample - you can't make it better, a masterpiece. Melodies, dynamics, a catchy refrain with shouting qualities plus a short jamming interlude - this sounds perfectly rounded all together.

A (nearly) perfect (prog) rock album to my mind, yeah! I haven't heard the first copy from this series yet, however 'Road Salt Two' is a wonderful experience definitely, featuring fantastic rock music compositions which are showing so much sense of melody and dynamics. The prog base is less obvious here, more subtle. Besides the compositional attempt Gildenlöw's multi-varied vocals are THE greatest attraction to me. Like it is with Karnivool's 'Sound Awake' I won't give a [&*!#] if someone claims 'wait, is this pure prog really?' The second PAIN OF SALVATION album I'm absolutely delighted with, this qualifies for a fan status now, whaddaya say? 4.5 stars.

Report this review (#559225)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars 1,5 star. In my opinion this is the worst PoS album. All songs are slaves to Daniel (beautiful) voice, but you know, there is an only instrumental dedicated part (in Eleven, and that part it's quite amusing, but nothing to remember to me). So now tell me where are the elements of variations in these songs... 90% they are from voice and choir. Give me some beautiful riffs, a tasty crescendo, an awesome climax! there arent any. Daniel, you cant write songs all alone, that's the result. Ugly, repetitive, mediocre. You are PoS, you can and you should do better then this soup without a direction. A song as "in the flesh" beat this album 10 to 0. PoS are now a rock band with little grain of prog.

I cant find a song where the element of variation isnt the voice. Let's take an example: Softly she cried: Trivial themes. Many repetition of instrument section: no fantasy. Voice kicks but this isnt enought to make a good song.

Conditioned: Trivial themes again. Guitars, bass and keyboards are UGLY. Voice kicks vut this isnt still enought to make a prog song good. And stop with those re-intro themes.

Healing now: nice little song remembering me some led zepp's old approach, but voice is the only thing that is placed above.

To the shoreline: Finally a nice song i told me when it started the first time. At first I said with this kind of songs I can give 3 stars! But man, it's really repetitive, and the voice is still the main variation in all the song. AT THE END DANIEL ran out of ideas and rise up a tone the main theme (the last weapon of a composer!). then the song ends. better as this, short and good.

Eleven: This is quite a good song. First part: repetitive themes, but some little variations of instruments makes it precious. the chorus is ridicolous imo. Second part: nice instrumental, finally, after 20 minutes. a little porcupine tree stile. the single parts of instruments are futile, but togheder the result it's nice. so chorus again.

1979: Nice one. nice choices, there is inspiration in the flute, soft piano, bass, guitar, electronic drums too. And Daniel's voice is perfect. Short and essential. Good as this.

The Deeper cut: Another nice song. The use of themes and the scheme it's repetitive once again, and the voice is the first elements of variation, but the instruments here are well worked and amalgamated. Daniel or who the hell write for you these keyboard parts: he is not able to manage the timbre. Ask another. With this song the beauty of this album ends.

Mortar grind: there is nothing new in this song. arrived here the I'm really bored.

Through the distance: a little futile song.

The physic of gridlock: still nothing new, but the french.

I really apreciate only "to the shoreline", the second part of "eleven", "1979" and "The deeper cut". Maybe RS1 its even better than RS2. I almost forgot: I dont like this drummer.

Report this review (#560808)
Posted Tuesday, November 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Though I stopped listening to POS 4 years ago, since releasing "Scarsick" which was the first brick in my pain of salvation wall, I couldn't prevent myself from dropping by and leave my anger here especially after releasing road salt 2 which was really over salty for me.. And with this detouring and whole new approach (musically, production wise, singing effects and fan base...etc) the disappointments pour like rain by the years gone by.....

I don't have the desire to discuss the new album in itself, yet to give an opinion about the whole new approach and the fact that the last couple of albums are akin without any unique or tangible difference. Still their newest album "Road Salt Two" was by all means the worst album I've ever heard long time ago!!!

I'm seeing a band like a flower losing its leafs one by one... and with Johan Hallgren's departure I think they should release the three deaths next year (hope not to be the four deaths) and though daniel is the brain and the master mind of pain of salvation but it seems that pain of salvation is losing its sheen with the departure of its members starting with the brother Kristoffer ending by the unique talented Hallgren.

And what the hell about rejuvenate 70s production and music!! Man.. the 70s legacy are so rich and immortal and don't need to be resurrected, simply we can pick one of the greatest bands in that era and listen to... Daniel you are better with your own soul and music I blindly believe in your skill, and who's invented remedy lane and perfect element can do more than what we've heard last couple of years!!! Few moments in remedy lane can beat all the past three albums en-bloc...

If I want to say something about the new album I would literally say that I find nothing interesting in any of the songs; repeated, boring, ugly arrangements poor production (failed to carry me to 70s) and i hope it can sale as many copy as it can, at least this will console me...

I may sound harsh but it's all coming from an old fan that grew up listening to your albums, reading your poems and enjoying every moment of your music which was in a certain point a healing weapon in a lot of the crossroads that I've been through in my life...


Report this review (#583912)
Posted Wednesday, December 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Oh, what a surprise!

And it is because my only true experience with Pain of Salvation was with their "Entropia" album, though I've heard tracks from other releases, I only knew one full-length album. So taking "Entropia" as my only memory, as a comparison point, now I have to say that "Road Salt Two" has truly surprised me. Obviously I am not a follower of the band, and am not aware of their line-up changes and different musical directions, and I feel guilty I have not listened to "Road Salt One", but I must admit that I am satisfied with this new release.

The reason is because I found an unpredictable album, with a diversity of sounds and styles, music which is not pigeonholed, music for me and you, though I am not sure if the die-hard fans agree with me, but well. "Road Salt Two" contains twelve compositions that make a total time of 53 minutes. So please feel comfortable, do not prejudge and try to enjoy what you listen, taking the album as a unit, and without comparing it with the previous works.

"Road Salt Theme" is a one-minute instrumental introductory track that leads to "Softly she Cries" which gave me the first surprise due to its, let's say, rockish sound that reminds me to some American bands. I love the vocals and the easiness to reach high tones and make great changes; the music is great, sometimes with a mellotron that produces a kind of eastern flavor, and in moments with that heavy sound that supposedly belongs to Pain of Salvation.

"Conditioned" continues with that stoner, rock oriented sound reminiscent of some 70s bands. It is nice and strange at the same time, to see how a band morphs and how the conception you had can go down with one or two songs, but that is the beauty of music, it never ceases to surprise us. "Healing now" is a wonderful track full of acoustic strings that give a folkish tone to the music, Gildenlöw vocals easily adapt to any of the styles they offer, so that is a positive point. In this song I love everything, from the voice and strings, to the drums and the rhythm. If I listen to it anywhere, I would never think Pain of Salvation is the performer.

"To the Shoreline" is a nice track with a cool beginning, I like the keyboard sound and how the music reminds me to an old film. Though seems to be a repetitive track, of course it isn't, and I like how they put different moods, changes in time and a diversity of elements. "Eleven" has once again that (seems to be now inherent) rockish and seventies sound, evidenced by guitars. The song is little by little progressing and showing different faces through the minutes, so it is cool to listen to its entirety, instead of skipping it after one or two minutes. You will find a wonderful piece, actually.

"1979" is a short track, with piano and vocals t the beginning, then keyboards and drums enter in a soft way and complement this mellow and emotional track. "The Deeper Cut" so far has to be without a doubt the best (or my favorite, better said) song. Here I love the atmosphere, the keyboards produce a kind of chaotic and dark ambience which is perfectly complemented by the superb vocals, the strings and drums. I love several things here, the intensity, the progression, the well-crafted composition, everything. It is impossible not to repeat this particular track.

"Mortar Grind" is another fantastic song; the guitars take me back in time once again, and later the voice and the keyboard noises begin to create the mood. Once again, the intensity increases while the seconds pass, and once again, the vocals are a highlight, though I must say that the instrumental parts are also first-class. "Through the Distance" is another short piece and it is the softest of them all, in spite of its sudden explosions. This is not a bad track at all, but it did not click with me as I would have liked.

On the other hand, the longest track comes with "The Physics of Gridlock" and since the very first seconds it totally caught my attention, due to that sensation of tension created by guitars and bass. The music gathers colors, nuances and textures, and varies in intensity, mood and emotions, this is wonderful example of a progressive rock track (not sure if prog metal). This is another superb track that fulfilled my expectations and left me with a big satisfaction, another highlight without a doubt. And finally "End Credits" is the song that says goodbye. This is an instrumental track that really takes me to the end of a film; this song is like a flashback through "Road Salt Two" tracks, we can listen to them all in this single song. A good way to finish this wonderful album!

And what a positive surprise, I am truly impressed and happy with this album, and surely will listen to it frequently. Pain of Salvation fans, please give it a chance, I am sure you will find good elements here. My final grade will be four easily-earned stars.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#589621)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Like its predecessor, this is something of a mixed bag. There is more good than bad, but the boys are still not convincing bluesmen, nor will they ever be, I conjecture. There is a false sense of maturity pervading this album, but juvenility is difficult to hide, and PoS has always been instantly recognizable for their youthful irreverence. This is both a good and a bad thing, as on previous records - for my money 1979 (really, guys?) and The Physics of Gridlock really ham it up. But for every mistake there is a blessing; Healing Now and Eleven are both superb little genre-fusion pieces, the latter in particular containing a juicy prog-blues breakdown. More of that, please!

As with Road Salt One the keyboard and bass playing are surprisingly tasteful, while the guitar tends to cling too slightly to the band's previous nu metal influences to be totally convincing. And Mr. Gildenlow, per usual, walks a fine line between soul and cheese.

A solid album from a band not afraid to grow and experiment. I would be surprised if the reader found nothing to like on this record.

Report this review (#607745)
Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Just add water...

Road Salt Two is the second in a pair of albums released by Pain of Salvation which mark a (hopefully) temporary move towards a more 'nostalgic' sound. Whereas 'Road Salt One' album took me quite a while to appreciate, this album was more immediately rewarding although that may just be because I knew what to expect.

Like it's predecessor its a bit hit and miss in terms of interesting songs. There are some really great moments like The Physics of Gridlock, Healing Now and Eleven (which features one of my top three guitar solos of 2011!), and I'm also quite partial to the opening and closing instrumentals. But for the most part its a bit beige. Not bad at all, just very plain, and this is a problem which Opeth's 'Heritage' shared.

In order for a 'retro tribute' to succeed then it has to either be incredibly consistent, or that little bit different. For example Steven Wilson's more ambitious effort 'Grace for Drowning', or Dark Sun's 'Orange' which overflows with character and charm in its raw setting.

The Verdict: On par with 'Road Salt One'.

Report this review (#613943)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars 6/10

"Road Salt 2" is a definite improvement over the first chapter.

People change, even metalheads. Will Mikael Akerfeldt do Metal ever again? Will Cynic? Ulver? Pain Of Salvation? Every Progressive Metal related act seems, fortunately, to be more coherent with the term Progressive than Metal, so from album to album these bands tend to change in terms of sound. Pain Of Salvation's case is probably the least successful of all the Prog Metal bands going towards a softer direction. Their change hasn't brought as much enthusiasm among the Metal community as expected, especially with the release of the mediocre "Road Salt 1". A year after, the band releases "Road Salt 2", which is a definite improvement over that first experiment.

Musically "Road Salt 2" isn't a massive change from the first episode: rough produced Blues Rock, with fuzzy guitars and small hints of Progressive and Metal overall. RS2 contains however much more experimentation and variation: there aren't only guitars roaring, but also violins, piano (admittedly that too was included in RS1), horns, keyboards. Daniel Gildenlow proves once more on this album that he is one of the best vocalists of Modern Progressive: his voice is powerful, at times soothing and painful, others full of anger and despair. On this new LP he truly gives terrific performances all over the place, enough times to make him the star of the album.

Maybe its getting use to this sound, but many of the songs here tend to be quite enjoyable, memorable, and also quite deep in some moments, while in RS1 that couldn't be said for many tracks: tracks like "Softly She Cries" and "Mortar Grind", among the more powerful ones, deliver quite a bit of emotion, just as much as the softer moments like "Healing Now", possibly the most beautiful piece of the album, a folky tune that once again contains tons of heart. But then there are moments like "Conditioned", with it's very typical Bluesy riff, that simply feel banal and forgettable.

Overall, RS2 is a definite improvement over RS1, however, there are still a few flaws in the songwriting and, I must say, the production isn't getting any better. However, the musicians are still just as great, especially Gildenlow. RS2 might not appreciated by even the most die hard fans of the band, but overall, it seems to be a pretty enjoyable record

Report this review (#620864)
Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars A nice surprise, the second in a set. The R.S.1 I just had to discard, even trying my best to like it, after all POS has done before. Happily, I didn't discard the band as a whole. And of course, I hope they will pick up the climbing line again and keep delivering even better albums, and one day get back to the level of Remedy Line. But R.S.2 is awsame too, whith its a little raw sound, ever dramatic vocal lines from Daniel, strong compositions with a few top creations like Mortar Grind; this one is worth buying, at least.
Report this review (#629960)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Back to the 70s... a new direction.

Pain of Salvation have moved into a very new territory with "Road Salt Two", and this is bound to alienate old fans while perhaps gaining new ones. It is not metal that PoS strive for on this release, more like the vintage sound of the 70s classic rock and I have no problem with that but it is nonetheless a surprise when I first encountered this. I have the DVD "Ending Themes" and a swag of albums and have become used to a variation of styles from the prog ambience and intricate metal of "Remedy Lane" to the hardcore themes and heaviness of "Scarsick", however this latest release really threw me for a loop. It has a distinct sound of its won almost like nu metal or grunge in places. There is no 'Disco Queen' on this or 'Hallelujah' but it is still innovative and as fun as previous releases, though perhaps more accessible. The poppier approach will appeal but the metalheads out there are unlikely to be impressed as there is not enough on here, it all sounds like a grunged up hard rock.

The album boasts some excellent material such as powerhouse riffer 'Mortar Grind' and a thundering hook on 'Eleven'. I am also enamoured with '1979', that delightfully sounds like it came from that year, and 'The Physics of Gridlock', with some incredible melodies, and it even features symphonic orchestral sections such as 'Road Salt Theme' and 'End Credits'. It is not the first time PoS have liked their music to a movie soundtrack and again this feels like it purposefully. I am not into the concept of the album if it even exists but overall the album delivers some compelling music.

Daniel Gildenlow dominates the album vocally and often it becomes overbearing, but there is no mistaking his basslines and the guitar work, along with some exceptional drumming of Leo Margarit. The mellotron is always welcome as is all the keyboard finesse of Fredrik Hermansson. Johan Hallgren is terrific on guitars and the band are a very tight unit as usual, never failing to surprise on this album, as one is never sure what style each track will be, such is the diversity of the material.

Overall I don't think the legion of fans will be disappointed though some may take longer to appreciate the new approach than others and that is understandable. I was quite happy with the album but it did throw me as the metal sound was really pushed to the back instead of to the foreground. It will be interesting to see where PoS will go next on subsequent releases as this one was highly experimental and creative, and not at all like previous albums.

Report this review (#783105)
Posted Saturday, July 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album was very much a surprise for me. My enthusiasm for Pain of Salvation had been steadily declining ever since hearing the (in my opinion) excellent Be; I liked Scarsick even if it didn't have the same flow as The Perfect Element or Remedy lane, but Road Salt one seemed so tepid and uninteresting to me that I kind of just checked out on Pain of Salvation. I didn't like the new direction any more than I had Opeth's, and I mentally marked the band down as another casualty of the burnout that seems so prevalent among progressive rockers. As a result, I didn't get this album until it was old news. In fact, if not for a random, impulsive Spotify listen, I probably wouldn't have gotten it at all.

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

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

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

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


Report this review (#840115)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2012 | Review Permalink

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