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Pain Of Salvation

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Pain Of Salvation Entropia album cover
4.09 | 628 ratings | 38 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. ! (Foreword) (6:11)
Chapter I:
2. Welcome To Entropia (1:22)
3. Winning A War (6:33)
4. People Passing By (9:07)
5. Oblivion Ocean (4:43)
Chapter II:
6. Stress (5:01)
7. Revival (7:39)
8. Void Of Her (1:46)
9. To The End (4:57)
10. Never Learn to Fly (Japanese Bonus)
Chapter III:
11. Circles (0:55)
12. Nightmist (6:49)
13. Plains Of Dawn (7:23)
14. Leaving Entropia (epilogue) (2:31)

Total Time: 64:59

Line-up / Musicians

- Daniel Gildengl÷w / lead vocals, guitar, co-producer
- Daniel Magdic / guitar, vocals
- Fredrik Hermansson / keyboards
- Kristoffer Gildenl÷w / bass, vocals
- Johan Langell / drums, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Patrik Larsson (Peel Productions)

CD Avalon ‎- MICP-10013 (1997, Japan)
CD Hellion Records ‎- HELL0532 (1997, Sweden)
CD Inside Out Music America ‎- IOMACD 2009 (1999, US)
CD InsideOut Music ‎- IOMCD 040 (2010, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PAIN OF SALVATION Entropia ratings distribution

(628 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

PAIN OF SALVATION Entropia reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
4 stars This is a re-issue of the Progressive Metal band PAIN OF SALVATION's debut concept album "Entropia". Previously it has only been available in Asia on the Avalon label. It was very well received and got great reviews, and with this re-release on InsideOut, the rest of the world finally has the chance to hear it. The story and the album is divided into three chapters, each chapter containing four songs. The musicians are highly technically skilled and performs the songs as impressive as on the follow up concept album "One Hour By The Concrete Lake" (1998). The singer Daniel Gildenl÷w have a strong voice that reminds a little of Geoff Tate (QUEENSRYCHE). PAIN OF SALVATIOn's music is reminiscent to DREAM THEATER, ELDRITCH, QUEENSRYCHE, SAVATAGE and THRESHOLD. The highlights are the opening "! (foreword)", "Nightmist" and the closing track "Leaving Entropia (Epilogue)", but the album should be listened to as a whole. Recommended!
Review by billyshears'67
5 stars One of the best debut's of all-time!

This album is in a pantheon alone. It really suits the definition of what is 'progressive.' The album itself just weaves through so many styles of music and so many shades of light and dark. It's an epic stew with all the right ingredients and the digestive outcome is a taste of absolute resplendent music. PAIN OF SALVATION are perhaps the juggernaut in the 'progressive' scene today. This is a concept album with great messages, compassion, and politcal undertones. Daniel Gildengl÷w is not only an amazing musician and composer, but the range of his vocal pipes are incredibly versatile, with the inclusion that his lyrics are poignant and compassionate. On a sad note, this would be Daniel Magdic's only album with the band after his long involvement with the band. The arrangements are complicated and vast.

I really truly mean this when I say that every single song on this album is incredible. "Leaving Entropia (epilogue)" is one of the best ways of ending an album I've heard. It's the peace after the chaos (entropia). "To the End," perhaps the heaviest track on the album even has the ability to include a passage of jazz. "Stress" is a fun and exhilirating song with marvelous lyrics and the song really just lifts you up.

If you're fan of music that gets neither boring, nor stagnant, then listen to PAIN OF SALVATION.

Review by diddy
4 stars Pain of Salvation, maybe the most underrated prog-metal band. But why? I think it's astonishing that such an innovative and talented band has to suffer from being underestimated. Comparing to various other prog-metal bands "Pain of Salvation" seems to be almost the only one sounding different from Dream Theater, seems to be the only band with such an distinctive and own sound. And to carry this point to extremes I want to mention that the guys from sweden have, unlike various other bands refering to this genre, a really great singer. Daniel Gildenl÷w is not only an awfully great singer, he also is the "mastermind" of the band and btw very talented in doing so. You can run across Daniel on various other Prog projects such as "Transatlantic" or lately "The Flower Kings", referring to Jonas Reingold he's even a kind of official member of the Kings now (I think his work on the new FK output "Adam & Eve" is evidence enough).

"Entropia" is Pain of Salvation's debut and, like you can easily imagine, a concept album. The band in general but especially on this album seems to be much more experimental than others. So one may say that this album isn't a slight fare. Of course it isn't but I think it's more than worthwhile to concern oneself with "Entropia" because it can reveal a whole new way of thinking about the whole prog-metal genre. I'd say that Pain of Salvation is a kind of fresh breeze for the genre and this album really proves this point. "! (foreword)" opens the album perfectly. Gildenl÷ws voice surprises me every time I listen to this album. The general sound of this song is quite heavy but not all the time, the song often features some breaks. I think you should download the sample above immediately. "Welcome to entropia" is a short intro, experimental. "Winning a war" is a POS classic and for me, one of their best songs. The lyrics are terrific just like Gildenl÷w's voice. I simply love this song. The next tune "people passing by" can be described as a highlight of the album. Really funky and unusual. Different styles are mixed here and create an interesting general sound. Maybe one of the best POS songs, yes indeed. Cool melodies, awesome breaks and jazzy solos as well as heavy riffing. And of course, Gildenl÷w's vocals, can't say it often enough. "Olivion Ocean" is another classic. Slightly mellow and melancolic. Not heavy at all, almost a ballad. The next song "Stress" is really interesting. Here you can hear what I meant by mentioning the experimental flair and sound. "Revival" is a mixture of heavy riffing and cool solos and breaks, a good one. "void of her" is a short soulful guitar solo and transforms to a bridge passage for the next song "To the End". It is quite heavy in the beginning but features a cool melody and riffing. But surprise, a very cool jazz-break and awesome solos near the end. "Circles" is again a short piece, almost a bass solo in the beginning but it turns to a short vocal reprise. "Nighmist" is a cool, again partly very funky bass dominated song. It's almost a bit weird and features great soloing, a great song. The last but one song "Plains of dawn" is a nice ballad wich turns heavier in the end. The prolog "Leaving Entropia" is a perfect ending for this great concept piece.

What can I say? Well, Pain of Salvation is a prog-metal band wich is different from all the others. They have their very own sound wich is very experimental and partly weird. They have one of the best singers of the whole prog genre and really made it to sound different from all these Dream Theater clones. I think that Pain of Salvation is a band that EVERYONE should check out. Even those who don't like prog-metal in general...the reason: just because they are DIFFERENT and without being a cant, innovative and very talented. "Entropia" is an experimental debut and sometimes I'd say it is their best work so far. I don't really know, 4 or 5 stars...I think 4 and a half stars would be perfect. More than highly recommended, for prog-metal fans anyway and those who don't like all these Dream Theater clones, this is the perfect band to check out.

Oh and BTW, did I mention the teriffic vocals?

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Walk with me and see the world I see. It is our home it's where we all belong."

My musical journey with Pain of Salvation has put this debut album at my last listening pleasure. Why? This album did not sound accessible to my ears at first spin because the music was a bit rough edged, half-polished, strange melody (even not melodic at all?) plus strange singing style. I put it aside after listening until track three or four, put the CD on my shelf and never played it again. Too heavy for my ears and I had other prog CDs to enjoy - why spending my time for music that was not friendly to me. There were bunch of prog music that I could enjoy at the time. Forget it!

My true experience enjoying Pain of Salvation was with "Perfect Element Part 1" album where I got the used CD. It amazed me and since then I explored other albums of the band and I enjoyed their newer albums very much. Entropia came into picture after I enjoyed the acoustic live album 12:5 especially with the Leaving Entropia song. Oh, the lyrics and singing style are really superb! Since then I regularly put the CD at my player and my appreciation to this album grew steadily .

This album comprises three chapters with one foreward - it's like reading a well-structured scientific or management book. The album's foreword titled as "! (Foreword)" (6:11) is an energetic song with aggressive singing and stunning guitar work as rhythm, riffs as well as melody. The second track "Welcome To Entropia" is basically a music loop that reminds me to Peter Gabriel's music followed with hard driving music started with unique Gildenlow's yell in the opening of "Winning A War" (6:33). The music turns frequently between hard and soft part with energetic voice line. "People Passing By" (9:07) starts differently with dynamic solo bass line continued with riffs and vocal. The composition of this track is much complex than previous tracks exploring stunning double guitar solos. "Oblivion Ocean" (4:43) concludes Chapter 2 with a mellow track - only guitar fills accompany singing style. Excellent track.

Chapter II starts with "Stress (5:01)" with drum solo accompanied with a combination of percussion / drum and guitar riffs and wonderful bass lines. It's so amazing track with complex arrangement combining inventive guitar fills, bass guitar and unique singing. "Revival" (7:39) continues the music with relatively fast tempo style combining guitar riffs and keyboard sounds. "Void Of Her" (1:46) is a blues based bridge with stunning electric guitar solo. "To The End" (4:57) concludes Chapter II with heavy and interrupted guitar riffs followed with continuous music in relatively medium / fast tempo style.

Chapter III starts with "Circles" (0:55) which is actually a bass guitar solo outfit followed with melodic guitar fills that accompany singing. "Nightmist" (6:49) is probably the track that combines symphonic and prog metal music. "Plains Of Dawn" (7:23) is a melodic song with a slow / medium tempo and multi vocalists. The album concludes with "Leaving Entropia (epilogue)" (2:31) - an acoustic outfit with powerful lyrics and vocal quality.

It's an excellent addition to any progressive music collection even though the music is (I think) not accessible at first spin. Recommended.

"You don't have to cry for more. You don't have to have it all. You don't have to win a war if death is but a dream. Then don't let me... ...fall asleep"

Progressively yours, GW

Review by The Crow
4 stars Very good debut form this fantastic progressive metal band!

This album has very good ideas and instrumental development for being a debut. Here we can hear very mature compositions with a good production too (only the drum's sound it's a little weak in my opinion, the double pedal it's almost indistinguishable) I think the most important fact for what this band should be heard by everyone it's the Daniel Gildenlow's voice: he is probably one of the best singers in prog-metal history!!! His voice it's simply incredible, powerful and with a lot of variety and interpretation's possibilities. And he sings with a lot of sentiment, really feeling and interpreting the lyrics.

Another important fact of this debut album it's the former member Daniel Magdic's presence, because on the contrary of later POS's releases, the music isn't composed only by Daniel. Magdic composed part of some songs of Entropia, and it's great, because his influence made this songs variated and this fact rest a little of the melancholy and sadness of the Gildenlow's compositions. This fact makes this album a little different, it has its own personality. The Daniel Magdic's way of composing music is a little Drean Theater oriented, and it can be heard in songs like ! (Foreward) and Stress. For me, it's a pity that this is the only POS's album where he played, because I think his playing and compositions are very good.

And I love the bass's playing and sound too. The bass sounds amazing in songs like People Passing By and Nightmist. Better than other Pain Of Salvation's albums! It's a little mysterious... Maybe the Magdic's influence too?

Best tracks: Winning a War (funny and hard-rocking tune), Oblivion Ocean (a precious one), Nightmist (this songs has all that a good POS's tune should have) and Leaving Entropia (beautiful acoustic song with a kind of medieval feeling on it)

Conclusion: very recommended album for melancholic-but-powerful prog metal lovers!

My rating: ****

Review by AtLossForWords
5 stars It's not suprising to see five star reviews for Pain of Salvation anymore. Entropia however seems not to recieve the great acclaim of other works. Is this justified?

Entropia is Pain of Salvation's debut album. At my first listen, I didn't care as much for the album as I do for later Pain of Salvation releases. Now as I listen to this album, I have to admit that Enropia contains some of Pain of Salvations strongest and most creative matierial. People Passing By, Winning a War, Oblivion Ocean, and Plains of Dawn are all some of the most amazing tunes in Pain of Salvation's repitoire. Entropia also shows off much more intrumental mastery than the later efforts.

Daniel Gildenlow's vocals are not quite to the point of later albums, but they fit this debut perfectly. Not only does Gildenlow put in a great vocal performance, the harmonies done by other members of the band are placed perfectly making this album worth listening to just for the vocals. Gildenlow's guitar playing is some of the most complex throughout his entire career. Not only is there quite a bit of dissonant melody, but there is an awful lot of shread solos and unisons that really make this a unique Pain of Salvation album.

Fredrik Hermansson's keys are the most important element to the album, but it's certainly a necessary one. Hermansson doesn't participate in the virtuoso unisons that the Gildenlows and Daniel Magdic will, but he is an important source of melody and tonal distinction. Hermansson's playing is supposed to be an atmospheric effect, which he accomplishes ten times out of ten.

Daniel Magdic made his lone Pain of Salvation performance on this album. Subsequently this is one of the most technical Pain of Salvation's albums. I think his contribution to later albums most specifically One Hour by the Concrete Lake would have been quite interesting. Magdic's time in Pain of Salvation was short, but excellent none the less.

Kristoffer Gildenlow does some great bass playing on this album as well. The album is more metal than later Pain of Salvation matierial, and that is reflected in Gildenlow's playing. There are some really cool bass parts in songs like Circles, People Passing By, and Winning a War, but sadly this is not Kristoffer Gidlenlow's most impressive work. There's still good things, so I'm lead to believe it's not his fault, but simply the style he was playing didn't dictate the use of many of his talents.

It is interesting to here a drummer as jazzy as Johan Langell play such a straight ahead metal style throughout this album. Langell's creative use of every piece of his set is even more impressive going full speed. Interesting cymbal use and excellent fills make Langell's performance on this album unforgettable.

The production is top notch for a debut album. Everything is clear, strong, and most importantly audible. The guitar feature a lighter and unique distortion, but still come off incredibly potent. The bass is very present in the mix with the most balanced equalization. It's great to hear bass that isn't overly bassy or tinny from excessive high range. It's just a great balanced tone. The drums are great. Each tom and cymbal has great sustain and articulation. The keyboards aren't as creative as most Pain of Salvation efforts, but none the less provide an important atmospheric element.

This is my personal favorite from Pain of Salvation. The creativity of this album is unmatched even by future efforts like BE. It's a shame Pain of Salvation didn't stick with this style longer, but then again that may be what makes this album so special. It's one of the most imaginary progressive metal albums a fan will ever hear.

How could I not give this spectacular album from this spectacular band five stars?

Review by OpethGuitarist
3 stars A very good debut from this impressive prog band. This album is more about "rocknroll" than it is prog. You can tell from this album and future works of the band that they were very unsure of themselves and stuck to many of what I would call "safe sounds". The band does showcase some obvious talent, but they play the safe card here, an understandable thing for a band just starting out and needing to make it in. It's hard for a band to release something like BE on their very first album. It's just too pretentious for a band with no previous recordings.

They attempted to make the album very appealing to general fans of rock, and although there are many good tunes here, nothing is profound. Just some good solid music for those looking for a break from intense listening.

Review by hdfisch
4 stars 4 Ż stars really!

"Entropia" was a more than excellent debut for this amazing band in my opinion (and obviously in other people's as well). Many people prefer "The Perfect Element" (which was also very good) to this one because of its easier to access sound. But for me it's the opposite I really have to say. It might need definitely more spins than that one to get into but once "you're in" it can offer enjoyment for hundreds of listens. As all of their albums it's based on a concept (basically about death and dreams) and divided into three chapters. The compositions are rather experimental and involving many different music styles, even a bit of funk like demonstrated in "People Passing By" reminding initially quite a lot to RHCP but developing into a truly awesome uplifting Prog piece. The general mood on this album might be dark (corresponding to the theme), but never becoming depressive at any moment. As well I couldn't claim that the sound is very heavy throughout. Rather are mood, tempo and rhythm changing within the same song at times that frequently and often abrupt that you forget that you actually still listen to the same one. With "Oblivion Ocean" this album contains one of the most beautiful and passionate (without being cheesy) ballads they've ever done. Actually I can tell those people who loved this song in its 12:5-version it's here as well fully acoustic and at least as compelling as in the live unplugged version. And of course I shouldn't forget to mention that apart from the excellent musicianship presented by all band members they're blessed with the most talented singer in metal music of all times. Daniel Gildenl÷w is covering with his voice such a broad spectrum I can't recall from any other vocalist from bright to dark and from velvet to evil. What I said about "Oblivion Ocean" applies BTW as well to most of the song "Plains Of Dawn" with the difference that this one has been crowned with a rather heavy and bombastic finish. "Leaving Entropia" is another very mellow and nice track and provides a perfect closure of this great album.

As a summary I just can highly recommend this work to anyone looking for truly sophisticated and different kind of metal music.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Something about this band really struck a chord with me. The debut album of this incredibly sophisticated metal group hailing from Sweden is not only one of my favorite albums of the genre, but it may even be the group's best album (tied with The Perfect Element, which is a masterpiece to me as well). Anyway, Daniel Gildenlow and company start off swinging with a homerun of an album in Entropia. The first of Pain of Salvation's conceptual legacies, Entropia takes a more storybook feel to it with the presence of chapters throughout the album (it's about 3 tracks per chapter), and musically, one couldn't ask for more. Stylistically, this album goes through many different moods, tempos, and even genres for brief moments in songs, but it's the instrumental and vocal complexity coupled with the intelligent and emotional lyrics that really give this album an edge over many other albums in the progressive metal genre.

From the crushing riffing of ! (Foreward) to the melancholy acoustics of Leaving Entropia, the listener is taken on a journey that is surely one to remember. ! begins the album with a bang of menacing riffing and diverse vocals from Gildenlow (giving everything from grunts to falsettos). This track alone sets the tone for what lays ahead. Welcome to Entropia has a very modern edge to it with a looped drum pattern being the entire track. It segues directly into Winning a War, which is one of the best tracks on the album. Gildenlow's passionate vocal performances and the varying moods that are within the song really give it a unique flow. People Passing By is the longest, and most dynamic piece on the album if you ask me. Beginning with slap bass and a funky rhythm section, it soon becomes a haven for riffs and odd rhythmic complexities. Drummer Johan Langell performs wonderfully on this track (as he does on essentially every track he's featured on) keeping precision patterns even during the most complex of situations (especially during a grueling 5/8 section towards the middle).

Oblivion Ocean is a vocal/bass/guitar (or modulated guitar piece) featuring just sprawling guitar arpeggios wtih Gildenlow singing his heart out on top of it. It's an interesting piece with a unique sound unlike anything else on the album. Stress is percussively my favorite track on the album, with out of this world drumming from Langell as well as a funky vibe line on top of the powerful guitar riffing (especially towards the beginning). Revival combines heavy riffing with dynamic and multi-faceted soloing from both Daniel Gildenlow and Daniel Magdic. Void of Her is essentially a 1:46 guitar solo that creates an interlude feel rather than set up for the next song. To the End is probably the most abrasive song musically on the album, mainly because of the grungy and very heavy guitar/drum patterns in the beginning. It rounds out to be another magnificent song as well. Circles is a short interlude piece beginning with fast bass guitar arpeggios before converting to a melodic guitar line with a short vocal performance from Gildenlow.

Nightmist is probably my favorite piece on this album. The opening guitar riffing gives way to a stellar drum performance from Langell as well as some incredibly intricate guitar playing from Gildenlow and Magdic. The funk section in the middle is also a nice change of pace (it's got a big RHCP vibe at that point but then reverts to the main motif). It's nothing short of amazing. Plains of Dawn features a stellar chorus that takes a really epic feel (maybe it's the chord progression that gives it that feeling). It's amazing how well crafted and produced the vocals are on this album, as well as the music, as everyone who provides vocals on this album really helps create an atmosphere that is damn near unmatched harmonically. Leaving Entropia is the conclusion to the album. A short acoustic piece where Gildenlow relinquishes his final sentiments to the listener before the album closes officially.

Overall, if you want complex/clever/intelligent/quirky and terribly original progressive metal, Pain of Salvation may be the group to look into. They have a style that really is unmatched and this album is probably their most creative effort in terms of the music alone. I can't really put to words how I feel about this album, but one this is certain in my mind, no fan of progressive metal should not have this album. It gets my highest recommendations and full marks, as I cannot fault this album with anything. Essential for progressive metal fans. 5/5.

Review by sleeper
4 stars Pain of Salvation has become one of the leaders of the Progressive Metal sub-genre over the last 10 years and have always maintained a high creative level. Entropia is the debut album from the Swedish five some and is remarkably diverse and strong for a band so full of youth at the time.

Entropia is an ambitious first attempt at an album and is reflected in a concept about war and its painful effects on people, set out so that it is difficult to follow, that is matted to some very experimental music. As others have noted, this is one of Pain of Salvations more metal like albums but its performed in a style that I have not heard from any other band before or since (that's not to say that they are unique, it just means that there has been no other band that has attained such a level of success with a style like this). Riffs and rhythms change completely and regularly throughout this album, but rarely does it ever feel like it is loosing cohesion and this has been a massive strength of the bands throughout there career.

There are many things that stand out on this album but vocals is something that you have to take particular note. Gildenlow proves to be in possession of a voice that is capable of impressive range and dexterity, going from a low growl of a voice to high pitched scream, though this will be more pronounced in later albums, in a manner oddly reminiscent of Peter Gabriel, and to a greater degree than many other metal singers. He quite definitely marks himself out as one of the best singers of the last ten years, possibly even the best singer. Daniel Gildenlow isn't the only member of the band to provide vocals though as drummer Johan Langell, bassist Kristoffer Gildenlow and guitarist Daniel Magdic (making his only appearance on a Pain of Salvation album) all provide excellent harmony and backing to Daniel Gildenlow's stunning lead, something that is used to great effect.

The level of musicianship that the band members display is very impressive but its harnessed by all to create sharp, expressive and highly focused songs. Never once does this band look remotely likely to fall into the trap of meandering instrumental sections that last for a long time and go nowhere worth bothering with. Indeed many of the songs are amongst the tightest and most impressive compositions that I have ever heard. The twin guitar playing of Daniel Gildenlow and Daniel Magdic has a strong character here with the main focus for them to be playing strong riffs and melodies that lead the songs on through each vocal and instrumental section. Kristoffer Gildenlow quickly proves himself as a stunning prospect on the bass. He shows a command of both plucking and slapping that is very impressive, but his ability to switch between both styles at the drop of a hat in the middle of a song, quite often enhancing the groove of the song at that point, is simply remarkable. I have to admit that Langell didn't immediately come across as a particularly impressive drummer but on closer inspection he has a strong sense of rhythm and a powerful style. Sadly I found Fredrick Hermanssons talents as an expert keyboard player, one that is particularly impressive at harmonising with the band and creating appropriate atmospheres, to be underused on this album, or at least too far back in the mix to hear properly.

This album does have its downsides. Though the exuberance and energy of a band embarking on its first album come through here, the creative medley of styles that are apparent don't always work. For instance, the bluesy section of Plains of Dawn could have been left out as it doesn't work to well, it just seems to break up the song for little reason.

This is without doubt a very impressive debut album that throws out some real gems in !(Forward), Winning A War, People Passing By and Nightmist and, in fairness, there are no weak songs at all here, though some sections of songs could have been done better. Due to its eclectic nature its not the best place to start when investigating Pain of Salvation but Entropia should never be overlooked. 4.5 stars for this as its highly enjoyable, rounded down to 4.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars In the liner notes of this their debut album they thank some of the bands who have influenced their sound and lives. Not surprisingly FAITH NO MORE is mentioned, as well as DREAM THEATER, PINK FLOYD, BLACK SABBATH, YES, QUEENSRYCHE, RUSH, STEVE MORSE, KINGS X, ZAPPA, ERIC JOHNSON and MARILLION, amongst others.These guys are so complex, emotional, intelligent and powerful ! I really think what sets these guys apart from a lot of Metal bands are their emotional and powerful lyrics. Daniel Gildenlow is not afraid to touch on subjects that society in general would like to ignore or cover up.

"! (Forward)" opens very heavily, with vocals coming in around the 1 minute mark.This song is all over the place, from heavy drums and killer guitar, to mellow passages with piano and soft vocals. "Welcome to Entropia" is a short piece with the sound of waves to open it. "Winning A War" has some good synths later in the song, but it's the emotional vocals and lyrics that steal the show on this one. "People Passing By" has a funky intro and goes from mellow to harsh. Some complex guitar melodies are followed by a long scathing guitar solo.

"Oblivion Ocean" is an amazing song ! The vocals are so emotional and pleading. Just a beautiful, fragile song."Stress" is ok with a bombastic intro. "Revival" has a beautiful main melody that somehow reminds me of "Achillies Last Stand" from LED ZEPPELIN. Driving guitars and some incredible drumming lead the way. "Void of Her" is dark and heavy with some organ."To The End" is all over the map. "Circles" features some great bass, acoustic guitar and gentle vocals. Nice. "Nightmist" is another terrific tune ! The guitar melody sounds incredible, and it comes back later in the song. More great bass lines and guitar solos."Plains of Dawn" is another beautiful song with fragile vocals, piano and acoustic guitar."Leaving Entropia (epilogue)" is another pastoral song with acoustic guitar and vocals.

Easily 4 stars. An emotional and powerful record.

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars An undeniably outstanding debut from one of the genre's smartest and original bands, "Entropia" features everything that is (and to some extent remains) Pain of Salvation-- big, aggressive melodies with irresistible vocals juxtaposed to soft and delicate interludes scattered throughout, and usually within the very excellent heavy stuff.

There are many gems to be discovered here, from the memorable songs to the band's playing, which is a cut above the rest in regards to skill and composition. Solos are relatively standard fare, rather, the songs themselves are examples of a sum of their parts, being fine and varied arrangements featuring a total sound as opposed to one playing dominating.

Daniel's vocals deserve special mention as well, having an immediately attractive timbre but also a tremendous range which dances from high-pitched wail to brooding growl with gymnastic ease; his pure singing voice is a sheer joy as well.

Highly, highly recommended for all (but not just) fans of heavy music.

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 5 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Review by ProgBagel
4 stars Pain of Salvation - Entropia 4 stars

I'll give some brief info about the band that has surpassed all others in the genre of prog-metal. A band that is always looking down on their past releases and always seeking to push the envelope further.this is much different then any other prog-metal band.unless you count Wastefall, a band that wears the PoS logo on their shoulders. Their music heavily relies on compositional skills and excellent vocal work by Daniel Gildenlow, who was become my idol in music.

Believe it or not this band was formed in 1987 under the name Reality.ten years before the debut album!! I'm not going through all the line-up changes but if you couldn't guess already.Daniel Gildenlow was the creator of this band and does just about all of the work (I will specifically mention where there is more credit due to just him).

So the line-up for this debut contains almost all the members of the band until the post-BE era except for the guitarist. Daniel Gildenlow is on guitar and vocal duties, he also wrote all the lyrics for this album and composed all the songs except for '! (Forward)', 'People Passing By' (Part II), 'Stress', 'Revival' and 'To the End', which was also co-written by Daniel Magdic. Daniel Magdic is also on guitar and vocals and this is the only PoS album that features him. Johan Langell is on drums and vocals. He is one of the smoothest drummers there is and has an excellent use of polyrhythms. Kristoffer Gildenlow, brother of Daniel, is on the bass and does vocal work as well. Finally, Fredrik Hermansson is on the keyboards. You should get the album to see a picture of him with long hair, pretty crazy.

There are 13 tracks on the album, I won't bore the reader describing all of them, plus since most of the PoS albums are conceptual and whole pieces of work, they shouldn't really be decomposed to separately rated tracks.

This is about as strong as a debut album can get for a band. This is also arguably their most diverse album too. It goes from very aggressive tracks like the albums opener to a vocal solo spot with some guitar accompaniment like in the beautiful 'Oblivion Ocean'. The guitar work is also quite intricate; the presence is always there throughout the album. It is very intricate because it is playing in consistently changing in time signatures, intermediately challenging yet wonderful solos and very strong breakdowns with interesting chord arrangements and arpeggios completing the feel of this album. The diversity that lies in the tracks are the near Dream Theater like instrumentals, extremely complex melody arrangements, jazzy solos and some of the best new vocal work done in quite some time. The vocals remind me of Geoff Tate from Queensryche except having the range and tendencies of Mike Patton of Mr.Bungle and Fantomas.

This album is easily 4 stars. It took me a while to get into this, if a fan or someone getting into this band is having trouble getting into this, there is an easy solution. Pain of Salvation's live album 12:5 has many Entropia tracks put into acoustic arrangements. The tracks truly shine; the concept is more easily understood because you are not bombarded with loud drums and guitars. Going back to the album after that will make it more understandable and a better listening experience.guaranteed.

Review by LiquidEternity
3 stars Here is the point where mighty modern-day prog metal giants (though they hate the label of prog metal) Pain of Salvation begin. And what should it sound like, but an awkward and promising release?

The primary difference between Entropia and the next four or so albums is the lineup. A fellow named Daniel Magdic adds guitars and songwriting. And that's where I think much of the difference lies. The band hasn't yet found their primary core of musicianship, nor have they quite found the balance for songwriting (as in, 95% by Daniel Gildenlow). We have youthful attempts at making jagged and complex instrumental passages, odd time signatures, crunchy metal moments, vocal harmonies and solo shenanigans, and so forth. In short, a Pain of Salvation record minus experience and careful trimming of pointless material. That's one of the biggest drawbacks to the record: songs and song pieces that do not belong yet somehow are still present. Also, there is a dramatic and noticeable downtick of quality from the first portion through to the final one, which is not uncommon, but is still regrettable and troublesome. And what's more, the intense Mike Patton/Faith No More influence is stronger here than on any other record, most evident in the wild amount of slap bass and that singing/rapping/breathing/yelling thing that Patton is so well known for.

Entropia opens with the anthemic !, with the added subtitle of (Forward) lest we get confused and think our computer is unable to display the track title. It's a challenging tune, made up of what will make the band great, especially the vocal harmonies. The music then wades through an industrial moment of filler before lighting on Winning a War. This track is well written and well performed, but the shallow sound values remove a dramatic portion of its punch. People Passing By is the strongest and most Pain of Salvation song on this debut. Opening with very heavily slapped bass and a bit of funk, it twists and turns for nearly ten minutes through vocal harmonies, a long guitar solo, and even more funky slap bass. Definitely the highlight of Entropia. And what's more, Oblivion Ocean follows, a haunting song with a wonderful melody and low-tech production that actually adds to its flair. Unfortunately, the album only droops from here, otherwise it might be much more highly rated and regarded.

Stress kicks off the slump with an overabundance of Dream Theater-wannabe prog metal. The rhythms are wild and irregular, which would be pleasant if the song didn't sound so jerky and awkward because of them. It's a good tune to enjoy once in a while, but I can't but consider it a failed song concept. Revival is a more standard metal tune with a few moments of wonderful vocals and melodies but is otherwise nothing very special. A filler track moves us then to To the End, a song slightly less jerky than Stress but still awkward and clearly written by a young band full of ideals but lacking the experience to implement them well at all. A touch more of filler, and we have Nightmist, which is altogether average and nothing particularly outstanding. Plains of Dawn kicks the album back up a few notches, as it is full of deep harmonies and emotional vocals. The production and keyboard sound choices are a bit unfortunate, but the quality of the melodies and then the final minute or two make this a valuable addition to the Pain of Salvation song catalog. The finale is a bit of a filler itself, though it is explored much more fully and beautifully on the live album 12:5.

This is a pretty enjoyable album, though it's youthful enthusiasm quite often gets the better of its quality. Pain of Salvation fans will find plenty to enjoy, but other prog metal fans might want to try starting with something slightly more polished and well-crafted like The Perfect Element or Remedy Lane.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Entropia is the debut studio album from one of the leading progressive metal acts Pain of Salvation. Pain of Salvation are from Sweden which is clearly heard in their very melodic sound. I purchased Entropia as my first Pain of Salvation album and I remember that I was quite disappointed when I came home with my purchase. I had been listening to the CD in the store and found some truly beautiful moments but now it seemded too incoherent and badly flawed. I have learned to appreciate Entrpia more these days, but only after listening to some of the later albums from Pain of Salvation like Remedy Lane did I get my curiosity back and ended up listening to Entropia again.

The music is pretty eclectic ( not unlike a band like Faith No More which Pain of Salvation is undoubtedly influenced by) and covers a lot of genres and moods from Funky parts, melancholic subtle beautiful parts and progressive metal parts with both clean singing and occasional rough guy vocals ( that I can┤t stand). The music is just as I remembered it a bit incoherent but my biggest problem has always been with Daniel Gildengl÷w┤s vocal approach. Way too pathetic and theatrical at times which is a shame as he has a very beautiful voice. I want to stress that this is only a problem occassionally. I generally enjoy the vocals from Daniel. The music is very melodic but it takes some time for the songs to become memorable IMO. Some songs do catch on from the get go though. Oblivion Ocean has for example always moved me even though Daniel┤s voice makes me cringe a time or two in that song too. I have always disliked the funky parts so a song like People Passing By has always been a bit trying for me, but I┤ve learned to appreciate it more with time.

The music is very dynamic and shifts between beautiful melancholic acoustic parts and progressive heavy metal parts. I always liked the melancholic parts the best and found the heavy parts way too generic. Pain of Salvation is actually best when they play progressive rock and leave the distorted guitar riffing to someone who knows how to play innovative and progressive things. There are a few guitar riffs I enjoy but basically they are way too simple and trivial.

The musicianship is excellent and even though I have complained about el Gildengl÷w┤s vocal approach earlier I have to praise him for being a very skilled singer. He actually masters many styles. Too bad I don┤t like some of them, but I guess it┤s an aquired taste.

The production is good but not as good as the ones on later albums.

Entropia is still a disappointment after all these years, but it┤s compared to what Pain of Salvation and other top class progressive acts like Dream Theater and Fates Warning have done on other albums. If you look at Entropia isolated from other great albums in the genre it┤s quite a good album and deserves 3 stars. It┤s one of those albums where I can fully understand why others would give it more. Sometimes it just comes down to personal taste. Pain of Salvation should be considered one of the most distinct and influential bands in progressive metal though, I won┤t dispute that.

Review by ZowieZiggy

No doubt about this while listening to this album. Same sort of riffs, great guitar breaks, dual mood: from heavy metal to mellow sounds ("Oblivion Ocean") and discreet keyboards. IMHHO, very much more metal than prog.

Still, "Entropia" is a strong album. The archetype of the genre, finally. I guess that a song as "Winning A War" is expected by the fans, even if it holds too many clichÚs as far as I am concerned. But I'm not a deep lover of this genre.

Guitar work is the highlight throughout the whole album; but the rhythmic section does a very fine job as well. Versatile and powerful during "People Passing By", the band combines melody and metal sounds quite nicely. Just as DT did.Nothing new under the prog metal world I'm afraid; even if the final guitar break is just gorgeous and emotional.

POS is not really inventing anything during "Revival". All of the same, you know: heavy riff and melodic guitar solo. This is rather predictable, isn't it? As the whole of this long work.

There is even an attempt on a true symphonic prog track! The beautiful (but short) instrumental "Void Of Her" (at least during the first part, since it sounds difficult for the band to get concentrate on something else than these metal sounds). POS is also releasing a rock ballad (if you would except the last ninety seconds which are just wild), with some melowish vocals (Plains Of Dawn). But this is not the best out of this work.

I can't find anything extraordinary in here. Plain metal music combined at times with some melodic lines. A good album, no more. Three stars.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Entropia' - Pain of Salvation (7/10)

...And thus begins the journey of one of my favourite bands of all time, Pain of Salvation. Even early on, this band demonstrated a wide array of talent. From the first few minutes of the epic, socially conscious opener '! (Prologue)' to the striking sentimentality of 'Plains Of Dawn,' Pain of Salvation has crafted a fantastic, mind blowing album that remains an underrated testament to their consistency as quality- driven performers and artists.

'Entropia' tells the story of a family that is estranged in the heat of a war. This concept gives opportunity for Gildenlow (the vocalist and primary songwriter) to explore a wide range of emotions. There is Sadness to be found here, as well as Anger, Love and Fear... None of the emotions feel undercooked or half-baked. Emotionally, everything works on a high-caliber level.

Musically, this is probably the most 'funky' Pain of Salvation ever got. Of special note is the fantastic bass playing that this album enjoys. The intro of 'People Passing By' and the song 'Circles' are a great representation of the bassist's great talent. It's a real shame this bassist only stayed with Pain of Salvation for the duration of one album.

For a debut album, you would expect sub-par recording quality, but this album is certainly an exception to that rule! The recording quality is (for the most part) fantastic, and all of the intruments can be heard clearly (this album's sucessor, 'One Hour By The Concrete Lake' however, would suffer from recording quality problems.)

While it would probably be better for those new to Pain of Salvation to check out the true masterpieces first (The Perfect Element, Remedy Lane, Be), this remains a fantastic album, and while it may not share the phantasm of the later works, 'Entropia' remains one of the greatest progressive debuts of all time, and a great work by a highly talented group of musicians.

Review by Negoba
4 stars Handing off the Baton..Enter the Pain

I have always thought of Pain of Salvation as Queensryche's heirs, releasing this very strong debut in 1997, the same year Queensryche nosedived with Hear in the Now Frontier. And yet, like any worthy offspring, PoS bring many new sounds to the genre, both expanding old concepts to new extremes, and adding new ideas of their own. A la the Ryche, the music on Entropia is melodic, theatric, layered metal which I find very distinct from the Dream Theater school of metal. At the same time, all the players have very solid chops, and get their chances to shine. With the possible exception of the lead vocals, individual performances always take a back seat to the composition and emotional point of the song.

12 years later, it's easy to forget that rapid-fire changes in mood and structure that are now standard were somewhat novel before this band (and others such as Opeth). The first time I heard the opener (!), what struck me most was the abruptness of change, the jagged transitions. And it worked! I believe that this, along with some of the aggression in band leader Daniel Gildenlow's voice, came from the influence of Mike Patton's work in Faith No More and Mr. Bungle. (So he's merged the two best vocalists from the late 80's / early 90's into one powerful, over-the-top voice)

Tracks such as "Stress" are prog metal at it's most intricate - interweaving lines in complex time involving all the instruments. "Revival" combines choral voice, rapid-fire sixteenth note riffing, and lots of syncopation to produce a heavy, dramatic gem of a song. "To the End" is based on a reverse gallop rhythm that is precise, grinding, and aggressive. This leads into intricate composed leads and syncopated vocals, a short jazzy break, a slow sludge section, and an anthemic chorus. Certainly, by the time this album is over, the kitchen sink has long since been thrown in the mix. Overdone? Maybe, but this is metal. I like it.

Like Queensryche had done over a decade before, Pain of Salvation takes the state of art in metal playing and uses the full breadth of techniques as compositional tools, rather than color-by-number guidelines. By 1997, however, the state of the art had increased in precision and technicality, owing to the neo-classical and thrash movements (and Dream Theater's incorporation of both in their pioneering work). Gildenlow also updates prog metal with some of the better lyrics in metal. While he later pushes the envelope further and further and sometimes misses, here he's still intelligent but powerful. The storytelling is not as straightforward as Mindcrime, but lost also is the majority of the metal cheese.

While the band will continue to refine their sound, peaking with The Perfect Element, this album is already excellent, perhaps essential within its own sub-genre. I'm going to round down the 4+ rating owing mainly to a certain immaturity in tone and production, as well as the refinement and sharpening that I know is to come. Still highly recommended.

Review by J-Man
4 stars An excellent debut from Pain of Salvation!

Pain of Salvation is one of my favorite modern progressive metal bands. Their album "The Perfect Element, Part One" is one of my favorite albums ever released from any genre. So where did this excellent Swedish band start out? Not too far from perfection, to be honest. Their debut album, "Entropia", shows their immense amount of skill, excellent arrangements, beautiful melodies, and overall excellence as a band.

One of the things that this album has that actually isn't present on the band's future albums is the overall funky vibe of this album. This is primarily because there is a lot more slap-bass present on this album, though there is something about the songwriting here that is different than it would be on their following releases. This has many sections with jazzier drumming, excellent electric piano, and more jazz-rock sounding guitars. This "funky" sound on this album is actually one Pain of Salvation does well while maintaining their progressive metal style. I actually wish they would have done something like this on more of their albums.

Other than the more funky feel on "Entropia", this is your typical Pain of Salvation album. It has the dynamics between heavy and soft, very melodic vocal lines, and pure beauty through each song. Pain of Salvation is actually one of the only bands I know that can play with so much emotion in their music. Part of this is because of the excellent melodies that Daniel Gildenl÷w is capable of writing, and part of it is because of his excellence as a vocalist. Whatever the reason be, that is one of the main reasons why Pain of Salvation is one of my favorite prog metal bands (and trust me, I've heard more than my fair share of prog metal bands).


"! (Forward)"- The opening track opens with a metal riff that is followed by a short string interlude before the vocals. Once the come in, a light guitar riff enters and it goes back into a heavier section. This part is actually pretty dark, but the assault of different sections and time signature changes work very well. An excellent way to open up a great album!

"Welcome to Entropia"- The sound of the ocean on the shore opens up the first song in Chapter One, and then a light electronic drum beat enters. Some synth chords are used as well.

"Winning A War"- This starts with an upbeat guitar chord progression. After the heavy drums let down a little bit, a light guitar riff comes in. It builds back into the main riff, and it has a nice chorus as well. I really like the keyboards in the latter part of the song, and they are present throughout most of the album. A really good song for sure.

"People Passing By"- My favorite track on the album opens up with a funky bass riff. Soon the whole band comes in with the glorious odd time signatures. It has nice use of keyboards and guitars in the brief, but effective, opening. It soon turns into a different section with a more metal-oriented tone. It later has some really nice choruses and vocal harmonies that make Pain of Salvation famous. A truly excellent song.

"Oblivion Ocean"- After the awesome previous song, Part One of Entropia closes with this song. It is a low guitar melody with some beautiful vocals. It has an electric piano during the choruses, and it is pretty effective. The whole band never enters in this song, but it is very effective how it is. It builds well, mostly due to the excellent vocals.

"Stress"- A rhythmic percussion section opens up the first song of Part Two. This song is very tough to take in, and it is very complex. The keyboard melodies are very good, and one could argue that this is a very disjointed song. The ending is very good, though.

"Revival"- An uplifting guitar riff starts this excellent song. When the vocals come in it has some nice melodies and some great progressions from each section. The last two minutes really are great.

"Void of Her"- This is an excellent bridge between the two songs, and it is entirely instrumental. The guitar is indeed impressive.

"To The End"- The Second Chapter closes with the album's heaviest song. It starts with a pure thrash riff, and it's one of the few moments on the album that's actually fairly heavy. I really like some of the bridges, and the guitar solo is very effective.

"Circles"- This song opens up with a bass riff. That fades out into guitar chords and spacey vocals.

"Nightmist"- It opens with some very Latin sounding riff, and soon the entire band enters. The vocals soon enter into a great chorus that will be used throughout the song. The section in the middle has that funky vibe again that makes this album stand out. The opening riff soon returns, and the beautiful main chorus comes with it to close the track. Outstanding song!

"Plains of Dawn"- Tied for first as my favorite from this album, this beautiful song opens with a light electric piano melody. This features some excellent vocal harmonies, and I love the acoustic guitar solo near the melody. The chorus can literally get stuck in my head for days. After the beautiful main section, it suddenly (and ominously) turns darker, and a metal riff enters. It builds excellently to the song's climax at the very end with heavy keyboards. A true masterpiece.

"Leaving Entropia (Epilogue)"- After the heavy end of the previous song, this light acoustic epilogue begins. It is just a few majestic-sounding acoustic chords, and Daniel singing. While it doesn't sound like much by itself, in the context of the album, it's a very effective ending.


All in all, Entropia is an excellent album deserving of a 4.5 star rating. This is surely one heck of a debut, and is essential for anyone looking to get into Pain of Salvation. While it is not as good as The Perfect Element, Pt. 1 (hardly anything is, to be honest); it still is an album worth getting for sure. It's almost worthy of my highest recommendations, but I still don't quite consider it to be one of Pain of Salvation's masterpieces. All of the ratings aside, I highly recommend this to any prog metal fan!

4 stars.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars Pain Of Salvation's debut album is quite a surprise. Nobody in 1997 realized that this band would go down in the history of progressive rock, or at least of prog metal.

Despite this, the album isn't just a prog metal album. It's a first and little step of what will eventually become a giant. The style is though still a little immature, with not as much prog elements as their following albums, although the sound is much more eclectic thn the rest. In fact we still find though some interesting experimentation, mixed with different genres.PoS is also known because of their very big influence of alt metal, which is a rarity in a progressive metal band. Classic songs are present here anyway, such as "People Passing By", or "Nighmist".

"!" is the start of this journey. Not bad, it has a good kick to it, but PoS definitely has done better, in my humble opinion. "Winning A War" is a great song, with some fantastic riffs, catchy and enlivened. The band demonstrates for the first time their huge talent. "People Passing By" is consider by many one of their best songs. It has some excellent parts, like the funk-prog-metal tune at the beginnig. The rest is kind of boring, or at least not so special and pretty forgettabe. "Oblivion Ocean" is a song I absolutley love. It's a mellow and haunting song, with a beautiful melody that mainly expresses the pain that singer Gildenglow tries to show. "Stress" is another song I love. Very original, because of the ironic and childish melody united with the unbelievable technique typical of the genre. A true prog metal song. "Revival" is a really good song, a little long, but it definitely works. The melody is nice and enjoyable, and the sense of mysterious that many times invades the song is appreciable. "Void Of Her" is like Falling, from their third album TPE: a brief instrumental piece played with the electric guitar. "To The End" is heaven to a prog metal fan: everything great of the genre is here, technical excellence, complex song structure, fast rhythms. Really good generally. "Circles" is a great and fascinating interlude, a very brief track, but quite surprising. "Nighmist" is one of the best songs off this album. Mysterious, catchy, intriguing, a fabulous song. "Plains Of Dawn" is pretty good, but not great. It's a calm ballad, interesting in some parts, in other not that much. "Leaving Entropia" is the final goodbye, even though it could have been better. It's again a calm song, but easily forgettable.

A really good album to sum up, I recommend to prog metal fans especially.

Review by JJLehto
4 stars An extremely impressive debut!

"Entropia" sets the stage for what is to come. One of the more innovative albums in prog metal, though it seems like a pretty standard sound. Why is this album so damn good? It's songwriting! Unlike so many prog metal bands which are built around their virtuoso skill or avant garde tendencies, this is a melodic album and not too challenging. Not to say it's simple by any means! No 12, 15, 20+ minute songs with mindblowing displays at every instrument or wild, unnatural song structures.

No, "Entropia" is melodic and textured. Dense, intricate walls of music that fit together perfectly, with truly progressive songs that can swing abruptly or smoothly flow, jam packed with a variety of different styles and sections. There is heavy syncopation and use of off time signatures, all pushed forward by powerful drumming. While they are impressive musicians, it's not so much about technical skill here. It's about melody, every piece working together and creative songwriting that WILL keep you on your toes.

All serves as a back up to Daniel's vocals. Ironic, I tend always enjoy "music driven" stuff over "vocal driven" but this is an exception. All the music takes a bit of a backseat to Gildenlow's vocals, which are some of the very best. Great range and emotional. It's that emotional aspect which helps separate PoS even more from the crowd, and Daniel nails it. Powerful, emotional and always driving the content forward. His soaring and over the top vocals may be a bit much, but damn they are wonderful.

All the track are unique and great, but some standouts are the intro "! (Foreword)" and "People Passing By" one of my favorites. A melodic, restrained, powerful and emotional driven album...this is a breath of fresh air from the sutffy and stagnant prog metal scene. I am a huge fan, of course, of 20 minute prog metal epics with crushing guitars and shredding solos from all the members, but "Entropia" is a welcome change of pace, and a superb album.

Four and a Half Stars

Bump: Four

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review N║ 109

"Entropia" is the debut studio album of Pain Of Salvation and was released in 1997. It's the only album from the band featuring Daniel Magdic on guitar. He was substituted by Johan Hallgren on their next albums. So, the line up on the album is Daniel Gildenlow (lead vocals and guitar), Daniel Magdic (vocals and guitar), Fredrik Hermansson (keyboards), Kristoffer Gildenlow (vocals and bass) and Johan Langell (vocals and drums).

"Entropia" is a conceptual album concerning the story of a family in a fictional society that is torn apart by the war. The title of the album is derived from the words "entropy" (from thermodynamics, the measure of disorder present in a system) and "utopia" (the ideal society). Its concept is very loose compared with the concepts of some of their future albums. While it does follow a central story with specific characters, it also acts as a general commentary about war and societal injustice. So, it's far more open to interpretation and can be approached differently by different people.

However, as Daniel Gildenlow says, this is an album with a very complex concept that is pretty hard to grasp. It's about a family in a war situation, about a father that fails to protect his family, about a child who needs a father and not a soldier, about a society that kills and excludes and then takes its hand away from the remains in shock of what it has become. It's about a world he has chosen to call Entropia, which is in his opinion, suspiciously similar to our world. "Entropia" is the album that started it all. This isn't their best album, but it's still an amazing progressive metal album.

"Entropia" is divided into four chapters and has the following story. The story is about a child, his father and his mother through a period of war in a land called Entropia. When the father leaves his family to fight in the war, the son yearns for his father's return. Sorely missing the love and the presence of his dad, the son strays from his path and falls into poverty and disarray, and finally he died. Broken with the news, the father pleads to God, and swears to take what's left of his family and move away into West Entropia. However, their new life isn't all he expected. West Entropia has its own share of problems. Industry is spinning out of control, the technology is pervasive throughout everything, violence and hate are far closer than ever before, and all of it quickly became dominant. So, the man is unable to protect the rest of his family, his wife, from the dangers of this hostile new world, and she died too. Upon suffering this second loss, the man has another conflict with God, and finally he realise that he was completely enable to protect his loved ones from harm and he commits suicide. This is an album with a very pungent and dramatic story.

Musically, "Entropia" features elements of straight ahead metal, funk, jazz, bombastic progressive rock, bittersweet balladry and much more. Daniel's voice is raw and slightly underdeveloped, comparatively speaking. You can feel the strain in his voice, especially when he attempts to hit highs and lows that would come effortlessly on many of their future albums. Daniel's vocals are fascinating and exciting, as always. From a structural and song writing point of view, "Entropia" has all over the place. The group jumps between styles sporadically, moods and dynamics are constantly shifting around in potentially disorienting fashion, and the instrumental work is easily one of the best that they've ever made. Pain Of Salvation have come to always place the concepts first, and it might not be quite right on this debut. On it, the band was still experimenting with different directions and composing explorative, which is quite reasonable. The rhythm section of Kristoffer and Langell is at its most frenetic, displaying much more of a jazz influenced free style flow throwing around some rather type patterns that we never really get to hear on future albums.

Conclusion: "Entropia" is really an impressive album of Pain Of Salvation. Worth getting with it, for those seeking something new, refreshing, original and who want to listen to something different from the typical progressive metal sound. It's easily one of the best debuts I've ever heard and it marked the starting point of what would be a consistent chain of magnificent progressive metal conceptual albums. "Entropia" encompasses a wide range of different styles of music, like funk, techno and even jazz, but at the core it always has the progressive metal sound. Some progressive metal bands are simply Dream Theater's followers. But this is a band where the emotion plays a big role in the musicianship. The musicianship doesn't equal playing fast, but rather interacting between all musicians resulting in a great balance of composition and improvisation. Daniel Gildenlow plays the lead role with his genial compositions and fantastic vocal work with an amazing range and power. His guitar playing is also technically brilliant and he has his own style. The other band members are of also excellent. I highly recommend "Entropia" to all who wants to hear something fresh and new. It isn't an easy album to get into. It takes a few listenings to fully get into it, but it worth. I'm sincerely convinced that despite isn't as good as "The Perfect Element Part 1" and "Remedy Lane", it's almost there.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars The roots of PAIN OF SALVATION actually date back to 1984 when founder Daniel Gildenl÷w was only 11 years old and started his first band Reality when he met another future member guitarist Daniel Magdic who would play until after the debut album. In short, Reality won a Swedish talent contest with Gildenl÷w scoring the best vocalist award. In 1990 he met drummer Johan Langell and bassist Gustaf Hielm and the following year changed the band name Reality to the more familiar PAIN OF SALVATION which would find international success with its innovative string of progressive metal albums. The band spent many years practicing before Hielm left the band and was replaced by Daniel's brother Kristoffer Gildenl÷w. The fifth member Fredrik Hermansson came into the picture of hearing the band's demo "Hereafter" and scored the position as keyboardist. The band was perched to unleash its debut album ENTROPIA in 1997.

PAIN OF SALVATION hit the ground running with its debut that featured a fully developed concept about a family surviving and coping during a war. With emotional and heartfelt lyrics, the band made a name for itself not only for highly emotive storylines brought to life by the complex vocal harmonies reminiscent of The Beatles and Queen but made even more dramatic by lead singer Daniel Gildenl÷w's broad vocal range and sense of charisma. Added to that the music was on fire. Loosely based on the Dream Theater sound that emerged in the early 90s, PAIN OF SALVATION was a bit more diverse in its scope as it covered the spectrum of influences ranging from the pop rock of The Beatles, The Moody Blues and Lou Reed to jazz, classical, ethnic music, hip hop, soul and funk not to mention heavy metal from bands like Faith No More and other technically infused bands like Fates Warning and Queensryche.

Noted for the dramatic swings from calm to heavy passages and back all fortified with heavy syncopation and polyrhythms and unpredictable mood shifts between disparate genre styles, PAIN OF SALVATION quickly stood out from the pack and ENTROPIA, a name that is a fusion of the words "entropy" and "utopia," clearly displays the band's knack for creating a fully functional collage effect that displayed a completely unique style. This theatrical concept album is carved up into three chapters with each act offering a creative breath of fresh air in a genre that was quickly filling up with Dream Theater clones. With moments of straight on metal, others of technical jazz-fusion wizardry with warm and tender softer ballads reminiscent of modern progressive rock, ENTROPIA hits many notes with each track exuding a charm all its own with stellar instrumental interplay that offers an infinite supply of variations that find the instrumentation morphing into new creative displays of harmonic interplay.

ENTROPIA may be PAIN OF SALVATION's heaviest album at least consistently so although there is plenty of softer passages that allow lighter less bombastic movements to muster lush motifs. The opening "! (Forward)" displays a ferocious metal introduction with jagged riff driven rhythms, intricate melodic interplays and the operatic vocal style of Daniel G. The contrast between heavy metal and soft piano balladries is seamless as are the harsh vocal outbursts with the clean sung vocal harmonics that zigzag around seemingly random yet all ties together perfectly! The beauty of PAIN OF SALVATION in general is completely represented in full form on ENTROPIA. While tackling extreme progressive technicalities, the music never strays from the vital emotional connection that links the sounds to the dramatic storyline which narrates the conceptual story that is something right out of the neo-prog playbook from the likes of Arena, IQ and Pendragon.

All of the musicians on board are on fire. Daniel Gildenl÷w and Daniel Magdic's twin guitar attacks are highly symbiotic and the drums and keys exhibit advanced progginess as well. The flirtations with funk and trip hop at key moments offer unforeseen elements that pop up now and again and overall the album is chock full of a youthful energy that delivers the album with a fiery passion absent in so many bands who fail to ignite a level of excitement that PAIN OF SALVATION generates. While not as lauded as the band's following "The Perfect Element I" or "Remedy Lane," personally i find this debut to be one of the best progressive metal albums around and just as compelling as those two. A masterful debut that showed not only the top notch musicianship but a keen sense of songwriting skills that allowed a wealth of styles and sounds to come to life. Outstanding debut!

Latest members reviews

4 stars Pain of Salvation is a Swedish progressive metal band led by Daniel Gildenl÷w, who is the band's main songwriter, lyricist, guitarist, and vocalist. Every album from Pain of Salvation is in some way, shape, or form a concept album. Daniel Gildenl÷w formed the band at the age of 11 in 1984 under the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2984778) | Posted by Magog2112 | Sunday, January 21, 2024 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A waterfall of music Entropia is Pain of Salvation's debut album, but the band performs the music in such a way that it feels like they've been together for years, as well as being all professional and top-notch musicians. The rhythmic breaks, the versatility of Gildengl÷w's singing, the ener ... (read more)

Report this review (#2942124) | Posted by Argentinfonico | Tuesday, July 25, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars While Pain of Salvation never were my top favourite band, I've always respected their creativity, originality and gift. The band showcases a range of influence is far away from a typical progressive metal band. The sound is more contemporary taking a few nods from alternative metal, American nu ... (read more)

Report this review (#2305781) | Posted by sgtpepper | Friday, January 10, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A raw and somewhat choppy debut that is just teeming with creativity. In truth, I think this album is highly underrated and one of the best PoS records to date, second only to The Perfect Element. The album is more rocky, more funky, the vocals are not as developed but less pretentious and less over ... (read more)

Report this review (#1213490) | Posted by MJAben | Monday, July 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is my first Pain Of Salvation album. I have never ever actually listened to one of their albums from start to finish, but my brother has been playing them and worshiping at a statue of Daniel Gildenlow for a while I have to listen to one. (Puts in cd and runs away) "Is this really ... (read more)

Report this review (#265219) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars First release? A MASTERPIECE! This is the first album of the Swedish band. Pain of Salvation after a long time of being a group (since late 80's), record an album that is considered one of the most beautiful debuts in the History of New Progressive. ENTROPIA! From the first moment, anyone ... (read more)

Report this review (#220796) | Posted by FatalV | Friday, June 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well, here we have Pain Of Salvation's first album, and it's really awesome, they started to reinvent Prog Metal by making something different, to what Prog Metal was. This album maybe is one of PoS most experimental albums along with BE, less emotional than further releases, but that isn't a b ... (read more)

Report this review (#148704) | Posted by Kazuzu | Saturday, November 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Welcome to Entropia, a journey into excellent and intelligent music. I find this debut from PoS as one of the most interesting debuts in the gengre of prog metal ever. After having playing it by the dozen times it still gives me new details in the music. You will find relationship to DREAM THE ... (read more)

Report this review (#68414) | Posted by | Sunday, February 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars entropia is one of the best debut albums ever!every moment is can find nice melodies,heavy riffs,a little of funk and other interesting ideas(discover them).this album is an essential(like all pain of salvation albums).5 starsenter the pain of salvation world ... (read more)

Report this review (#67495) | Posted by | Monday, January 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Somebody here said that this is one of the best debut of all times. I certainly agree but I think moreover that this is the BEST debut of all times! If anyone would listen to it for the first time, not knowing that this is PoS' first CD ever, he propably would not believe that this is a debut. ... (read more)

Report this review (#65970) | Posted by | Sunday, January 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've been searching "new music" recently, and i tried this time to dig a little deeper in prog-metal, i started with some heavy stuff like OPETH, and AGHORA, then i wanted to hear something a lot more "DREAM THEATER-oriented", odd times, fast solos, keyboards etc... but suddenly i realize of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#56729) | Posted by arqwave | Thursday, November 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars a simply stunning debut from a band which has managed to release consistently amazing albums since their conception. The album starts off with a bang in "! (foreword)", which perfectly sets the atmosphere for what is to come musically. Highlights of the album come in the form of the stunning " ... (read more)

Report this review (#40655) | Posted by SomethingGood | Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This was my first PoS album and it leaves me hungry for more. I love it. This will be spinning in my player for some time. The vocals are outstanding, the guitar work is very well done. This is a really interesting album, it has so much substance and magnitude to it. the lyrics are deep and me ... (read more)

Report this review (#5232) | Posted by | Monday, January 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is among the best I have ever heard. Every song in it is a masterpeice in itself. The music is very technical, engrossing, and all together great. Daniel Gildenlow's first preformance is among his best, as is demonstrated on Nightwish and People Passing By. This album goes through a ... (read more)

Report this review (#5226) | Posted by shand | Wednesday, July 14, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars From its foundation in dramatic prog-edged metal a la Savatage and Queensryche, "Entropia" flies all over the musical map without losing its harmonic intelligence or emotional impact. Nearly every song has many sections, often swinging from delicate prog balladry to Helloween-ish power metal and ... (read more)

Report this review (#5225) | Posted by | Thursday, July 8, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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