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THE PERFECT ELEMENT PART 1

Pain Of Salvation

Progressive Metal


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Pain Of Salvation The Perfect Element Part 1 album cover
4.25 | 934 ratings | 80 reviews | 53% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music


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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Used (5:23)
2. In The Flesh (8:36)
3. Ashes (4:28)
4. Morning On Earth (4:34)
5. Ideoglossia (8:29)
6. Her Voices (7:56)
7. Dedication (4:00)
8. King Of Loss (9:46)
9. Reconciliation (4:24)
10. Song For The Innocent (3:02)
11. Falling (1:50)
12. The Perfect Element (10:09)

Total Time: 72:37

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Daniel Gildenl÷w / guitars, vocals
- Johan Hallgren / guitars
- Kristoffer Gildenl÷w / bass
- Fredrik Hermansson / keyboards
- Johan Langell / drums

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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PAIN OF SALVATION The Perfect Element Part 1 ratings distribution


4.25
(934 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(53%)
53%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
27%
Good, but non-essential (11%)
11%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

PAIN OF SALVATION The Perfect Element Part 1 reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I heard the band quite sometime ago around year 2000 when some friends of mine were engaged in local classic rock FM radio in my city. I saw the covers of the band's first two albums but I got no chance to enjoy their music because at that time I was in neo prog kind of mood and did not really favor metal. Last year I bought this CD from our local secondary market for one reason: it's cheap (because it's a used CD, I think) and I heard the band name many times from my metal friends (some of them are proggers too). When most of my prog friends made a noise that the band's front man Daniel Gildenl÷w were joining The Flower Kings, it really struck my mind. Long before I've seen the performance of this guy supporting TRANSTLANTIC Live in Europe that I watched through a DVD. He must be "someone" because even TFK invited him to join. And .. having enjoyed the Flower Kings' "Adam and Eve" album, I devote my time listening the only CD that I have from Pain of Salvation. Well, I hate rap music but this band is excellent!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#5272) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 08, 2004

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

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

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

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#5275) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 11, 2005

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#5277) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When i first listen to CD i was a little bit disappointed. They combine to much stiles. After 4 times i understand how they work. It's good ,but it is only for the peoples who have a solid backgroud in prog music. Such an album is posilble only one in 10 years, listen careful, otherwise you can lose the core of this album. Is just my opinion.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#5283) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 02, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to FishyMonkey (BETA) | Report this review (#36827) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to kunangkunangku (BETA) | Report this review (#43393) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2005

Review by Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars - The PERFECT Element: let the title speak the word!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Track-by-track guide:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#76606) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 28, 2006

Review by AtLossForWords
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Suprise five star rating!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to AtLossForWords (BETA) | Report this review (#80025) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 01, 2006

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of PoS's most acclaimed albums, we find a variety of sounds here. Many will be turned off by the first song, which is pretty dull and uninspiring. Don't let that get you down, the album does get better.

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

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

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

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Posted Monday, July 10, 2006

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

Ch. I

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

Ch. II

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

Ch. III

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

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

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#95502) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 23, 2006

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The Perfect Element

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

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

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

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#103353) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 16, 2006

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

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

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

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Send comments to TRoTZ (BETA) | Report this review (#103606) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006

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

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

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

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

Grade: B+

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#105075) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006

Review by sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars On both of their first two releases Pain of Salvation has threatened to produce a stunning album that could hold its head up high with the best that prog has to offer. On creating The Perfect Element Part 1 it appears that Pain of Salvation have created the perfect album.

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to sleeper (BETA) | Report this review (#109397) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I like the pictures in the liner notes of the band with a picture of them as children in the background. It reminded me of GREEN CARNATION's "The Quiet Offspring" where there were pictures of the band as children as well. I noticed that Daniel Gildenlow thanked Stefan Zell from WOLVERINE.

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

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

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

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Posted Friday, February 02, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#124268) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 01, 2007

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Perfect Element is one of the first prog-metal albums that I picked up since coming to this site. I have played it countless times and have to admit that I just can't quite see the masterpiece that so many others do. I keep waiting for it to grab me like their later stuff has. I do like it and it is good but I don't think it's quite in the same league as Remedy Lane or Be.

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

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

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Posted Sunday, September 23, 2007

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It's hard to image a more essential example of smart metal music than this absolutely masterful release from Pain of Salvation. "Perfect Element" is a wonderfully varied, powerful, emotive, and dynamic journey through creative songwriting and memorable playing.

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

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

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

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#144605) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007

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

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Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007

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

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

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Posted Monday, January 21, 2008

Review by ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Pain of Salvation - The Perfect Element 5 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to ProgBagel (BETA) | Report this review (#161947) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2008

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This stuff fits my definition of emo-prog--real angry music (and at times increidbly sad and morose). I'm not one to get very emotionally involved in my music, but this is one of those rare albums that can't help but pull me in. That's probably one reason why I don't listen to it very much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to LiquidEternity (BETA) | Report this review (#168662) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 25, 2008

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars IMO, it is probably the best POS release so far. If you would just forget about the loudly vocals of the opening "Used", this album starts quite promisingly. Melodies are not alien "Ashes" but I'm lacking some more creative instrumental parts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#182427) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 14, 2008

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars HEIR TO OPERATION MINDCRIME

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted Saturday, November 01, 2008

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

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

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

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

5/5 stars without any hesitation.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#223108) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars This album was my introduction to Pain Of Salvation and listening to it today it's safe to say that The Perfect Element Part 1 has so far withstood the test of remaining my favorite release from Daniel and his band.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#267337) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 21, 2010

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 10/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#275312) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 29, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#280680) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 06, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars On Pain of Salvation's third they fully established themselves as a progressive metal force to be reckoned with. The album is well-written, diverse and it has some true highlights. Only, there's too few of them.

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

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

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

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#284141) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2010

Review by Isa
PROG REVIEWER
Isa avatar
2 stars |D| The only disappointing "masterpiece" I've yet encountered.

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to Isa (BETA) | Report this review (#392355) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Review by jampa17
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Complex, sensitive and great.

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

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

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

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

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

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Send comments to jampa17 (BETA) | Report this review (#444633) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 08, 2011

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

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

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#640322) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 24, 2012

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

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

Originally appeared in Feedback #61, Feb 01

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#968440) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 01, 2013

Latest members reviews

3 stars An 80's hair metal band gets marinated in progressive rock. I read a lot of very good reviews about this album and saw it was among the top rated prog metal albums on PA and MMA. Since I had just received Symphony X's "V: The New Mythology Suite", which is another top rated prog metal album o ... (read more)

Report this review (#1276790) | Posted by FragileKings | Monday, September 15, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Pain of Salvation's "The Perfect Element Part I" kicks off with a cascade of drums and guitar and a mixture of several musical styles. In the opening track "Used" there's a distinct flavour of Disturbed or any number of other nu-metal acts getting around circa 2000. Then the chorus almost has a ... (read more)

Report this review (#963085) | Posted by bonestorm | Monday, May 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Perfect Element Part 1 was love at first sight for me,although it was the second POS album i istened to..That album managed to introduce POS to a larger amount of people..they needed it and totally DESERVED it..So..What makes this album special?The answer is simple..EVERYTHING..The musicia ... (read more)

Report this review (#548913) | Posted by ppl | Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album was my introduction (followed immediately by Remedy Lane) to POS. To be honest, at first listening, I was rather put off by it. But like so many records that need repeated exposures for them to grow on you, The Perfect Element Pt. I truly ended up delivering on the promise of it being r ... (read more)

Report this review (#456949) | Posted by Cylli Kat | Saturday, June 04, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great album, but its way too damn long. So first the good. Pain of Salvation has succeeded in creating a unique and distinct sound in a world filled with carbon copy, generic Prog Metal bands. That is success number one. When its comes to this album, its has some moments of real brilliance and some ... (read more)

Report this review (#447983) | Posted by Phoenix87x | Saturday, May 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of the masterpieces of progressive metal. I had heard the album "Remedy Lane" of Pain of Salvation and stayed amazed.This guys have a incredible sound.But "Remedy Lane" I am not attracted me as did this album, "The Perfect Element Pt. 1".After years know only through the progressive metal of ... (read more)

Report this review (#389883) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, January 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Perfect Element, Part 1 is a concept album that addresses the issues surrounding the development of people from childhood to maturity. The story intertwines the experiences of "He" and "She" and how their worlds collide and develop. Used - 05:23 This track opens with thundering drums a ... (read more)

Report this review (#378118) | Posted by Kilgannon | Tuesday, January 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For some reason I just could not get into this band. The songs that I picked at first did not capture my attention and seemed to just wander around with no purpose. Eventually, because I saw that this band garnered so much praise and a fairly large fan base, I decided to give them another try by ... (read more)

Report this review (#353416) | Posted by Mystery | Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The best way I can describe Pain of Salvation is prog-metal with a nu-metal attitude. Some may like that, some may despise it. I kind of fell somewhere in between. This album starts out with "Used", which, unfortunately, sounds like Korn trying to be Dream Theater. I'm dead serious. So, I despi ... (read more)

Report this review (#278763) | Posted by CinemaZebra | Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After releasing an amazing debut, and a paralleled sophomore album; the third album was less of a challenge, because once you have 2 amazing albums, the third is basically an excuse to continue your good work. I feel that this album is in ways better than the first 2, mixing elements of both ... (read more)

Report this review (#266993) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Friday, February 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars As I walked through the ashes... My word...what an emotionally provocative and brilliant album. This is the kind of music that shoots chill after chill through your entire body and leaves you physically and mentally drained after listening to the entire piece in one sitting. Each song is a p ... (read more)

Report this review (#208997) | Posted by Alitare | Friday, March 27, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars First of all, Pain of Salvation is one of the most original bands I have ever heard, if not the most original. Each album is uniquely different from the rest. I listen to all of them quite a bit. Daniel Gildenlow and Pain of Salvation have done an incredible job writing some of the best music out ... (read more)

Report this review (#204057) | Posted by peart_lee_lifeson | Sunday, February 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars First of all, I would like to thank the ProgArchives community for bringing Pain of Salvation to my attention. I saw the high ratings and decided to try them out. I've purchased four albums so far: The Perfect Element Part I, Remedy Lane, Be, and 12:5 and have thoroughly enjoyed each one. Fo ... (read more)

Report this review (#175551) | Posted by hattrick | Saturday, June 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Pain of Salvation(PoS) is really a fantastic band in terms of creativity and amibition. After seeing a countless number of five stars on almost all of their albums, I decided to truly give them a chance. Even though my initial view of PoS was that it was not my bag. This album contains so muc ... (read more)

Report this review (#169833) | Posted by Lezaza | Sunday, May 04, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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

Report this review (#163977) | Posted by Paper Champion | Saturday, March 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The perfect Element Part 1 is such a great album. This was the first album by PoS I ever heard and it took me some time to understand PoS complex sound, this band uses many different styles and they can play really soft and melodic or really heavy. The lyrics are great, Daniel Glidenlow vocals ... (read more)

Report this review (#161946) | Posted by eon_ | Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Daniel Gindenlow has done it again with this masterpiece, The Perfect Element Part 1. Words cannot describe the amount of passion that was put into this CD. Words can also not describe how great this CD is, but I will try my best. I'll admit that when I first got this Cd, it wasn't my favorit ... (read more)

Report this review (#117942) | Posted by asimplemistake | Tuesday, April 10, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Right then. Where to start... How about... awesome!!! When I first heard a couple of PoS songs from their website it took me a while to get into it, but thank goodness I did. I had no idea what I was missing. Now that I have this album, I will definitely be investing in more music from this wonderf ... (read more)

Report this review (#116853) | Posted by profskett | Friday, March 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I will start by saying that I'm not a huge fan of prog metal, so if you are and you're reading this, take that into consideration. This is probably the heaviest PoS album I've heard (I have not heard the ones before it), so that may affect my feelings about it. I will say this though, PoS is th ... (read more)

Report this review (#115892) | Posted by infandous | Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I always avoid writing a review of a Pain of Salvation album because i know i can't be neutral enough for it. I really love this band, it is my favorite band ever, i am a total fan of Daniel Gildenl÷w and really really think that this is the best band in the world. Well, even avoiding write re ... (read more)

Report this review (#115527) | Posted by Benjamin_Breeg | Monday, March 19, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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