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SCARSICK

Pain Of Salvation

Progressive Metal


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Pain Of Salvation Scarsick album cover
3.18 | 470 ratings | 87 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Scarsick (7:08)
2. Spitfall (7:17)
3. Cribcaged (5:56)
4. America (5:04)
5. Disco Queen (8.22)
6. Kingdom Of Loss (6:41)
7. Mrs Modern Mother Mary (4:14)
8. Idiocracy (7:04)
9. Flame To The Moth (5:58)
10. Enter Rain (10:03)

Total Time: 67:47

Lyrics

Search PAIN OF SALVATION Scarsick lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

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

Thanks to A. F. Doyle for the addition
and to Marko Gildenl÷w for the last updates
Edit this entry

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BeBe
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Audio CD$45.15 (used)
EntropiaEntropia
Inside Out U.S. 1999
Audio CD$194.02
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PAIN OF SALVATION Scarsick ratings distribution


3.18
(470 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
18%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
34%
Good, but non-essential (27%)
27%
Collectors/fans only (12%)
12%
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)
9%

PAIN OF SALVATION Scarsick reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TRoTZ
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Scarsick is a mediocre effort by Pain of Salvation, comparatively to their last album, Be. It is like Daniel Gildenl÷w has lead his band into a sort of System-of-a-Down-like band, with heavy riffs along with rap singing, mixed with mellower parts. It does not bring much, if anything, of new or refreshing to the music panorama, sometimes taking their intents to exhaustion. Even taking in consideration the nice message of the album, or its lyrics, it is of little value opposing to the lack of originality or the sparse moments of sensibility of the album.

The compositions are made around a heavy riff, like in the tittle track, or built around a pop theme, like "Spitfall" or "Cribcaged". In "Dance Queen" it is like we're listening to George Michael or even David Hasselhoff at their best (!), incredible how they let this track stay on the album. "America" shows an interinting mixing of an 70-80's-like chorus with modern guitar work, though with bit out-of-date arrangements. This track, along with the simple but beautiful "Kingdom of loss" and the misterious "Ideocracy" are the best work of the album, insufficient though to be considered step forwards to the band.

Many have judged the pretensious side of Pain of Salvation with Be. Well, taking out the pretension, here you have the result.

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Send comments to TRoTZ (BETA) | Report this review (#103339) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 16, 2006

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars I guess there's something wrong with the world today.I have no other explanation seeing so many 5-star reviews for this album.Or maybe Daniel pays them all? :lol: PoS tried to sell out but even that attempt failed.I never much liked them - too much power-metal and thrash-metal in that prog plus hardly bearable vocals.This time PoS released even more uglier effort.I listened to it few times (yes,I'm kinda masochist ;) ), not more - I want to stay sane for future years. The only good thing here is cover's character, which displays reaction of every PoS-fan on this album :) The album itself has nu-metal ("Scarsick", "Spitfall", "Flame to the Moth" - almost stolen from LINKIN PARK's "From the Inside" actually), METALLICA-like derivative ballads ("Cribcaged" and "Kingdom of Loss"), 2 "parody" songs which both fail to amuse ("America" and "Disco Queen") - PoS lame even in making parodies, even self-parodies...It ends with pseudo- epic entitled "Enter Rain" (10 minutes in 4/4 based on 3 or 4 chords). When it ends, you feel yourself happy. Well, this is not Prog at all. Yes, there are few "odd" signatures (like 7/8 and - oh god,it's complex! - 5/4), but MUSICALLY every second-hand Nu-metal band is more progressive and challenging. Lyrics are pretentiously anti-american - sorry, guys, but that's not THAT fashionable...GREEN DAY did it better... Imagine yourself standing with you $ and looking at the cover of this album in your local store.Done? Now, DO NEVER MAKE THIS DREAM COME TRUE!!! Spend your money on helping poor.I won't even recommend to download this one, because it is ugly. "Golden Razzy" to Scarsick, it fully deserves it!!!

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#109128) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 27, 2007

Review by Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Pain of Salvation has established themselves as one of the most innovative and consistent groups in progressive metal. Widely regarded as such, the band bears the burden of expectation. Though their fans know they don't make two of the same album, they had no idea that 2004's Be would be what it was. It was the most difficult and incomprehensible album prog-metal had quite possibly ever heard, at least at the highest tier of fame in the genre. Taken with a widespread of feelings and views, it's hard to tell whether or not it was successful. Many listeners stuck with it long enough for it to click, and that patience should have rewarded them possibly more than any of the group's releases yet. Be, though controversial and/or too pretentious in concept, was a masterpiece in a different way than Pain of Salvation listeners have accustomed themselves too. But after such an album, where was the band going next? Regardless of what fans thought of their previous album, they were all expecting something great. There was even talk of the next album being The Perfect Element, 2 "in diguise." Word of a song on the album titled "Kingdom of Loss" would only support that notion. This got fans even more excited. And all of the suspense led up to the moment that the files leaked. A lot of fans were adamant about saving every second of it for when the album was released, but when everyone who caved came back with empitness and dissatisfaction, many of the hyped-up fans got worried, and had to listen to the leak themselves before they would have liked to listen.

If anyone thought Be was controversial, Scarsick will make you forget about it, for it has one-upped it. The entire album is rage-stricken and is filled with finger-pointing and bashing of people and places (particularly America). In the album you will hear Daniel slamming the government, the industry, and the people of America. The man refuses to even set foot in the country. It will be a real turn off for many, and it's not like everything he says is truth; his perspectives are very sharp and sometimes way over the top. At the same time, the album isn't totally devoid of truth. He does make a few good points. Lyrics aside, though, what everyone is even more concerned about, how is the music?

If anyone thought the concept and lyrics of the album were a turn off, the music will only further confuse or drive you away. The music is incoherent, and just plain weak. Before, each album had certain sounds and tones throughout the album, but this album is all over the place. We have rapping, pop-rock, and even a disco song. It seems like Daniel was too angry and preoccupied with his lyrics too spend time writing worthwhile music. The songs lack the usual highly technical, highly melodic, highly enjoyable, powerful, and just plain awesome qualities we grew to love. There are barely any guitar solos either. Sure, there are a few memorable melodies, riffs, odd times, and moments to enjoy, but they are so few and far apart. Only one song is under five minutes, but the songs don't seem to house enough ideas for the lengths that they occupy. Upon listening to the opening track, the title track, one would wonder how what they just listened to was over seven minutes long. They may muse on songs like "Used" that were in the same vein, but did so much more, literally and intrinsically, in less time. The next two songs are on both ends of the spectrum: one is a rap-metal song, the other a ballad, but both are still riding the same rage. You can tell by his constant use of the f-word in a segment of each song. "Cribcaged" could have even been a decent song without it, albeit still not at their level, but the foul language serves as a deterrent. Some may argue that it gets the point across, and it does, but it is not a point I care to hear. Next we have the most obvious bash of America over a goofy pop sound. "Disco Queen" is actually not bad. At first you'll raise an eyebrow and wonder what on earth you're hearing, but it's going to turn out to be the album's novelty track that you can have much fun with. Other than that, the only other saving grace on this album is "Kingdom of Loss," and it better have been bearing such a name. It will send chills down you spine by the end. From there until the end, you'll notice they start sounding more like themselves again, though functioning and a lesser level than they are. After boring you with the following track, "Idiocracy," "Flame to the Moth" and "Enter Rain" are decent, but they could have done so much more with them. Especially the last track. It's just over 10-minutes long, but it seems like nothing really ever happens.

I never thought I'd actually say this, but Pain of Salvation have failed to perform this time around. I've given it multiple listens, and my opinions haven't really changed since the first listen. I may tag on an extra half-star at this point because there are a few things to enjoy here, but so much more is to be had from their other albums, that this one doesn't really have a place in many collections. It may be worth two stars, but because of the dreaded expectations and me being subjective and comparing it to the brilliance they have dazzled us with before, it's only for completionists.

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Send comments to Moatilliatta (BETA) | Report this review (#109154) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 27, 2007

Review by hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars According to Daniel Gildenl÷w's own words cited on Inside Out's website for understanding concept, message and direction of their latest work it's essential to put it into the context of all their previous releases. Daniel said that he'd known all the time that this album will come one day . and sociocritical topics, songs about psychological aspects and general questions about human life have been always an important feature of their albums. 'Scarsick' is a direct reaction to that. - Well it's not that easy to follow those trains of thoughts but Daniel wouldn't be Daniel if this would be the case. For sure after the critically acclaimed love-it-or-hate-it 'BE' which had been blamed by many people for being too pretentious this one is a very surprising work and almost the opposite to it. Never before had PoS sounded that modern, accessible and versatile.

Being an admittedly dedicated fan of this band and having all their previous releases in my collection I must say that 'Scarsick' fails to hit my attraction and obviously I'm not the only one. I loved all their previous albums, especially their earlier heavier ones and 'BE' but this one here - I dunna know - sounds to me like kinda PoS vs. Linkin Park vs. Metallica vs. Kim Wilde vs. Abba. As far I can get the message of this work it's against America and against modern materialistic, selfish and superficial society. But I'm really wondering which audience Daniel intends to transpose it to. At least to me it doesn't appeal the way it's packaged because for me the crucial point for liking an album is always that the music appeals to me and if this is the case then it's a nice extra feature if the content and message is an interesting one as well. I can follow Daniel's critics and kinda agree to them, just I don't like that much the way he's expressing them, just too many repeats of the f-word and moreover I hate rap. But actually the first two songs are by far not the worst ones here, I couldn't tell that I find them enjoyable but at least they're okay for one or two spins, the same applies to 'Mrs. Modern Mother Mary'. Now the really low bottom of this disk is 'America' and 'Disco Queen' (at least placed one behind the other). Those two songs are just awful - I mean, I love mixes of multiple styles when they're well-done as by Subterranean Masquerade but that's not the case here, this just sounds unbearable to my ears after repeated listening. The most striking fact for a complete failure of this work (at least for the standards of a band like PoS) is that there isn't any song I could call excellent or even very good since the rest of the tracks are just from mediocre to fairly good but anything outstanding. I would say for any standard modern alt rock band this album would be a decent or even good work, for PoS it's even not a run-of-the-mill one but rather a disaster. Nonetheless they'll stay one of my fav bands and I'm looking forward to see them live in Germany in March hoping they won't play too many songs from this album. Try better next time, Daniel!

Finally my ratings for the individual tracks:

Scarsick 3/10 - Spitfall 4/10 - Cribcaged 6/10 - America 2/10 - Disco Queen 1/10 - Kingdom Of Loss 5/10 - Mrs. Modern Mother Mary 3/10 - Idiocracy 5/10 - Flame To The Moth 6/10 - Enter Rain 5/10

Total: 40 % = 2 stars. I wouldn't have thought that I'd ever give such a low rating to a PoS album, but honestly I don't have a better choice! I can just advice any newbie to get first all their previous ones before giving this one a try!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#109410) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Hogwash.

I'm just curious, was Krystoffer the only songwriter in this band, because he must have had some type of control, this isn't the same band at all. This is some of the most uninspiring material I've heard since Octavarium. It appears that PoS have also attempted to fuse many styles of different bands into their own sound, and as we know, that rarely if ever works well. Rather than being true to their sound and the direction they appeared to be going after the release of BE, perhaps one of the most pretentious albums in the history of music, we see PoS try to become a fuse of several of today's top radio acts. It isn't a pretty picture.

We hear influences of all across the rock and metal scene, and I'm almost glad that the band has no intentions of coming to America to tour; I have no desire to hear them play this drivel in concert. Bear in mind that this has absolutely nothing to do with any of the bands political ideology and 100% to do with the "art" they put on this record. Judging from a purely musical standpoint, it's a rehash of ideas already done and easily the worst record from PoS. What makes it worse is the obviously rudimentary understanding this band has for any world matters and serves only to make OHBTCL worse, almost invalidating its shocking message which was delivered with much more artistic and musical vision.

The angst filled and boring melodies of Scarsick, the rap metal of Spitfall. The Tool stolen ideas of Cribcaged (whining baby), the radio friendly and absolutely awful America, the laughable and quirky Disco Queen (which sounds even worse than you'd expect), the rejected material for TPE (Kingdom of loss), the 4 minute riff that never changes in Mrs. Modern Mother Mary, the radio metal sound of Idiocracy, along with the attempt to rip off Opeth's style from their terrible radio release of Grand Conjuration (heavy chords and whisper effects - credit to Geck0), the catchy but ultimately unfulfilling Flame to Moth, the slow and uninspiring Enter Rain (which makes the closers of TPE and Remedy Lane look even better). All in all, it's unoriginal, boring, and useless drivel.

One begins to wonder if maybe Daniel wasn't the brains behind the whole operation, and that it was actually Krystoffer who was the gifted songwriter. On top of this, it's easily the worst vocal performance in Gildenlow's career. Daniel is an eccentric guy, so maybe he's due for one hiccup. We can only hope that the next album is better and heads in a different direction than this.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#109413) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Whenever a new Pain of Salvation album is released, there are those who love it and hate it, but rarely are there those in the middle. For Be I was in the middle, I thought musically there was some good stuff here and there but the pretentious concept ruined it for me. The same case is for Scarsick, there's stuff to enjoy here, but there are other elements that only hurt it rather than help it. But the most important thing to understand when you listen to this album after listening to the rest of the group's body of work is that they were trying something a bit different here. Some like this change, some hate it, and for the most part I think it is effective (to a certain extent).

Musically, forget what you heard on the older Pain of Salvation albums, you'll find nothing like that here. Scarsick features no blistering time signatures (besides brief excursions into 7/8), overly intricate melodies, or even songs that show the softer side of the band. They're all hard hitting, right to the point, and they don't feature the same sophistication that previous songs on previous albums did. It's a completely different feeling that this album conveys when you think about it.

What I didn't like about the album was that lack of sophistication that was on all prior albums. The sensitive and emotional lyrics and vocals of Gildenlow are replaced with disdain, frustration, and cynical criticisms, with no poignant or even... dare I say it... beautiful moments to help lift the sullen mood that the album seems to be deadlocked upon. Also, Disco Queen is a completely out of place song that is more the band screwing around than anything else (at least that's what I think it is).

There are some tracks that I really did enjoy, though. First off, I really liked Cribcaged. It's simplistic approach and effective lyrical approach drive the point that Gildenlow wants to convey across quite well. Kingdom of Loss is definitely the best song on the album, in my opinion. From it's powerful guitar solo by Johan Hallgren, to it's undeniably true message, I can't help but like every second of this song.

People need to learn that no group can always release a masterpiece, it just isn't possible (unless you're a complete fanboy and think anything an artist does is God's work), and that is definitely the case with Scarsick. Some of the other reviews (in my opinion) are a bit too critical of the change in Pain of Salvation's sound and aren't paying much attention to what is actually being played. I don't think this is by any means a bad album, it's just something a bit different. And isn't that what artists are supposed to do, try things differently?

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#109835) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Review by AtLossForWords
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I haven't been on progarchives, much at all lately, but I can't resist and oppurtunity to express what I think of Daniel Gildenlow and Pain of Salvation's latest work, Scarsick.

Scarsick is a completely different animal from the res tof the Pain of Salvation repitoire. Once again, the album is completely concept centered, and there are some odd pieces which are not on the album for musical excellence, but to advance the message of the concept. I really love how Pain of Salvation does this, an album like Be had necessary pieces in songs like Vocari Dei, Nauticus, and Omni which really made the album a unique and special listen.

This time around it's songs like America, Disco Queen, and Spitfall, and although their purpose is that to advance the message and attitude of the concept, they actually have some very interesting moments where the listener can't predict what's coming around the corner.

There are some excellent musical pieces on this album as well. Kingdom of Loss, Enter Rain, and Idiocracy showcase the bands tasteful creativity.

I love the concept. Daniel Gildenlow has shown the ability to make great concepts regarding the fantasy, the metaphysical, the environmental, and now the social and political. He's music's philosopher, and I have nothing but respect for what it is he succeeds in doing.

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Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.4 Stars

I'm Speechless! I do not own many albums of this band, but if this is the so called least inspired album from theirs, I have to get the rest of their discography! The music here is not that virtuosic, though you know the musicians are really talented. What they are focused on is emotion, melodies, and songwriting rather than very technical solos like Dream Theater. Speaking of solos ... this album has only a few and no song has 2 solos. The showcase here is Daniel and his vocals/lyrics more than anything, though the musicians complement the moods brought by the leader perfectly. The result is it being one of the most emotional albums I have ever heard; it really moves me. As this seems to be the second part of the Perfect Element, I don't know the introduction and I'd rather review the music more than the lyrics, which covers many different styles.

Scarsick: a synthesized guitar riff begins the album. There's a quick buildup until Daniel screams one word: "Sick!!" and the music turns very heavy with electric guitars and unusual effects. That's it, I was hooked in the first minute! Afterwards, Daniel starts rapping under really cool instrumentation which shows how rap should sound like. After the heavy riff that reappears, an extremely catchy chorus with anguished vocals and instrument arrangements that are a work of genius. Similar riffs and themes appear again but in a heavier format. The chorus sounds even more depressing than in the first time. The range of his vocals is impressive as he can sing really high/low notes, any style he wishes, and can portray moods so proficiently. Finally, the song's themes meld together and turns incredibly heavy and angry with the character of the story screaming how sick he is at the society he lives in. 9/10

Spitfall: What a shock! It begins as pure rap. I never liked rap, but the rapping here is very well-written and performed. I'm sure this particular style is played to show the message Daniel is sending to the listeners in the eyes of the story's character. This aggressive rapping really fits with the doom-metal behind it. The chorus is also very surprising and well-done: upbeat, angry, metal, pop, it is quite complex. After the second chorus, the music and the rapping changes, yet it is still as good. The third chorus is also different: it is mellower and its ending features an addictive guitar/synth line that is really memorable. It leads into more rapping with a frenzied guitar solo in the background. Really mindblowing stuff! The song ends with an extended chorus that plays that guitar line at the end, making it's ending a satisfactory one. 9/10

Cribcaged: Starts as a very simple laid-back tune with gorgeous and sad vocals that later turns angrier "I'm sick of homies, I'm sick of ..." and makes a bit of a list of stuff he's sick of and the first chorus plays which has a very neat electric guitar melody in it. The vocals continue and become angrier as well as the music. Daniel suddenly starts using the F word in every single line and I think it works well. This obscenity-overkill serves as a buildup to the second chorus which is much more powerful than the first one. I love the vocal performance in it, with vocals in the front and vocals in the background. 9/10

America: America, the controversial song. I know that Daniel doesn't like the country too much currently. He never tours the country, refused to do so when he was a member of the Flower Kings, so he bashes the country a bit with a mixture of punk, metal, pop, country, with very 'american' song elements. It sounds weird and was a turn off to me at first listen, but I think it works well. The second half shows that he really doesn't hate America, he hates how it is now:

don't you walk out on me just wait a second now please hear me out oh I'll do my best to love you oh yes I will I know you're out there c'mon raise your voices don't let them ruin your reputation don't let them wreck your constitution not out of fear not out of greed

An American could write lyrics like this and in my eyes, it seems like the lyrics of a patriot who speaks out when something is wrong with the government. The moment when he sings those words is the best moment musically, with lots of innovation in it. The rest sounds a bit weird and the chorus "I'm sick of America" is quite annoying. 5.5/10

Disco Queen is even weirder than America. Like the title says, it is driven by a disco beat, while it also contains prog and metal elements. As a result, it sounds like a very weird mix that sounds funny at first listen. However, after multiple listens, you begin to realize the genius behind this song dealing with prostitution. It just doesn't sound weird anymore, it sounds unique, coherent, and natural and contains a chorus that is embarrassingly catchy and sing-along: "My Disco Queen, Let's Disco!". This is a guilty pleasure track of mine. 9/10

Kingdom of Loss: I am at a loss of words. This song is just perfect. I can't even describe accurately how this song moves me. It has a dreamy atmosphere and a very memorable melody in the verses where Daniel sings passionately or talks about the irony of human society. It seems there are two types of choruses here. The heavy "All for Sale" that is one of the most powerful musical passages I have ever heard in prog metal. The "welcome down to planet Earth" chorus has some of the best melodies I have ever heard and subtle instrumentation with acoustic strumming. This chorus continues with another strong melody "If you're tearing down my world, please try to do it gently". After the second chorus, a guitar solo full of feeling and melody takes over and when it finishes, the "If you're tearing down my world" chorus reappears with more layers and a heavier and more symphonic sound and repeats for a minute until it fades out. Perfect song, one of the best non-epic songs I have ever heard. 11/10

Unfortunately, nothing will come close to the quality of Kingdom of loss afterwards, but it is still very enjoyable music.

Mrs Modern Mother Mary: a funky metal song driven by a simple guitar riff played under a time signature I cannot figure out. The riff plays during the choruses too but it doesn't get old. The vocals are the main interest of the song, with Daniel singing with a lot of variety. 7.5/10

Idiocracy: Powerful guitars and keyboards and lots of innovation once again. The vocals sound very different in this track from the others, proving how flexible his voice can be. The chorus is gentle, dreamy, and very moving, while the second chorus sounds heavier because the character can't accept the society he lives in, though it's slow tempo does not make it very loud and aggressive. The song ends acoustically. 7.5/10

Flame to the Moth starts brilliantly with a fast tempo and an amazing riff. The vocal performance here is stellar though I am not a big fan of the growling in the refrains. As virtually everyone seems to enjoy his growls, don't pay too much attention to my criticism here. After all, he uses it with a purpose. The outro of the song with gorgeous piano and 'the riff' is great. Overall, an above-average track with the style of the band, recalling their "remedy lane" era. 8/10

Enter Rain uses a drum line throughout the majority of the song. I believe the verses are beautiful. They are dark, atmospheric, gloomy and bring tension. The choruses are heavier and contain a memorable hook. Once again, Daniel sings tormented vocals in the background. After the second chorus, there is a new section that sounds more depressing than before and then, the last chorus plays and the character dies. 7.5/10

As you can see, this album is very diverse and emotional. Rather than focusing on complexity and virtuosity, Pain of Salvation chose to focus on the music, the lyrics, and the vocals. This album divides fan, but I recommend you to take the risk and see if you are one of the listeners who can enjoy this album to its fullest.

A modern highlight, Highly recommended and essential to prog metal fans.

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Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Brief: Was Gildenlow sick?

There's hardly any other way to explain what happened during the writing process for SCARSICK, Pain of Salvation's latest release. After a brilliant album that quite simply blew everybody away with its incredibly deep lyrics and thoughtful theme, after delivering such the thesis-set-to-music thas was BE, and before that, after such a magnificent album as REMEDY LANE, or even the half-perfect, half-boring THE PERFECT ELEMENT, after proving me and a lot of people wrong by recording an acoustic version of seemingly non-acoustic-ready song like "Ashes" and making them sound completely different, like a song in the prairie, in 12:5; after such a serious, focused musical career, Gildenlow suddenly falls down for....

Hate?

Envy?

Jealousy?

I would have to speak about the lyrical department first. In SCARSICK, Gildenlow's attention turns to America ( United States of America if we are to call countries by their name and not by the continent they rest in). He writes, at least in the first half of the album, about America, of course overly critizicing it. But the problem is that he chose not to do it in a concious, respectful, or even interesting manner, no; he chose to do it in the most inmature, hate-driven, cliche-filled possible way. He's capable of putting down his thoughts to paper with skill, he showed us he's capable of using metaphors, of saying things in a more polished way, with some style. But in this album, he just rants on and on like a youngster angry with the world and with himself about how some people are rich, succesful, how the allmighty dollar changes everything and how that...sucks. Yes, it would've been the same if he just wrote, in the most graffiti-styled way, "America sucks", and spared us from all these lyrics, so profound and literary- elaborated is his discourse. I mean, what's the point in devoting a whole song to bash... rappers? I don't like that music, I also hate the fact that that atrocious subculture, where calling women bitches and showing golden teeth, is considered "cool" and is emulated by youngsters and revered by the money-hungry media. But what can be gained by writing about that in an album the target audience to which it's mostly written doesn't listen to that music in the first place? His message won't reach the mainstream, he won't change anybody's minds because the vast majority of people that hear his music already agrees with him, and the people he criticizes and bashes will never pay any attention to this album. . So in the end is just an exercize in uselessness. The only thing he's accomplishing with that is probably damaging his own liver. And that can be said about most of the first half: another useless song about celebrity adoration... do I smell envy here? It's hard for me to explain how such an intelligent man could write songs about subjects any young individual could say in less words and probably in a calmer way. The wrost is, of course, "America". just plain hatred for a country which may have a lot of bad things going on for it, but that deserves some respect, specially considering that it was the birthplace of freedom of speech, the same freedom of speech that allows Mr. Gildenlow to write his trashing-America essay. I have to say that in theory I could agree with about 60% of what it's said in that song, but thre are FAR more respectful, elegant, artistic ways of expressing it. The remainder of the lyrics are less direct, more introspective, but nowhere near the level of absolute control over ideas that BE showcased. Some people argue that this album is in fact the second part to "THE PERFECT ELEMENT PT 1", and the booklet itself gives us a clue about that when the first page reads "part II" and there's nothing more on it. If that is so, what a waste of time waiting for the continuation was, for SCARSICK is, lyrically, quite a few levels (I would say quite a few earth-layers) below that flawed piece of art.

I usually pay much less attention to the lyrics than to the music but in POS' case it's different: this is a band that was know for being able to write music strongly connected to the lyrics, in such a way that their latest album, BE, was not a musical grand-voyage but a written thesis with just the adequate mucis set to each of the chapters. In REMEDY LANE the morbid, depressing, introspective, angst-ridden lyrics were accompanied by some of the most beautiful yet suffering melodies in all prog-metal. So that's why I had to comment about the lyrics: in POS they are an important part in the music-writing process. That being said, the music in SCARSICK is not as deficient as the lyrics but it's not really good either. There are hardly any songs that could even begin to match up with the tracks in REMEDY LANE or the first half of TPE in terms of melody, originality or even virtuosism. One can argue that, as always, the music is written to match the lyrics, so if the lyrics are angry and simple, the music had to be like that, too. I don't agree. In BE, where we had amazingly deep lyrics, we could stand music just put there as background; in SCARSICK, one part of the combination is enourmously flawed, the other had to rise above it, but just barely manages to do so.

Scarsick (7.5/10), the simplicity of the riff is evident. This song starts off the album in pure metal fashion, and it's not bad, if overly simplistic. Gildenlow sings in a kind of "nu- metal" style that it's not to my taste; the chorus sort of remind us of the POS of ancient times. The song works because it's entertaining. The lyrics? Well, the guy's sick with the way society is. He doesn't say here anything we already don't know. daniel hates society. Music and lyrics in the same level

Spitfall (8/10), bliss to our ears, the old-style POS kind of appears buried within the confines of this song. The main heavy riff adornated by just four piano notes while Gildenlow "raps" over it is very good, and the chorus is actually decent, with D. at the end of it sounding almost like Anselmo from Down or Pantera. The lyrics? Well, how unfair and twisted it is that rappers have the spotlight in this society... did we really need Mr. G. to enlighten us about that? He even says "yo'all" in the song... He truly is sick. Daniel hates rappers and rap-adoring media. Music WAY above the lyrics.

Cribcaged (7/10), after a quiet start, a very good piano melody again reminds us that this could be the same band that wrote REMEDY LANE. Gildenlow sings, actually SINGS here, with the voice that he's shown he's capable of. The lack of a good chorus hurts the song a little and makes it sound repetitive. But the real problem: The lyrics? Awful. Now we're dealing with celebrities and how adored they are. Daniel hates celebrities. Man, what's the POINT? We already AGREE. But was it really necessary to say "[%*!#] this, [%*!#] that" to show he's uncomfortable with the way the world is? "Successful people, dressed up people, [%*!#]ing people, you're just people". I rest my case with that phrase. Yes, Mr. G. discovered for all of us that successful people is just people. I thought they were divine. No, actually, maybe some of them could deserve their fame? We don't know, but these lyrics wouldn't bother to consider such an "aberration." Music OCEANS better than the lyrics.

America (5/10), finally, the chance for Mr. G. to deliver his self-repressed anti-yanqui rant. The music he chooses to do so is straight forward rock-metal, fast, with a pre- chorus melody that somewhat reminds us in our subconcious of the main melody in "America", the movement in Leonard Bernstein's magnificent music for WEST SIDE STORY. Weak music, but... The lyrics? Daniel hates America. Daniel hates America. Daniel hates America. I could agree with a lot of what he says, not in the way he says it. Daniel hates America. America DOESN'T CARE. WE DON'T CARE. At least not if to say it it's mandatory to be so inmature and hateful. Daniel is happy because the US is going the way of the Soviet, the Roman and the British Empire. Good for him. Bad for us, because we lost a GREAT lyricist and "gained" a POOR political analyst. Music weak but incredibly UNIVERSES above the lyirics.

Disco Queen (7.5/10) I'll be odd here and say that this track is not as bad as many people say it is. For the only time in the album, we hear some wit, some irony behind the criticism. The main riff starts in disco-style, with some high-pitched "uh uh uh" by Gildenlow that sound so grotesque and exaggerated that they work in actually conveying the futility of the "disco queens". In this song it's not about the music, it's about how they relate to the lyrics. Incredibly, they ARE related. the song itslef is a little boring except for the "disco" parts, but I can see some purpose here. The lyrics?Well, as always here, Daniel dislikes someone, now it's the turn for the ladies. At least he shows just a LITTLE of sarcasm in here. Music in the same level as the lyrics.

Kingdom Of Loss (9.5/10), just one word: PAIN OF SALVATION (well, those were three actually). This tracks sounds as a leftover from the TPE- era, with melody, control, a brilliant melodic chorus, THIS is the POS we where looking for. Suffering, angst, beauty hidden behind the mask of a monster created by elders. Great song. The lyrics? Finally Mr. G. starts drifting away from the "Daniel hates" theme and gives us some thoughful pharses, if not great, at least better than the unsufferable preceding ones.

Mrs Modern Mother Mary (4/10), don't like the beginning of the song that much, too simplistic. But soon enough the track gets back on track (pun intended) and Gildenlow delivers a good performance with his long-lost-and-missed falsetto voice. But then the song dissapoints us when we don't hear any changes. the same thing over and over again. The lyrics?Now we're talking about religious people. At least it's not an overly hateful exercize but it's not interesting. Boring song, both music and lyirics in the same low level.

Idiocracy (3.5/10) too bad the album starts going downhill from now on. A boring, mundane metal riff that sounds like a every-day-mtv-numetal band with some distorted vocals here and there. The chorus is much better but doesn't last long. bad, bad song. The lyrics? Well, they are not "Daniel hates" lyirics, so they're not that bad. both lyrics and music poor, but incredibly, lyrics ABOVE music. So boring it is.

Flame To The Moth (4/10), this album is a lost cause near the end. Some little arabic- sounding riff is the main music in this track. Too much noise. When Gildenlow makes his appearance he actually saves the song a little. The rest is mtv-ready music. yes, mtv airs rock, usually crappy nu-metal rock, so this song could fit there, too. The lyrics? It's too late, we no longer care. Daniel lost us. Music and lyrics poor.

Enter Rain (6/10) a very slow, sedating, sleep-inducing track, overly long, but at times inteersting, at times sounding like POS. There are bits of good singing and ingenuity here and there, but the song clearly overstays its welcome. The lyrics? Curiously enough, Mr. G. decided to write in a remotely interesting fashion just before we're about to end our SCARSICK experience. Too late for that.

This is my take on SCARSICK. A weak, very weak album with some moments that testify to the quality of the musicians playing it but there's a big problem: for any band, this would've been a decent effort...

...This is Pain of Salvation here. They gave me a good-if-hard-to-get-into album in ENTROPIA, they delivered an excellent if a little dry experience in ONE HOUR; they recorded an album with a PERFECT first half in TPE; they gave me my number 5 favorite album of all time in masterpiece REMEDY LANE; they dazzled me with 12:5; they crossed boundaries and showed me they're not just musicians in BE...

...but in SCARSICK, they managed the impossible. They dissapointed me.

Recommended for: Fans of prog-metal, fans/completionists of POS, fans of nu-metal (??).

Not recommended for: people expecting REMEDY LANE II or BE II, nor anything in those albums' level; people expecting incredibly original music. But most of all, people that could get offended by a singer that so blatantly manifests his feelings about a country and a society...

... but hey! Let's give the guy a break. Daniel hates America... (or is he just jealous?)

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#111332) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 09, 2007

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars

An Album that I cannot stop playing it .

Am I a great fan of Pain of Salvation? Not quite sure on this. Let me put it this way. As far as enjoying the music, I always like their music offering. You can check my rating on all of the band's albums here at this site. But as far as following-up with the band and monitoring what's going to come up next, I have never done it. I'm too lazy following- up the band's activities through their official website. In fact when the local mailing list down here at my country, talking about the band's search for new bassist, I did not really pay into attention about it. And .. finally the new album "Scarsick" came out in 2007 and I was not that curious about the album and just spun it once and put it back in a shelf. Some people was mumbling and complaining about "disco" element in this album which I even at that time did not really care. For some reason, I started spinning the album again couple of days ago and don't know why I can never stop it. I keep replaying again and again .

To me the music is so straight forward but it's still a Pain-of-Salvation-specific kind of thing. There are still parts that remind me to the band's music nuance of "Entropia" album combined with "Perfect Element Part 1" album as well. For my ears, the Daniel Gildenlow's voice is very unique and can easily be identified, even with some tracks in rap style. For the purpose of writing this review, I rely heavily on how my ears and my mind interpret the music offered in this album, without having to browse what is the intention of the band with this album. I just enjoy the music and put my views against it. While the band still maintain their energetic beats (most of tracks) and ambient nuance, there are some nuances that typically produced by Pink Floyd's music. This has never happened before with Pain of Salvation.

Why liking this album?

Digestible. It does not require progressive ears or mind to digest the music of this album. All songs have strong soul and groove that make them attractive to follow. This is totally different with "Be" album which was very hard to digest at first spin. If that is the case, this might not be a prog album? I leave it up to you to this matter. From the opening track which is the album title track the music flows easily into my ears and my mind without any difficulty at all. The opening track still has so much style of Pain of Salvation music so far. One who has been familiar with Pain of Salvation music would easily identify that this is PoS! It moves nicely to the next track "Spitfall" right way through to final track "Enter Rain" without any difficulty at all.

Excellent Composition. This might be debate-able since the old school fans of Pain of Salvation might think that this album composition is of less quality than previous albums. Well, I don't blame on them at all. The fact that most songs are easy to digest itself would lead to a conclusion that there is nothing in the music. But, hold your thoughts for a second . is there any rule that says prog music must be complicated to qualify as good ones? What about with Pink Floyd in which most of their compositions are pretty simple and relying the music on soundscapes and ambience?

One good example of excellent composition is the second track "Spitfall" which I think it has brilliant composition and powerful songwriting. The song has "energy" as well as groove and soul. The strong point of the song relies on how the music provides ambient style on the upbeat music. It's quite a challenge, actually, and I don't think any band can do so with this brilliant work. When you have a chance to enjoy this album, please observe the subtleties of this song. I guess you would agree with me. "Cribcaged" also gives another great example of what to qualify as excellent music. This song has so much roots with earlier Pain of Salvation music, eg. "Perfect Element Part 1" album. It's so powerful song.

Dare to challenge music boundaries. What I mean with this is the fact that the band does not really care about how people and (especially) their fans would perceive the band with respect to their exploration into disco and rap (I a way) styles. Who can stop the band from playing disco - or even reggae music? The risk is huge because old fans would run away from them. But, this is not the first case the band experiences because their previous album "Be" has split the fans into two poles: those who loved it and hated it. The band moves forward with their creation.

It's important also to notice here that on "Idiocracy" I can sense the style of Tool music as well. This proves the band's free exploration of their music. They might even consider that music should not be categorized - just let it flow. Who knows, one day Pain of Salvation would play swing jazz?

Why (you are) NOT liking this album?

Allergic to disco music. This applies to the fact that "Disco Queen" is a perfect disco music. If this is the case and you do hate anything "disco", you might consider this album is a crap. But, if you can tolerate a little bit, please observe how keyboard sounds are intertwined with the upbeat music. It's a joy, actually, listening to this kind of music.

"Prog must be complex!" Hmmm . if you have this principle in your mind, you will definitely have trouble appreciating this album. My suggestion, try "Kingdom Loss" in loud volume and the light is off, observe the subtleties as well as how melody brings the song into nice composition. I can assure you there is a kind of Pink Floyd style you can find in this song. As for my case, I really enjoy this song despite its simple composition. Oh the chorus is so beautiful!

Conclusion

Despite all positive points I elaborated above, one thing for sure that has not been tested yet: will this music become so boring? I can not answer this now as I just got it couple of weeks and cannot predict how will it be. Typically, any music which can be digested easily will fade away easily as well. Do you think so? Let's see. That's why I put this rating as an excellent addition to any prog music collection with a possibility to upgrade into five stars. Maybe. I do not recommend you to buy this album as your first Pain of Salvation album. I'd rather recommend you start with "Perfect Elements". But if you have been familiar with previous albums, I recommend you to buy this CD. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

PS. Oh by the way, I do not like the album cover. It's so ugly and scary, my friend.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#111641) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 11, 2007

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This release looks like it will be the most controversial release of 2007.

PoS doesn't make it easy for their fans, or for fans of prog metal in general here, as doing it safe seems to be a missing element in the bands collective personality.

Thus they release an album of a highly experimental nature, where hardly any song sounds the same. Opening with a song heavily flirting with nu metal, continuing into Eminem territory (although heavily spiced with fuzz guitar), continuing with a c&w flavoured AOR song, moving on to a more funk-inspired song and then in track 5 having their own version of what disco should sound like.

Continuing with a ballady tune evolving into a dark metal tune, then it's a guitar/vocals experimental track, before there's three "normal" sounding tracks finishing this beast off.

Highly experimental, and listeners need ecclectic taste as well as patience to be able to enjoy this one. Personally I'd place it somewhere inbetween average and good (or good to excellent as ratings go here), and the pure amount of courage shown in releasing such an experimental album makes me rate higher rather than lower.

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Posted Thursday, February 22, 2007

Review by Tristan Mulders
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Pain of Salvation - Scarsick

To me Pain of Salvation was one of the true symphonic metal bands out there. One could consider their music to be a metal rendition of classic 70s prog anno the 21st century. Lengthy, epic, conceptual pieces of music, sometimes woven fluently into one another, odd time signatures and an abstract-minded approach to contemporary music standards.

However, most of those elements seem to have vanished, for with "Scarsick" this band delivers perhaps their most non-prog work up to date. This doesn't necessarily mean that the music's utter crap... not at all per se (although, there's a few exceptions..), just not as innovative and 'proggy' as Pain of Salvation's classic albums "Remedy Lane" or "The Perfect Element: Part I".

Not there's missed opportunity #1: This new release appears to be the follow-up to "The Perfect Element: Part I", yet contrary to "Part I", the music included here is more reminiscent of popular hardrock/nu-metal outfits than it is of let's say King Crimson or any other prog music group.

Missed opportunity #2: Whereas I thought up to now that most of Pain of Salvation's output featured pretty decent lyrics, here it's mostly written with an anti-everything attitude from Mr Gildenl÷w point of view. It's pretty difficult to find a positive note in a song on this album. Sure, PoS has never been the most happy bunch of musicians (at least on their albums), but they've surpassed themselves this time around. (F*ck the... ▓ to quote a certain bit of lyrics...)

Not let's not be all too negative on this release, even though I felt rather underwhelmed by most of it... I expected so much more than this... Ah well, whenever I'm in the mood to listen to a popmetal album that deals with world issues and MTV mania, than I know where to find my copy of "Scarsick".

And yes, there are several sections on the CD that could please me rather well actually... For instance the trademark PoS ending to the song Kingdom of Loss ("As you're tearing down our world, please just try to do it gently, there's still love inside") with its heavy metal guitars as well as some eerie keyboard sounds. This song is by the way perhaps the sole direct link to the first "Perfect Element" album. (King of Loss --> Kingdom of loss).

Idiocracy is another quite good song, even though it's rather like a simplified version of what PoS were capable of on their previous albums when it came down to playing a heavier piece of music.

If you want something taht rocks, but that's not overly complex and... well, actually quite in-your-face, that I'd suggest listening to "Scarsick". However, if you're to expect those off-beat instrumental sections as featured on previous PoS album like "Remedy Lane" and you seek a challenge in listening music... one word of advise: stay away from this as far as possible...

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Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
4 stars No Kingdom of Loss at all

Very controversial what I can find out from the other reviews! First of all I must say that I'm not very familiar with the band and therefore this is the first complete release to estimate for me. Maybe POS are provocative, polarizing with this album and frustrating some of their fans. This is not really surprising what I've heard about them. Never mind - for me it sounds neither bad nor mediocre - it's very exciting and I'm surprised about so many disclaiming reviews.

Ostensibly they realize a mix of prog metal and heavy crossover with a little bit rapping. You cannot ignore - they use elements from bands like RACE AGAINST THE MACHINE, FAITH NO MORE or SOUNDGARDEN. Okay - not absolutely a new territory. You can believe me - that's not all. After several listenings the songs are opening more and more new aspects.

Title track Scarsick sounds not very unique during the first round - a typical RATM headbanger? But the song is also gripping with great vocals. Spitfall is metal rap with a melodic refrain (there's nothing like a broken childhood ...) - a very interesting combination. I like this. Then follows Cribcaged, a compelling ballad (supported by very young humans) which gets stronger 'til the end. With America POS is attacking the official US policy which has my fully agreement. Funny use of Banjo I must say.

Disco Queen is a killer song. ABBA gets along with FAITH NO MORE - a heavy contrast, absolutely crazy and very couragious. I felt like I was sucked down after listening to the song for the first time. But I had a next try and another and then by and by I was getting a clue how fascinating this song is.

Kingdom of Loss is great and I have terrible problems to describe why. Mainly psychedelic but also folk in a very melancholic mood - genial! Mrs. Modern Mother Mary - the shortest song - is initiated by a metall riff and sounds like Chris Cornell is serving the vocals. Enter Rain is a wonderful ballad to round off this release - agressive and also psychedelic with another chance for Daniel Glidenl÷w to show his great musical abilities.

PAIN OF SALVATION has worked out a versatile ouput. Remarkable are Gildenl÷w's vocals. And so my summary is: no song is lacking - this will be an excellent addition ...

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Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007

Review by King of Loss
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars SICK! CAUSE ITS ME CAUSE ITS ME rings out some of the notes of the first song of the newest Pain of Salvation album, fittingly named Scarsick. Scarsick is Pain of Salvation's newest chapter in the Perfect Element trilogy and of many trilogies; this is entirely different beast from all the other Pain of Salvation albums. The sound here is clearly different from the poppy Prog Metal dimensions of Remedy Lane, the tender, emotional warmness that is The Perfect Element or the conceptual masterpiece, BE. The sound is even more raw and powerful. At times, the band manages to be even tenderer than the 'confused' moments during the middle of the first part of the Perfect Element trilogy.

We start off with Scarsick, the title track of the 6th Pain of Salvation studio album. This track starts with the chant SICK by Daniel Gildenlow, and then carries away into a furry of Metal riffs, catchy trademark Gildenlow raps and powerful choruses. THIS SICK SICK SICK CAUSE ITS NOT ME. The sheer power that Gildenlow manages to encompass in this song manages to match up with the power of a song like Dea Pecuniae, Beyond the Pale or Iter Impius.

Spitfall is the 2nd song on the new Pain of Salvation album and it is a very unique Pain of Salvation song. Daniel does his trademark 'special vocals', but instead utilizes it for a longer period creating an ominous effect every time the choruses come in. A very catchy song and also a song that sorts of parodies certain rap artists. Extremely powerful and moving song that emphasizes the more "band-orientated" sound that Daniel was going for at the beginning of the writing sessions.

Cribcaged is the next song on the album and it is a ballad-ish song on the album. The lyrics entail the youth's feelings of the richness around himself and his anti-feelings towards these things. The song is slightly less powerful than the first two songs, but gives off very intense tender mixed feelings of shame, anger and regret.

America is the anti-American establishment song on this album. It describes the person's view on a lot of issues such as Iraq, Capitol Hill and theorizes America's eventual downfall. This song is a very catchy song that deals with these issues and it incorporates some of Gildenlow's disappointments with the American regime and such. Definitely a very political song, but also a great catchy one! A good song to play for your friends who aren't into Prog Metal!

Now to Disco Queen. Let's see. LET'S DISCO DISCO QUEEN LET'S DISCO DISCO QUEEN!!!!! WHOOAA-OHHHHH- WHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! That's just a bit of a taste from certainly the most eccentric track they have done, even more than the silly bit on Dea Pecuniae on the conceptual masterpiece, BE. Definitely extremely different and weird at the same time. Pretty much of what I call my guilty pleasure.

Kingdom of Loss is where all the powerful energy that was described in the beginning comes crashing down. After Disco Queen, a very energetic song, it is fitting there a slower more ballad-like song is in the place. Quite a strong, powerful, yet tender song! And a fitting description of emotions and feelings!

Mrs. Modern Mother Mary is the short rocker-ish song on the album. Highly band-orientated music and also highly different from what Pain of Salvation have done in the past. The song reminds me highly of Devin Townsend, but in the artsy fashion that Gildenlow and company have always done things.

Idiocracy is the 8th song on the album and this is more or less a transitional song. (As I call it: the song that goes from the climax (Kingdom of Loss) and interconnects it with the end of album or the last 2 songs.) Quite a typical Pain of Salvation song, with typical Gildenlow vocals and instrumental accompany from the band.

Flame to the Moth is the second to last on the album. Here is another example of Scarsick's new musical direction, with Hallgren and Gildenlow exchanging screams in the middle of the song. The music has noticeably returned to the power and the strength of the first several songs. It is definitely one of the heaviest Pain of Salvation songs that the band has ever been made.

Enter Rain is the closer on the album and it is a very authoritative track summing up the end of the album. YOU'LL NEVER REMEMBER MY NAME, BUT I WILL LOVE YOU JUST THE SAME is the best part of the ending plus the powerful lines ENTER RAIN ENTER RAIN! A fitting ending to the perhaps one of the most controversial Progressive albums in the last 15 years and an album that will continue to be deeply debated!

Overall ratings for each song: Scarsick- 9/10 Spitfall- 9/10 Cribcaged- 9/10 America- 8/10 Disco Queen- 8/10 Kingdom of Loss- 9/10 Mrs. Modern Mother Mary- 8/10 Idiocracy- 7/10 Flame to the Moth- 7.5/10 Enter Rain- 9/10

The sheer magnitude of this powerful album did not enter my mind until after several listens. As Gildenlow mentioned in an interview: "Scarsick is much more band oriented and down to the core. Threatening and disturbing." From his words, we can say that this is a completely different animal from anything Pain of Salvation has ever done before.

Gildenlow wanted the album to be threatening and disturbing and he got what he wanted! He also created controversy within the Progressive world by introducing it to something that was creative and innovative.

Another great Pain of Salvation album and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

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Posted Thursday, August 16, 2007

Review by sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Scarsick, the sixth studio album from Pain of Salvation, a band that I have come to regard as one of the best I have ever heard, if not the best. Standing still is not something that could ever be levelled at Pain of Salvation and the guiding hand of Daniel Gildenlow, and the big question everyone was anxious to know the answer to is, how the hell do you follow up the spectacularly ambitious, some would say pretentious and overblown, BE? The answer seems to be The Perfect Element, Part 2!

Yes, that's right, the follow up to my all time favourite album, The Perfect Element. The closing song of the aforementioned album left the male character with "his skin upon this dirty floor, eyes fixed on the ceiling", and now Scarsick picks up from there and tells this story from His perspective as He watches the world through his TV, and does not like what he sees, the perversion of modern society. Or at least that's what its supposed to be, anyway. I have trouble taking this too seriously as a concept album that follows on from The Perfect Element, it lacks the references to his past that made such an emotional impact previously and rather than being a cohesive concept it seems to be a series of social commentaries, making the TPE connection tenuous at best. Worse than that, several of these songs posses some of Gildenlows worst lyrics, particularly America, which is needlessly inflammatory with lines like " sick of America" and gets its point across in a very crass method. The fact that I agree, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the song, with the sentiments here doesn't change the fact that Gildenlow has exchanged intelligent and thoughtful lyrics for anger and I don't think its too successful in that regard.

Musically its very different to all that has come before it, as you would expect, this is Pain of Salvation after all. However, gone are the complex structures, melodies and the highly effective use of rhythm change that has been used to amazing effect on all previous albums. Here the structures are much more simple and the songs, though each very different, have little dynamic change in their timbre, except for Disco Queen, and that's only an illusion created by the disco beat of the loathsome chorus. Its not that its bad, because the musicianship is still top notch from all four members, with Daniel taking over bass duties from his ousted brother Kristoffer, its just that the songs on Scarsick will forever be held up against those of The Perfect Element, by dint of its connection, and will never hope to match the sheer genius of In The Flesh, Idioglossia, Her Voices, King of Loss, etc. However, were these songs still hold a candle to their predecessors is in atmosphere, particularly the doom-and-gloom atmosphere of the second half of the album, from Kingdom of Loss onwards. Its very dark and it works very well, in conjuncture with Gildenlow's best lyrics of the album.

In the end the constant anger of the lyrics and the striped down, much more simple, style of the song structures make it impossible for me to make any kind of emotional connection to this album, and that's its biggest fault simply for the fact that it was always the bands biggest asset on the previous five albums. When looked at under such close scrutiny and in direct comparison to Pain of Salvations past, its hard no to try and give this album a really low rating, but then I step back and remember just how highly I regard PoS's back catalogue and try to take it on its own merits. When I do this I realise that there is ample strength in the crafting of the songs, particularly the rather good Kingdom of Loss, and the excellent musicianship which is on display throughout the album to realise that its an average album, I just happen to have extremely high standards when it comes to PoS. The album is also notable for it being the last appearance of drummer Johan Langel, who retired from music following the end of the subsequent tour. Johan has regularly proved that he is one of the best drummers in Progressive metal and PoS will miss him on the next album. 3 stars but I advise you buy this album last from Pain of Salvation, get the others first.

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Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars My biggest disappointment of 2007 and, I think, a huge step backward in the band's stellar library. After listening to it several times, here are my thoughts:

- the guitar is as bland as can be, with uninventive, crunchy riffing and conspicuously absent solos - songwriting is uncreative and lacking any melody worth mentioning and-- with the exception of the horribly infectious hooks in "Disco Queen"-- entirely forgettable. - vocals are a sad mix of genuine poignancy (wasted on these songs), and trashy rap-rock growls more befitting the lame, teen pop- metal bands popular five years ago. - and, worst of all... the trite, angry, insultingly unsubtle lyrics which (in all likelihood) are preaching to the converted. We deserve better.

A huge waste of such powerful energy demonstrated by Daniel Gildenlow which misfires tremendously. I am I alone in thinking this would have worked MUCH better as a solo project, rather then involving and poorly utilizing the band's otherwise excellent talent?

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 1 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

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Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007

Review by Tapfret
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Fall from grace

Sub-genre: Progressive Metal (More the latter than the former)
For Fans of: Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Faith No More
Vocal Style: Daniel Gildenlow's quality, full, rangy voice occasionally graffiti tagged with bouts of POD style rap metal blurtings and megaphonic spoken word
Guitar Style: Heavy Metal, yep
Keyboard Style: Varied piano and string patches, keys are de-emphasized on this album
Percussion Style: Standard metal kit, less double-bass than your average modern metal
Bass Style: Standard electric picked
Other Instruments: I think the mandola shows up with some other acoustic strings
Summary: Before hearing my first Pain of Salvation album I was often told that they sounded like Faith No More. I never liked Faith No More, so it was awhile before getting a POS album. When I first heard One Hour by the Concrete Lake I was amazed, I loved it and there were very few similarities to Faith No More. Well.Scarsick sounds like the Faith No More- like band that I was warned about. This is a very painful thing to have happened after the monumental precursor Be, the beautifully enlightened hands-down masterpiece of the POS catalogue. Scarsick is boorish, smug and uninventive. Gildenlow went from thoughtful progressive creations (in social, as well as musical contexts) to annoyingly trite, self-indulgent thematic repetition. Worse is the attempt to break up the monotony of the album with the painful failure at humor, Disco Queen. The song takes a disjointed stab at dance style commingled with uninspired rock riffs and highly banal social commentary. Particularly unnerving is the poorly executed rant, America. How did Gildenlow think that this would come off? For the most part he is just preaching to the choir. I, nor would I assume most POS listeners, would disagree with most of what is stated in this song. It is not in any way an original or educational sentiment. But the contradiction of a song about blind gluttonous imperialistic consumers, followed by band website entries congratulating themselves on airplay and topping various Metal charts is not lost on this reviewer. Did I miss something here? Is this what POS is all about?
The most enjoyable and arguably progressive moment is the song Idiocracy, with beautiful acoustic breaks and challenging rhythms; a breath of fresh air in an otherwise foul experience.

Final Score: This is without a doubt the most disappointing album of 2007. The masterpiece that was Be is nowhere to be found in Scarsick. For other bands, maybe this would fit ok in the catalogue and be a 3 star album. There are occasional good musical ideas, but they are few and far between. Unfortunately, downward momentum is really hard to break. 2 stars (given very generously)

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Posted Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Review by ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Pain of Salvation - Scarsick 2.5 stars

I want to give the album 3 stars.but there is just something that is holding me back from it. This is an absolute 180 turn in terms of sound and songwriting. I love it when bands change their sound, but this type of music makes me feel like nobody can make it sound great, even Daniel Gildenlow himself. A possible challenge that Steven Wilson can address?

I don't really listen to artists that sound like this but from the scarce few times I have watched MTV, I would put this somewhere near, but not along the same lines, as Korn and Slipknot.I guess.

This album features the first line-up change since after the debut. All we have is the departure of Daniel's brother, bassist Kristoffer Gildenlow. Daniel decided to just take on the bass duties at the time and not search for a new bassist. So the lineup stands with Daniel Gildenlow (all the music, all lyrics, guitar, bass and vocals), Fredrik Hermansson (keyboards), Johan Hallgren (guitar and vocals) and Johan Langell (drums and vocals).

I haven't done a track-by-track analysis in a while, the album doesn't flow either so that might just make this easier.

'Scarsick' - This is probably the worst intro for an album ever. This song really contains a rap by Daniel with very boring instrumentation. Mainly just the same guitar riff over and over and some really loud drum work, hence the connection to Korn. Things only change around the chorus that could have saved this song like the next track, but that was pretty [&*!#]ty too.

'Spitfall' - This is more of the same as Scarsick. The chorus is really good, but that will not save the entire song.

'Cribcaged' - 'Cribcaged' became on of my favorite Pain of Salvation tracks. The song is very moving emotionally, it still retains the anger of the first two tracks except the sound is very laid back and the guitars are creating some wonderful melodies. The ending to the track is a toss up. I personally love it, it is Daniel saying [%*!#] to just about everything, but it isn't angst or pissy as some people describe it to be. If you listen to his voice you can tell it's not just a rant.

'America' - I mean come on. This was kind of dumb. I can't even begin how to describe this piece. Maybe a popular female singer like Britney Spears hit song done in Pain of Salvation style. The only thing I recommend listening to is the short breakdown in the middle that sounds like a Mandolin.

'Disco Queen' - The song was fun to listen to at first, but honestly, it's just downright dumb. I also don't really understand how this got turned into over an 8-minute track to. This is a dance song, Pain of Salvation style. And that is not a good thing. 'Kingdom of Loss' - This was my favorite track on the album after it came out, but it has certainly died down. It's still ok, but feels like this is just something that shows what was left of 'The Perfect Element' in the band.

'Mrs. Modern Mother Mary' - Is just downright awful. It is in the same vein of the title track. It is just non-stop repetition and has a bland chorus.

'Idiocracy' - Is more of the same as 'Spitfall'. They turned in a complete crap song with a decent chorus that makes the listener feel like Pain of Salvation still have some life in them.

'Flame to the Moth' - After hearing the first few seconds of the track, you have heard pretty much the whole 5 plus-minute song, the epitome of directionless.

'Enter Rain' - To me, this track lets me know there is still hope left. It is quite the eerie track with a superb chorus and outro. I like it quite a lot.

Even though this release was a slap in the face to fans, I will still support Daniel and his band in whatever direction they go. He has done some things that nobody else would have done and has had such an impact on me with music and life. I tacked on the half star because this isn't necessarily just for fans, this album can summon an entire breed of new fans, just outside a prog circle most likely.

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Posted Saturday, February 23, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album gets a lot of serious flak from fans and non-fans alike. And I can understand why it might: coming off the terrific trio of The Perfect Element Part I (to which this album is thematically linked), Remedy Lane, and BE, this one does seem like a serious step backwards in terms of complexity, progginess, and all the general sorts of things that prog fans want in an album. But what it really is is a step forward, or at least forward and sideways, into an area that prog bands tend to try to avoid.

Progressive music has always sought to incorporate other musical styles into itself. Jazz, blues, classical, metal, electronica, folk, and so forth have found their way into countless albums. But someone had to try it first, try to include it within the context of the prog they were producing. And that is exactly what Pain of Salvation does here. They take a leap and try some new infusions of ideas. Except, instead of adding complexity in the manner of jazz, Pain of Salvation brings in punk, disco, hip hop, nu metal, and sceamo. Some of it doesn't quite work, I understand that. Some of the music just ends up sounding fairly average. The disco, I feel, works perfectly, creating what might be the most progressive song I've heard in a long time, namely the deep, innuendoed Disco Queen. The screamo is kind of iffy to me, working kind of weakly on Flame to the Moth.

But the point is that Pain of Salvation tried something new. This album, while the overall quality might be better reflected by three stars, is getting an extra one from me for sacrificing prog in the face of progression. Sure, the time signatures might not be that complex. Rap gets a terrible review from most every prog fan, but here, the band has turned what is often an inane genre into something that carries power, meaning, and purpose. Some critics assault the lyrics, especially on the first few songs, labeling them as stupid and immature. And they are. And that's the point. Unfortunately, unlike BE, in this case the concept does drag down the quality of the music, at least in the lyric regard.

All in all, a very intelligent effort from the band, but not necessarily a great one. Fans of Pain of Salvation will find something to like here, for certain, but I'd say it's a terrible place to start. Unless, of course, you are just that big a fan of disco.

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Posted Friday, April 25, 2008

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I am not a huge fan of prog metal music and if on top of that, I have to bear some rap-oriented vocals this sounds pretty awful to my old ears. I just can't stand this type of music which leads me to frequent argument with my eighteen years-old son. The only positive point is that, at least, there is a band behind these vocals; because POS is still playing some music.

At times, Daniel is even singing the way he ought to do. His melodic voice being then a real asset. But these passages are too few during this long album. The first interesting song is Cribcaged. The language used is somewhat raw, but it doesn't shock me.

The anti-American America is a punkish manifest against the war-oriented policy of the US. I don't fully endorse the content, but this song has a great beat and is far much better than the first two songs which open the album. This is the second good song in a row!

There won't be a third one: the disgusting Disco Queen might be a pastiche, but it just remains a weak but long track. Electro-beat of the eighties, this song has little to offer. There are still parts of the song which are bearable (the most sophisticated ones). But globally, if you would press next, you wouldn't lose much.

There are still some other tracks which are of interest like the quiet Kingdom Of Loss or the very much Ayreon oriented Idiocracy which features fine lyrics against any authoritarian regime (or believed to be so).

This album is not a total disaster IMO. Of course, it is not a great album but thanks to some tracks, it easily avoids the one-star rating and it is borderline with three.

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Posted Thursday, September 25, 2008

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Scarsick' - Pain of Salvation (5/10)

By saying this album is dissapointing, one may get the wrong idea by thinking that this is a bad album. It really isn't. There is enough musical innovation here to keep the album going and get some good credible enjoyment out of it. However, in comparison to their 3 previous masterpieces and even their excellent early work, it really cannot compare. That isn't to say that a measure of brilliance isn't here... It's just not being used in a way that it should be.

I think the reason this album has met such unrelenting criticism from Pain of Salvation fans is in the fact that it's not another Remedy Lane or Perfect Element. Pain of Salvation didn't produce 'Scarsick' trying to relive prior glories... They made this album willing to explore something new, and do something risky. In doing so, they've polarized opinions... At my very first taste of this album (a fair year before actually purchasing the album) my opinion was congruent with many opinions on this site: it's nu-metal trash. However, listening more (for the sake of it being Pain of Salvation) and letting the music really sink in, I realized the brilliant irony in the album! While Gildenlow may have written a technical 'rap' song in this album, his humor shines through in the fact that the lyrics completely smash the hip-hop lifestyle! Once this reality sets in, it's ALOT easier to appreciate the otherwise questionable choice of genre-influence in this album.

Had I reviewed this album immediately after purchasing 'Scarsick,' I most likely would have given it four stars, being that it was very entertaining, and there's a great unique quality that distinguishes it from other Prog. However, my opinion on it has unfortunately started to lessen over time, realizing just how dissapointing this album is. The fact remains that I would rather listen to another Pain of Salvation album anyday over this album. After three masterful albums, it can be said that the quality that made those works superb has extinguished, at least (hopefully) for the moment.

Overall though, 'Scarsick' certainly isn't a 'bad' album by any measure, if you give it the time to appreciate it. Gildenlow tried out something new, and so what if it didn't work out perfectly? The spirit of creativity is here in droves, making it a worthy purchase.

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Posted Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Review by horsewithteeth11
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Sometimes I'm almost disgusted when I see how high of a rating an album like this has. But then I put that irrational anger aside and instead focus on the rational anger. Normally I either immensely enjoy Pain of Salvation's music or can get enough out of certain songs on each of their albums to make them a worthwhile band to listen to. But for me this album, like the controversial "Be", this album falls flat on its face either most of the time or completely fails to get back up. Despite the fact that it often annoys me when others either poke fun at my country or the American people, I would be able to overlook that if it's done from a worthwhile artistic standpoint. The only word missing from my previous phrase in regards to Scarsick is the word "worthwhile". "Disco Queen" has some lyrics that make me laugh sometimes, but even that isn't enough to save it from the fact that the song actually incorporates disco, a genre of music that I simply can't stand. The way Daniel addresses the issues he confronts on here are very juvenile. I've felt that as Pain of Salvation progressed he became more introverted or, dare I say it, pretentious (not in a good way though). But on Scarsick it's simply laughable. I know progressive rock is about blending other genres of music, but here there are genres such as rap and nu-metal among others which bore or annoy me.

Unless you're a huge Pain of Salvation fan, and I am not, you'll want to consider passing on this one. Their earlier material is much better than the shiny rubbish presented here. 1 star might be generous for this release.

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Send comments to horsewithteeth11 (BETA) | Report this review (#219596) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It Took Me Forever To Get Interested... But It Was Worth It

Ever since the first time I heard Pain of Salvation's sixth album Scarsick I was completely disappointed. I have always been a cult follower of the first five Pain of Salvation albums, but this 2007 release took at least 25 spins before I began appreciating it as much as the other Daniel Gildenl÷w masterworks. Call me crazy for listening to an album I didn't like more than three times, but that's what any true fanboy would do. And it sure paid off.

If you remember my review originally posted in November of 2009, I gave this album two stars calling it "immature", "poor", and "disappointing". Almost a year after that review, I can confidently say that Scarsick is among my favorite Pain of Salvation albums, and a worthy follow-up to my all-time favorite album, The Perfect Element, Part 1. This is not the place to start listening to Pain of Salvation because of its inaccessibility and controversial subject matters, but if you can suffer through the first five listens, tolerate the next ten run-throughs, and moderately enjoy the next five tries, you will really see the masterpiece that is Scarsick. This is truly one of the most intellectually challenging and emotionally driven albums I have ever heard, which is really saying something. I really like the more edgy lyrical style on Scarsick, even though it will definitely offend plenty of people. I don't agree with many of the political standpoints Daniel Gildenl÷w takes here, but he is so brutally honest and heartfelt that it's hard not to appreciate them anyway.

First of all, if you are a rapper, involved in the media, offended by profanity, a celebrity, an American, and/or a Christian, expect to be offended at least one time in the album. Of course, the lyrics are all just Daniel's opinions, and you can choose whether you agree with them or not. The only case where the lyrics actually bother me is on America, where he makes his hatred towards the Bush Administration far too apparent. Profanity doesn't usually bother me, but there are quite a few "f-bombs" in Spitfall and especially Cribcaged for those who care. It doesn't affect me at all, but if you're one of those people who is offended by two certain four letter words, it might annoy you a little bit. When these profane words are used it is always in a mature way, though. Daniel isn't just saying "f**k this" to sound funny or childish... it is always to prove a deeply intellectual point, and shows he's really not messing around, rather than the contrary. I personally find the lyrics to be extremely well-written, albeit controversial.

Lyrics aside, the music seems much different than earlier Pain of Salvation albums at first listen, but after many focused listens, it's still obviously the same PoS. There is a bit of a heavier and darker tone, less beautiful melodic parts, and of course the infamous disco track (Disco Queen), but most of the music sounds pretty similar to their earlier albums. Some people criticize this album for being too "straightforward" and "commercial", but that's about as far from the truth as you can get. This is possibly PoS's most challenging album to date, in my opinion.

The musicians, as always on a Pain of Salvation album, are top-notch. A special note goes out to Daniel Gildenl÷w for his fantastic pipes! I know a lot of people don't appreciate his unique vocal style, but he is simply one of my all-time favorite singers. His voice is always extremely powerful and emotional, demanding and rough when it needs to be, and simply beautiful at times. He also plays bass and some guitar here, but the main guitarist is of course Johan Hallgren. He is fantastic, and I absolutely love his one-of-a-kind playing style. Few guitarists can play with as much power and emotion as he can. Fredrik Hermansson takes a bit of a backseat on Scarsick due to the less keyboard-oriented music, but he still does a great job here. This is the last full-length album with Johan Langell on drums, which is quite a shame in my opinion. He is just such a fantastic drummer, and he will always be missed in Pain of Salvation's music.

The production is possibly the best Pain of Salvation has had to date. The mix is simply genius, with every instrument sounding crystal clear, yet not overproduced like many of the modern symphonic prog acts. It has a clear enough production to make the album not sound unprofessional, but it's not so polished to the point where it destroys the emotions in the album (which is a frequent problem in many modern productions). I have no knocks to give in terms of production.

Scarsick is 10 tracks, adding up to a total time of 67:47. All of the songs are fantastic, but there are a few highlights in my opinion. The rap-oriented Sptifall is a favorite of mine, along with the lyrically-driven Cribcaged, beautiful Kingdom of Loss, heavy yet emotional Flame To The Moth, and especially the epic closer Enter Rain. Every one of the songs is extremely rewarding and unique, though. No two songs sound even remotely alike on Scarsick.

Conclusion:

Scarsick took a VERY long time for me to appreciate, but now that I've been loving it for many months now, I can fully regard it as another Pain of Salvation masterpiece. This is a unique album, completely unlike anything you will ever hear in your entire life. This is a 5 star album from me, and I can now consider Scarsick as a more than worthy part two in The Perfect Element saga. Words can't describe how much I love this album, and I'm sure that my words have failed multiple times throughout this review. All you need to know is that you need to buy this album at some point or another. You're really missing out if you don't have it, or even worse, have it but don't give it enough attention. I'm confident that this will be the only time I will change a two star review into a five. If you would like to read my original review, just send me a private message, and I'd be more than glad to send it to you.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#252320) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 23, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
2 stars Scarsick is so far the lowest rated Pain Of Salvation album here on Prog Archives so what has this album done to distress the crowd the way it did?

To begin with there are quite a few changes to the familiar Pain Of Salvation sound that we've all grown to love and although most of the basic elements are still here they are repackaged into entirely new shapes and forms. First example of this are Daniel's lyrics and writing style that has become more direct, which at first was ok with me but soon felt like it was laking any deeper meaning. It doesn't help that Gildenl÷w incorporates his anti-Bush politics in the texts which actually makes this whole affair sound dated even by 2010-standards.

Composition-wise the music too is lacking the regular dose of progressive metal and instead sounds more like a straight forward metal release. I mean Dream Theater's Train Of Thought gets a regular bashing for not being progressive enough but in comparison Scarsick is even worse. Even though the band did experiment with some more dance friendly material which actually worked well when I heard those songs in a live setting because it really made the crowd go crazy, in a good way. Putting these kind of compositions on a studio album felt entirely out of place and annoyed me more than words can express.

The concept of Scarsick is supposed to be a continuation of the story from The Perfect Element Part 1 which can be seen through the familiar song titles like Kingdom Of Loss and Idiocracy. This is of course all very nice but since I never cared much for the story arc of the first album I searched in vain for any composition that would even come close to the epic status of songs like In The Flesh and King Of Loss.

The last two tracks on Scarsick are actually surprisingly appealing in comparison to everything that came before which makes me believe that the band will hopefully rethink their strategy once they regroup for another studio recording.

**** star songs: Scarsick (7:08) Flame To The Moth (5:58) Enter Rain (10:03)

*** star songs: Spitfall (7:17) Cribcaged (5:56) Kingdom Of Loss (6:41) Mrs Modern Mother Mary (4:14) Idiocracy (7:04)

** star songs: America (5:04) Disco Queen (8:22)

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Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars PoS's sixth studio album shows that the band is slightly taking another path, a little more rock/ pop sounding. However, this can still be called a Prog metal work, unlike their newest Road Salt One. Some moments though are truly unforgettable, and some songs are really worth listening.

Like I said, the style is much less metal, or at least it has a lot more pop/ hip hop/ nu metal/rock influences. The lyrics are much more directed towards today's society, commercialism and modern technology, capitalism and such. So, it could be easily considered a concept album, like other previous PoS albums.

The greatest problem of this album though is that they are trying so hard to express their anger towards commercial todays music, for instance, that they end up to actually play this type of music. Songs like "Miss Modern Mother Mary", "Kingdom Of Loss", the title track and "America" are true PoS masterpieces. However, "Disco Queen" is barely listenable, eight minutes of painful torture. "Spitfall" is another disappointing chapter of this album, very predictable and with a very banal melody.

A good album, to sum up, but you should get it only if you like this band.

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Posted Thursday, May 27, 2010

Review by VanVanVan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Well, here it is. After hearing Pain of Salvation's first five albums (all of which I would consider 5 star albums) I decided to pick up what is easily the band's most controversial outing: the infamous Scarsick.

The first thing that I will say is that if you are looking for a second BE than look elsewhere. Stylistically the albums are nothing alike. The second thing I will say is that even though this is the Perfect Element II do not expect a repeat of that album either. If I had to describe this album in one word it would be sarcastic. Every song is dripping with caustic sarcasm and sometime contempt. If you are still willing to move forward than Scarsick may be an album for you.

Side A: His Skin Against This Dirty Floor

Scarsick: Similar to Used from TPE in that its verses are sung in a sort of rap-like style with the chorus being more melodic. Lyrically I don't think it is as good as Used, but the melody of the chorus is really very nice. 4/5

Spitfall: This is personally my least favorite song on the album. Clearly a parody and criticism of rap, the lyrics are not great by Daniel Gildenl÷w's standards, and even though the song is presented as a parody of rap it's a little too close stylistically to the real thing for my taste. It has a decent chorus though. 3/5

Cribcaged: Ah, here we go. Excellent melody with, again, some very angry and biting lyrics. If vulgarity is not your thing you may want to avoid this one, otherwise one of the highlights of the album. 5/5

America: Easily the harshest song lyrically on the album. There really is no way to describe this song except as an attack. That said, I'm American and I'm not really offended because he attacks the things that, in my eyes at least, deserve attacking. Musically, this song is sort of an overly poppy track contrasted with some very heavy sections. Again, even though it is clearly a parody it's not quite stylistically in sync with the rest of the album. 3/5

Disco Queen: I think this is easily the most hated song that Pain of Salvation has ever released, but in my opinion it's really not that bad. The lyrics are very clever, using the playing of a vinyl record as a euphemism to describe a sexual encounter. Musically it is primarily a heavy sounding disco style, but it never becomes hard to listen to because of that. 4/5

Side B: Why Can't I Close My Eyes?

Kingdom of Loss: Beautiful. A very mellow, melodic track, it again has very harsh and critical lyrics. If you're not bothered by them than this is a great song. 5/5

Mrs. Modern Mother Mary: An incredibly sarcastic dig at religion. Again, if you can get past that, then it really is a wonderfully melodic and very powerful track. 5/5

Idiocracy: To my ears the beginning of this song could easily fit in on any of 3's albums. The ending switches to a very powerful motif that sounds more like more typical PoS, though. 4/5

Flame to the Moth: I really like the melody of this one and the lyrics are pretty strong. I don't really know what else to say about it. 4/5

Enter Rain: A very strong finale to the album. Some people have criticized it for being too simple, and while it is fairly simple, it's also very powerful and a very fitting end for the album. 5/5

Overall I think the album suffers from an inconsistent first half, but that it has an incredibly strong second half. Lyrically it is very angry and sarcastic, but I don't think that diminishes the album at all. Definitely not the place to start with PoS, but a very solid album overall.

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Posted Monday, August 02, 2010

Review by JJLehto
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Underrated Album

"Scarsick" gets a lot of flak from PoS fans, quite often to the point of ridicule. I liked this album on my first listen, and it's a different take on their prog metal sound. Not sure why the level of hatred, but I do know this: PoS produced four brilliant prog metal albums, but it's clear they are out to mix it up from now on. So if you are upset because this album sounds different, better get over it.

The title track starts the album with a largely mellow and spacey feel, punctuated with heavy bursts and periods of Daniel rapping. Yes. Fans of old PoS brace yourselves. "Spitfall" actually goes farther, with Daniel again rapping for much of the song, (laced with profanity) and this time backed up by some nu metal. Weird at first, but it works well enough. Maybe that's just because I used to listen to RATM back in the day. If you can tolerate it, these rap metal sections are contrasted with some normality.

Cribcaged is an intriguing song, musically really cool. Truly progressive and builds from light and melodic to a pounding climax. Gildenl'w gives us quite a juxtaposition, his vocals are quite nice while belting out amazingly profane lyrics blasting our materialist society. They quite literally follow a "f**k the (x)" and "f**k (y)" format. I do like the song for what it is, but it's hard to swallow.

"America" is my favorite song on the album and it could be right off one of their classic albums. A more traditional prog metal song with a really cool song structure, great texture, very upbeat and catchy. Don't be fooled, the song is a scathing critique of American Imperialism, government, foreign policy and culture. To each their own, and I honestly agree with most of it. Though the bit of America's time in the sun being up, soon to join the failed empires of past is not earth shattering and frankly, unnecessary. The almost happy pop feel to it has to be a more subtle shot at big money American culture I am sure. Regardless, this is an awesome and catchy song.

"Disco Queen" another song that on first listen makes you think "what the hell!?" but this is my next favorite on the album. A spacey song with sections of, well disco. It does build to an energetic metal climax though. Honestly, I like the song...it sounds like stupid fun and is certainly progressive! This is obviously satiric, poking fun of disco but also serves as a vehicle to the lyrics, a critique of useless celebrity life...so disco actually fits best.

"Kingdom of Loss" is another building song that really is quite moving. Again you can either revel in or ignore the blatant anti American lyrics. I'll choose the middle ground and say this is a powerful and pretty dark song.

"Mrs. Modern Mother Mary" is a weird song that doesn't do much for me. "Idiocracy" is another spacey, atmospheric and crescendo based song. Post metal feel in a way. Another grower. Another charged song, dealing with capitalism ruining the world, basically. "Flame to the Moth" is a boring song, so skip to the finale "Enter Rain" another journey of peaks and valleys. It's structure, light/heavy interplay and emotional delivery really is reminiscent of post metal. Another awesome and powerful song, that takes some time.

So there you have it. What to say about Scarsick? Keep an open mind. When you hear the nu metal rapping with childish lyrics, the happy pop, the disco don't scoff and decide to hate this album. Remember this is Daniel Gildenlow, don't take it on surface value! Dig deeper and realize these abnormalities are more tongue in cheek and used to aid the message. All this is fit within a prog metal framework, one that is truly progressive...with difficult song structures. While it may just seem like crap at first, this is really a very challenging album, one that took a few listens for it to really register for me. The lyrics are one mans opinion and not an issue for me, though they do wear thin, and border on immature and whiny. Frankly, sometimes it sounds like an angry 14 year old wrote them, and when Daniel asks us to keep the government from doing their horror and ruining the constitution, I'd ask how a 16 year old who can't vote should do that...but I digress. Not sure if Gildenlow was low on ideas and spun his tires a bit, but he clearly dug deep to a place of severe anger and it shows, this is an emotional and powerful album.

A unique prog metal album that is challenging, especially to fans of classical PoS. Give it some time and understand not to accept it all at face value and you will find this is a great album. Many seem to not get it, or don't even want to, but if you like prog metal and keep an open mind there's no reason this won't click eventually.

Four Stars

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Posted Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars When Pain of Salvation frontman Daniel Gildenl÷w does his best to sound like Mike Patton's style (circa Faith No More's Angel Dust) on Scarsick's title track, I suppose it's something to be applauded on one level. After all, it's always healthy for bands to experiment a little with their sound and make an effort not to stagnate, and certainly the album as a whole appeals to me a little bit more than the New Agey pap of BE, but on the other hand something feels a little "off" about it - as though the band don't sincerely buy into the darker direction of the piece and are simply going through the motions to earn some metal credibility and perhaps expand their fanbase. I'm no Pain of Salvation fan but I can see how people who are might find this album to be something of a disappointment.

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Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars Mixing up musical genres capturing a mixed up world.

Pain of Salvation's "Scarsick" showed a much more political side of the band that attacked the worldview and is a cynical look at the damage of consumerism, industrialisation, privatisation, McDonaldisation, and every other 'isation' you can think of. The lyrics attack and scratch out the eyes of the system that is suffocating and destroying the freedom. Every song takes a stab at various freedom destroyers from the money hungry manufacturing industry to the music industry itself. Daniel Gildenlow dominates the album on vocals and bass, and the guitar work on this is exceptional from Johan Halgreen along with Fredrik Hermansson's stirring keyboards and dramatic percussion by Johan Langell.

It begins with the indulgent title track stating that they are sick of everything. This is the most metal song on the album with a cool distorted riff and some heavy drumming. It features a rap style and Rammstein style interventions of riffs breaking it up. The lyrics are about surviving against the system that swallows up the underprivileged; "you're not alone, and every time that you hurt, every cut every scar and every time you just hate everything that you are, it is simply the instinct to flee to escape from this mess, this continuous rape of what's true and what's real, so you gnaw at your paw to get out of the trap of the cage of our time, all that rage is your struggle to survive, they think you wanna die when in truth you just strive, biting every hand just to stay alive." This is definitely the best song on the album and starts off the DVD live concert well also, the mix of rap and metal and a melodic chorus, mixing musical genres, works to capture the feeling of a mixed up world.

After this rocker, 'Spitfall' follows that is jammed full of fast paced rap and some weird signatures. I liked the way the keyboards work against the fast rap vocals such as "you're just another Parental Advisory bore, there's nothing like a broken childhood, there's nothing like a broken home, there's nothing like a tale from your hood, there's nothing like a record of restriction orders outspoken borderline disorders a violent long way to the top, the longer that you fought yourself up the longer the spitfall". There are heaps of lyrics on this due to the speed rap, but it is well executed and perhaps better than the average rap song, and has a lot of expletives thrown in too. Then 'Cribcaged' is next with too many F bombs for comfort and this is one I will always skip, as it has nothing to offer apart from just rage and spite and boring music.

They are sick of America and have no problems writing a scathing hate song to it called 'America'. I first heard this on the live DVD and I remember not being impressed with it then and this version is actually worse. It does have some nasty digs at the land of the free though such as, "if I say I love you dare you love me too". I am not sure how this song is taken in America itself but it is not one to play at the white house.

'Disco Queen' is a quirky piece of fun, with some digs at the music industry and homage to the vinyl years "Undressed in front of me, all glistening ebony, You're still so young, but I will show you vintage 33, I lay you on your back inviting curves of black, Making little noises as my needle finds your track". The disco music is humorous and a real diversion on the album, but it works as a result, standing out as unforgettable and maddeningly infectious. It effectively makes fun of the current music scene that is likened to prostitution.

'Kingdom of Loss' is a powerful track based on the abuse of fast food and increasing obesity. It has narratives sounding like a TV station selling the package and the lyrics attack the fast food market as a sold out Earth "Someone sells us god in 2-for-1 with shame, Someone sells us war and the marketing, looks just the same, Someone sells us fear on TV each day, A shape for every taste if the flavours right, we gladly pay, All on sale, all on sale, We're all on sale, all on sale"; a great thought provoking track.

'Mrs Modern Mother Mary' has a scratchy guitar rhythm and some odd time sigs that never quite go in sync with the singing. It is interesting but not one of my favourites. 'Idiocracy' has a crunching rhythm and grinds along with some high register vocals. The lyrics are anti political; "so close your eyes, just take another deep breath now, and fantasize, pretend the world we're forming is a paradise, why can't I close my eyes, why can't I just be hypnotized, industrialized and privatized, all mesmerized, 'cause I can see and what I see around me makes me paralyzed, yes I can see and what I see is not worthy a democracy."

'Flame to the Moth' is a heavier track, and yet another potshot at the industrial age, and this one has some screamo vocals along with Gildenlow's cleaner voice. The lyrics spell it out blatantly; "where did we go wrong? I once had blue eyes, hungry and wise, now they are black from this dark age of lies, we're all privatized, industrialized, we capitalize on the beams in our eyes, it's all in the eyes." The tempo is upbeat and really dominated by the incessant vocals.

'Enter Rain' is a longer song at just over 10 minutes, and has three parts that change in tempo and style. It begins with reflective lyrics and a low key approach. Then it builds gradually but remains steady and quite gentle in comparison to other tracks.

Overall, this is another diverse album from PoS with a variety of styles and some of their most attacking and vitriol lyrical content. The target is basically the world system and commercialism or consumer traps. This makes for an uneasy listen at times, not to the standard of previous material, but nonethess it is a captivating album. There is not a lot of heavy metal music on offer rather it is heavy by nature of the content and the brooding atmospheres. Not as good as "The Perfect Element" or "Remedy Lane" but a decent album worth a listen.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#783129) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, July 07, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars Why do people underestimate "Scarsick? " This is another great work of Pain of Salvation, though not at the level of the masterpieces that were "Remedy Lane" and "The Perfect Element pt.1 (Scarsick" being pt .2). The concept here is the character "He" ("The Perfect Element pt.1") in its fall t ... (read more)

Report this review (#403112) | Posted by voliveira | Friday, February 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Pain of Salvation can do better, and we all know it. I don't know what to think about this album, I don't know if it's bad because it's simply not good or maybe because the enormous hype this album attracted. After a line of masterpiece after masterpiece, Pain of Salvation recorded a "Black Sheep" ... (read more)

Report this review (#321252) | Posted by BlindGuard | Monday, November 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars How do I begin? Scarsick is the album that has split Pain of Salvation's fan base in half. Well, probably closer to 60% / 40% because it seems as though most people do not like this album very much. Me on the other hand; I love the album. Sure, not as much as their previous releases, but i ... (read more)

Report this review (#268868) | Posted by peart_lee_lifeson | Saturday, February 27, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Whilst I found this quite catchy after the first few listens, there are only a few songs I go back to now, those being Cribcaged and Kingdom if Loss and probably the rest of the album but only as much as one song (if that makes sense). The songs are based around criticising America and all it ... (read more)

Report this review (#255671) | Posted by praj912 | Friday, December 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Easily the most misinterpreted PoS album. So many people have come down hard on this album (i suspect after giving it very little chance). So at first listen, its a less complex, angrier and more modern metal sounding PoS, congratulations to all the critics who listened to it once and then po ... (read more)

Report this review (#239953) | Posted by Furby | Friday, September 18, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I am a huge fan of Pain of Salvation but this is not going me to stop me from burying this album under ten tones of sand. First of all, the firing of Kristoffer Gildenlow was at least naive because Daniel is not as talented in bass guitar as he is as a singer. Secondly, some very calm but not int ... (read more)

Report this review (#229389) | Posted by mel from hell | Saturday, August 01, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Thank god I don't actually Listen to people's reviews before I listen to an Album. Rather, I tend to listen to an album extensively before reading reviews. I guess I'm just curious as to what people are saying about a particular piece. In the case of Pain of Salvation's "Scarsick", i ... (read more)

Report this review (#219433) | Posted by -Radioswim- | Tuesday, June 02, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I found really desappointing every people that are shooting on this album... I don't know what is the problem with people that do not accept that maybe groups can evolve or simply change. Scarsick is totally more mature than every album made before, instead Be which was a really ambicious and ... (read more)

Report this review (#202246) | Posted by Gabzs | Tuesday, February 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I have really tried hard to like this album, I even defended it sometimes, but enough is enough. I think the important turning point was the last year's life performance, when they played in the encore the title track and Disco Queen. And to be frank this quite ruined the experience, because t ... (read more)

Report this review (#201137) | Posted by Norbert | Friday, January 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Scarsick... a highly underrated album. While Scarsick is my least favorite PoS album thus far, it is by no means bad. The band continues to blur the line seperating different genres and has made something that's different from everything they've done before it. This is easily the least progressi ... (read more)

Report this review (#181726) | Posted by Cool Top | Thursday, September 04, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Very Frightening indeed, and down to the core as Gildenl÷w said. I seem to have very similar opinion to Cristi on this album, sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes I haven't got the nerve for it. In style, there is much less Pain of Salvation, and many other, Alternative styles combined like punk, rap, ... (read more)

Report this review (#180537) | Posted by klvin | Friday, August 22, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Likely to be the last album I ever pre-order, Scarsick taught me a valuable lesson. Not known for consistency, PoS went way off the deep end with this one. A stinker and then some, Scarsick is PoS living up to its acronym. Scarsick -- SICK! I FEEL SO SICK! OF THIS SONG! Far too many squeaks and ... (read more)

Report this review (#172890) | Posted by Gamemako | Monday, June 02, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I've always had mixed feelings for this album; sometimes i enjoy it, sometimes i find it unlistenable. I listened to it today and it was one of those "enjoying the album" days. The album is not bad but compared with their previous works that i have listened, I find it less inspired; th ... (read more)

Report this review (#153054) | Posted by Cristi | Wednesday, November 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 4,5 stars, in truth. this has been the first work of the POS that I have listened, and I have appreciated it immediately and, also after to have listened to the others albums, this remains my favourite one. I cannot give 5 stars like to Remedy Lane because it is not completely prog and because ... (read more)

Report this review (#133706) | Posted by Tokamak | Sunday, August 19, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars so, here we have one of PA's heavy mainstays, Pain of Salvation, and their latest album, entitled "Scarsick." On paper, it works. You take one of prog's most eloquent lyricists and have him write a vitriolic rant about the ills of modern America (and other parts of the world to a lesser extent) ... (read more)

Report this review (#133161) | Posted by heyitsthatguy | Wednesday, August 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars What happened? I understand for a band's need for progression in their music, but I do not understand this musical devolution. Any trademark you've come to love from the band, any previous technique they employed, any of their sophistication has been thrown to the hounds. Pain Of Salvation h ... (read more)

Report this review (#130421) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Friday, July 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Scarsick is an incredibly tough album to rate. It is so different from what Pain of Salvation has done for years--symphonic progressive metal. On their past three albums--The Perfect Element Part 1, Remedy Lane, and BE--Pain of Salvation would refine their music until it ebbed and flowed with peak ... (read more)

Report this review (#129731) | Posted by stonebeard | Saturday, July 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars DISSAPOINTING I have always believed that bands should try new things in each release while they don┤t lose their style or essence; that evolution is a natural thing in most of the subjects in life, that would be kind of boring that something stays exactly the same all the time. But in this ca ... (read more)

Report this review (#127517) | Posted by FranMuzak | Wednesday, July 04, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think the main problem is that Scarsick shouldn't be considered as it is itself, but concept- bound and transitional. I think that what Daniel was trying to do is tieing this second part of TPE to both the previous one, and to its own specific themes. If the character has to denounce somethin ... (read more)

Report this review (#125759) | Posted by Behemoth | Thursday, June 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Strong and individual... I think that this album has been misunderstood by most of listeners. Wen you listen to PoS you must have a very open mind, but when you listen Scarsick, you must have a VERY VERY open mind... I can guarantee that if you listen this album like that, you'll find it reall ... (read more)

Report this review (#124808) | Posted by AlexUC | Wednesday, June 06, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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