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Pain Of Salvation - One Hour By The Concrete Lake CD (album) cover


Pain Of Salvation


Progressive Metal

3.92 | 548 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Following the awkward release of their debut, Entropia, Pain of Salvation here fully embrace the slew of prog metal cliches in favor of a sleeker, more mature, but ultimately much less interesting musical endeavor.

On the whole, really, there is not that much to One Hour by the Concrete Lake (well, overbearing concept aside). At the time of this review, it is the second lowest-rated album by the band, short only of Scarsick, which I find to have a lot more character than this one. At least they took some chances on that one. Here, however, it's very much prog metal by the numbers. The funky bass lines are mostly toned down, the keyboard sound choices are still just as unfortunate, the depth of the production is still fairly shallow, and the quirks that make the previous one awkward but at least interesting only appear at a couple moments here. In the end, really, what we have with this one is a release least representative of the band's music, spirit, or intent.

It opens with a filler intro, which leads to one of the better songs here, Inside. While a mostly typical prog metal sort of piece with a touch of the Patton-esque semi-spoken vocal lines, it still rings fresh enough to not guarantee disappointment early on. The Big Machine is my personal favorite off One Hour, though I can understand why many don't like it. The first half is mostly throwaway. However, in the latter half we have Daniel really stretching his vocal chops, and that's one of the things to love about the band. On its tail comes New Year's Eve, a very straight-up prog piece with a strange time signature, prominent bass, and forgettable melodies. Handful of Nothing sounds like a stilted piece, but then you realize what the rhythm is doing: losing one beat per measure. A clever idea, and not too bad, if it weren't for the fact that the rest of the song does not quite keep up with the ingenuity of the proggy main guitar lines.

Water, Home, and Black Hills all form what seems to me a trilogy of average to slightly below average songs, as they all blend together not just in the space between tracks but in my memory after many, many listens. Standard prog metal they all are, with a few moments of good vocals and probably the silliest vocal line I've ever heard (and I hardly ever pay attention to lyrics): "And we flush, and we flush, and weeeeeeeeeee FLUSH." The rhyme scheme here still makes me so happy inside. The next two tracks are the second highlight of the album for me (Pilgrim and Shore Serenity). Pilgrim is based around a very passionate vocal solo performance by Gildenlow. Shore Serenity is a very convoluted rhythm pattern with regrettable keyboard sounds once more but a fantastic finish. And then the last song occurs, Inside Out (when it features the bonus track as part of it, it appears as being almost 14 minutes long). Rapid-fire piano tinkles above a chugging riff, but in the end, there's not much to recommend it either.

Pain of Salvation has done plenty of weird things and made plenty of mistakes, but I think this one is their biggest, because One Hour by the Concrete Lake is the album where they went for the safer prog metal route rather than tried something new like they do on all their others. Go for any other studio album of theirs rather than this one, even the critically maligned Scarsick.

LiquidEternity | 2/5 |


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