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


Pain Of Salvation


Progressive Metal

3.92 | 549 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 110

"One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is the second studio album of Pain Of Salvation and was released in 1999. It's the first album from the band to feature Johan Hallgren on guitar. He substituted Daniel Magdic, their former guitarist. The line up on the album is Daniel Gildenlow (lead vocals and guitar), Johan Hallgren (vocals and guitar), Fredrik Hermansson (keyboards and samplers), Kristoffer Gildenlow (vocals and bass) and Johan Langell (vocals, drums and percussion).

"One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is perhaps the heaviest and darkest album of Pain Of Salvation. Creativity isn't the best way to describe this album. It's completely unique and leaves the listener never knowing what is coming next.

This is a conceptual album focused on the issues of nuclear power and waste, displacement of indigenous peoples, the firearm industry and human discovery. The story is about a disillusioned man that works in the weapons industry and that begins to bring the morals and ethics of his occupation into question, falling into doubt about what it really is that he is doing from day to day with Big Machine. Will his actions are actually harmful? So, on New Year's Eve when he backs home, he makes the resolution of to discover just what effects his apparently harmless actions are having on the world in general. He sets off on a journey around the world, visiting far reaching places and becoming witness to terrible acts that go against everything he was once told and he believes. Civilizations ripped apart by war, lands left barren by environmental devastation, careless water consumption and much more things. In the last step of his journey, he arrives at a desolate shores of Lake Karachay, a place in the former Soviet Union that was used to store nuclear waste for more than forty years and that was eventually covered by concrete to dampen the incredible amount of radiation that was present. Unfortunately, the concrete began to split open after several years. A person would only need to stand on the shore of the lake for a single hour before the radiation exposure would reach such high levels that the person would die from physical injuries, in approximately two weeks. Horrified by his discoveries, the man returns to his home. Considering his situation, he realizes that he will never truly be able to distance himself from the Big Machine, because it's his home and because the world is just a giant labyrinth of machines within more machines. Instead, he begins to understand that a machine is only made up of its wheels and he is nothing more than a wheel inside of other wheels. He decides to stay inside of his chosen machine in an attempt to change its direction.

Musically, "One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is very deep and intricate, as usual on all Pain Of Salvation's albums. The song structures are very well written and nothing is very repetitive on it. The songs usually go to very powerful to suddenly very soft, which is usual too. Pain Of Salvation has really some brilliant musicians. First of all, we have Daniel's vocal range and his emotional singing. He goes from the softest and low most emotional vocals to the most aggressive. Actually, four or five band's members sing which you will notice most of the time. There are a lot of vocal parts with subtle instrumentals. The guitars are powerful and beautiful at the same time and have some great riffs and complex solos. The keyboards are one of the most important things here, which are used very often, and the little piano parts make the album very enjoyable to listen. At the heavy parts, they're usually in the background, and while they might not stand out to much, the songs would sound empty if they weren't there, as if there was something missing. One of the best things about this album is how well all the instruments flow together, and all the band members play integral roles in the construction of each song, making of the album a whole. This is really a great album, indeed.

Conclusion: "One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is considered the weakest of all Pain Of Salvation's first five studio albums. It also seems to be the less favourite studio album from the band to Daniel Gildenlow. Sincerely, I'm not sure if it's true. For me, despite being less good than "The Perfect Element Part 1" and "Remedy Lane", is perfectly at the same level of "Entropia" and, in my humble opinion, is even perhaps better than "Be". The song structures are very well written and nothing is ever repetitive. The songs usually go to the very powerful to suddenly very soft sounds. They flow into each other and sometimes if you just listening to a single song by itself it will sounds very incomplete. "One Hour By The Concrete Lake" is an hour very well spent. It's impossible to listen to this album only once and be able to get its full effect. It must be heard again and again. You also need to read the lyrics, and then read them again, from the first track to the last. The album is an incredible display of all the musical influences that this band uses in their compositions. It filled with everything from classic metal hooks, to progressive metal complexity, to the warmth of the Spanish flamenco. It takes you on a journey through time and space, a journey you really never want to forget.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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