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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 Ecological Concept Album Showcases Genius at his Creative Best

One Hour by the Concrete Lake is one of my favorite Pain of Salvation albums. (Unlike most fans I prefer the two before TPE to the two after by quite a margin.) The story behind this one concerns a weapons manufacturer who travels the world, seeing the impact of mankind (and his weapons) upon the environment. This climaxes in his visit to the concrete lake, a body of water in Russia so polluted that one hour at its shore is enough to cause fatal radiation poisoning. I realize that I'm a sucker for the subject matter, but I think it's more focused than perhaps any of Gildenlow's storylines. While certainly ambitious, the story doesn't over-reach as DG is prone to do, and the intensity of the music matches the theme quite well.

More importantly, the music is just great. Contrast of light and dark, low harmonies, odd time signatures, a variety of vocal tonalities, all the things we love about Pain of Salvation are here on full display. The riffs really rock, the solos are strong, and the melodic lines are interesting. "Black Hills" is a prog metal masterwork, and throughout the album there are moments that make me want to say "Now that's what I'm talking about!!!" Other highlights include "Shore Serenity," "Water," and in typical fashion Gildenlow gives us a grand exit with "Inside Out."

My only complaint with the album is that some of the instrumental tones, especially the drums, sound a bit low budget. There are some bass drum beats that sound triggered or programmed (and a bit cheesy), and the guitar tone can get a little fuzzier than is my taste. But unlike Remedy Lane where the tone problems distract me from enjoying the music, here it's more of a minor detail that I'd improve if given the chance, no more. At the same time, some of the tones are perfectly chosen, and there are some sonically overwhelming sections that sound perfect.

This is, in my opinion, PoS 2nd best album, and I am tempted to give it a masterpiece rating. I heartily disagree with those (including Gildenlow himself) that put Concrete Lake at the bottom of the PoS discography. And yet, in the context of the bands full work, there is clearly some growth and improvement yet to come. But I think it's a must for prog metal fans, certainly excellent.

Negoba | 4/5 |


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