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Pain Of Salvation - Road Salt One CD (album) cover

ROAD SALT ONE

Pain Of Salvation

 

Progressive Metal

3.33 | 478 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nº 270

As many of we know, Pain Of Salvation is a Swedish progressive rock metal band led by Daniel Gildenlow who is the band's main songwriter, lyricist, guitarist and vocalist. Pain Of Salvation's sound is characterised by a riff oriented guitar work, a broad vocal range, oscillations between calm and heavy musical passages, syncopation with a great variety of rhythms and polyrhythms with the simultaneous use of two or more conflicting rhythms. Thus far, every studio albums released by the band has been conceptual albums. The concepts of their albums tends to addresses contemporary issues, such as sexuality, war, the environment, the humanity, the philosophy concept of existence and the nature of the concept of the existence of God. So, as we can see, Pain Of Salvation is a very special band, really.

"Road Salt One", which is the seventh studio album of Pain Of Salvation and that was released in 2010, follow the same musical patterns. However, while this is one more conceptual album, as happened with all Pain Of Salvation's albums, till now, the album is no more a song oriented album with its streamlined in its production values, but a bit different.

Daniel Gildenlow has described the album, in interviews, as sounding more "jam oriented" with tracks that sounds like more they have been recorded live in a rehearsal room. He indicated that the intent of the album was to go back to letting the song be the focal point by having the album feature just us touching our hearts. He also described the concept of "Road Salt One" having been made about many parallel stories and that it also can be compared to the movie "Magnolia". "Magnolia" is an American film drama, written, produced and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, in 1999. The movie is a mosaic of interrelated characters in search of happiness, forgiveness and the meaning of life.

"Road Salt One" is a rather curious album. I sincerely confess that I'd never heard a progressive metal band attempt to fuse the blues into their sound. This is maybe because blues aren simply not progressive enough, or to put it in other way, they aren't complex enough to be part of this genre of progressive rock music. Granting that anything was bound to surpass the band's previous musical adventures into the progressive metal sub-genre, you still couldn't fault them for actually stretching out beyond their established sound. At least, I think it was the intention of Pain Of Salvation.

However, this album shows a heavy influence from not just the blues but also from other similar genres like roots rock, gospel and choir music. Still, anyone who actually detracts Pain Of Salvation to be a pure metal progressive band, should remember they never really were totally evocative of the progressive metal, anyway. Even during the band's heyday, which probably ended with "Remedy Lane", the band showed they were much more than a simple progressive metal band. We mustn't forget that Daniel always sustained that Pain Of Salvation was a very different band. So, this is definitely a Pain Of Salvation's album. But, it's nowhere as harsh as "Scarsick". Quite the opposite, it's mellow. "Scarsick" took me a while to get used to. But in a way, it's also the weak spot of this album. You might just skim over it and leave it at that. At times it sounds as the slow and dark parts of "Be". But you must admit, it isn't a bad thing, really.

"Road Salt One" has twelve or thirteen tracks if we have the standard edition or the limited digipack edition, which is my version. The concept of the music and lyrics were made by Daniel Gildenlow. This is the first album from the band to feature the French Léo Margarit on drums. He substituted Johan Langell, the former drummer of the group. He left the band after the end of the live tour of "Scarsick" due to family commitments. So, the line up on the album is Daniel Gildenlow (lead vocals and backing vocals, electric, acoustic and fretless guitars, bass guitar, organs, piano, mandolin, lute, balalaika, keyboards and drums), Johan Hallgren (backing vocals and electric guitars), Fredrik Hermansson (electric and acoustic pianos, organs, mellotron and keyboards) and Léo Margarit (backing vocals and drums).

Conclusion: If you expected this album in the same vein of the "Linoleum" EP, you were right. If you expected this album in the same vein of "Scarsick", you were wrong. There's no doubt that Pain Of Salvation continues to follow their own path and continues to surprise us. With the "Road Salt" musical project they continued to prove, without no doubt, that they're a very different and special band. "Road Salt One" represents the first part of this conceptual project. It's an album with some great songs and the others are all good too. With this album we go on a trip all the way back to the 70's rock. When I heard the sound of Iron Butterfly, Jimmy Hendrix, Blue Oyster Cult and specially Led Zeppelin, I can see depth in music expressed with surprisingly simple retro lyrics. However, "Road Salt One" is far more diverse than that. "Road Salt One" is, in reality, an album more diverse than it seems. There's certainly a grower on the album. The more you heard it, the more you like it. As I wrote before, when I reviewed "Scarsick", the same happened with it. Personally, I prefer side B to Side A, which I think be more cohesive. My favourite songs are "Sisters", "Linoleum" and "Innocence". Despite I consider "Road Salt One" the weakest of all their albums it remains to me a good album too.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |

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