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


Pain Of Salvation


Progressive Metal

3.33 | 478 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team
4 stars Redemption

Sub-genre: Progressive Metal (little in the way of metal in this offering)
For Fans of: Subtly complex 1970's blues
Vocal Style: Soulfull Gildenlow at his best.
Guitar Style: Bluesy with occasional metal bursts
Keyboard Style: Little in the way of synthesizer sound. Lots of piano, overdriven Rhodes and Hammond sounds.
Percussion Style: Classic Rock set, other classic rock percussion like tambourine. Tympani in one song.
Bass Style: Picked electric rock. Some of the bass sounds seem to be more generated from the keys.
Other Instruments: none
You are not likely to enjoy this album if: you are a "hi-fideliphile" with little tolerance for "muddy" sound.

Summary: It took me a long time to forgive Pain of Salvation for the travesty that was Scarsick. The band's pinnacle, Be, was followed by a release that collapsed into a train wreck of punitive cynicism, wrapped in a package of mundane music. So disappointed with the album was I that I allowed Road Salt One to be out for nearly a year before even trying a sample. Even after the first few tidbits I remained skeptical. But something about the sound held my interest. When I finally listened all the way through, Road Salt One was a very pleasant surprise. With subsequent listens I found the album growing on me. In evaluating why this is, it comes to mind that there are two fundamental reasons: the heretofore only lightly explored blues genre, and for some reason, the frequently belabored sound quality.

For the most part, the music is best described as seventies blues rock. However, don't be fooled by the implied simplicity. The hooks and rhythms of standard one ? four ? five blues are there, but the little progressive tags or stealthily abundant. Aside from the soulful vocals of Daniel Gildenlow, the overall style has no match within the band's discography. There is some variations, including the song Sleep Under The Stars, in which Gildenlow sounds much like Nils from Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. From start to finish, the texture is one of melancholy. This quality can be attributed as well to the recording.

Within the sound, the recording quality, lies insight into the listeners own ability to hear beyond the sound. While it may seem gimmicky, the superficial lack of polish allows for keener awareness of subtle nuance and complexity. It is interesting that this album would come along at a time that my own listening has expanded into the realm of low fidelity recordings from the 1920s through the 1950s. The likes of Tommy Dorsey, Raymond Scott, and Marlene Dietrich did not have the benefit of ultra-low-noise recording and digital post-processing, but it would be rather sophomoric to marginalize the artistic merit of their performances due to sound quality. One could even add that the sound lends to the character of the music, as it does in Road Salt One.

Final Score: this is a good album. It is not for everybody, but most progressive rock fans would find something to enjoy here. Progressive Metal purists? Not so much. But for all intents and purposes, Pain of Salvation is being progressive in the purest sense of the word. For my own ranking of Pain of Salvation's albums, I enjoy it more than Remedy Lane(now 4th favorite), but not as much as One Hour By The Concrete Lake(2nd favorite). And it's a significant redemption coming back from the worst album in their library. I have no trouble giving this album four out of five stars.

Tapfret | 4/5 |


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