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Pain Of Salvation - 12:5 CD (album) cover


Pain Of Salvation


Progressive Metal

4.41 | 304 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I've got to say beforehand that usually I can't get crazy about unplugged concerts or records but when I listened to this one the first time it was immediately highly appealing to me (admittedly as a quite huge fan of this band). And indeed this acoustic session recorded during a gig in front of a selected audience of 80 listeners in their hometown Eskilstuna on May 12th 2003 (hence the cryptic album title, now the riddle is resolved!) sounds much different and much more lively and dynamic than similar ones by other bands. But on the other hand everybody knowing and appreciating the talents of these musicians has to admit as well that it's nothing extraordinary for THEIR standards and just a very good effort, nothing more and nothing less. Hope you know what I mean - speaking just for myself for example, I was quite certain about the fact that these guys know how to play and they're doing it very well and can manage as well without using amplifiers. Okay they might not be technical wizards like let's say Petrucci, Satriani or Rudess, but which music lover cares for that. I don't like to put down this album at all but I just have the impression that generally it's rather slightly overestimated (like all of their albums between OHBTCL and BE, but that's just my very own opinion). Let's be realistic and honest and see it as it is. PoS played their most accessible songs live on an acoustic set consisting of guitar, bass, cello, piano and harpsichord and decided later on to make an album out of these recordings. According to their tradition of having always concepts for their albums and subdividing them into three chapters like a book they carried this on here and finally found this "concept" presented here (which can't be called a real one, since it came obviously after the music).

Five (or actually only four) of the (admittedly well re-arranged) songs had been given the name "Brickwork Part I" with roman letters from I to V and comprising the first book called "Genesis". This one is opening with "I" which is actually a largely extended and slightly odd version of "Leaving Entropia" from their debut sounding here almost less acoustic than on its original version due to the use of keyboard and background choirs as well as Daniel's quite free vocal style applied here. As much as I love his vocals usually, I've got to say that the rather kinda rhythm & blues vocals used on this record here are at times going a bit over the top (at least for me, who usually can't enjoy that much R&B music). The following tracks are presented as a kind of medley. "II" is a shortened version of "This Heart Of Mine", one of my least favourites from "Remedy Lane" because I consider this one rather a pleasant pop-rock ballad than related to Prog in any sense. "III" is "Song for the innocent" from TPE Pt.1, again a shortened version with more keyboards and more rhythmic guitar than the original. Like with "This Heart Of Mine" already again the best parts of this song are ablated I've to say. "IV" is a short excerpt from "Her Voices" (TPE Pt.1) with edited lyrics. Again I prefer the original much more. Same goes for "V" which is even a shorter instrumental excerpt from "Idioglossia" again from TPE Pt.1. Would have been really great to hear how they're playing the complete track acoustically.

First three tracks of 2nd book "Genesister" (should mean "sister of creation"??) "Winning a War" (Entropia), "Reconciliation" (TPE Pt.1) and "Dryad of the Woods" (Remedy Lane) are sounding not that much different from the originals whereas "Oblivion Ocean" (Entropia) comes quite modified and improvised here, very interesting version anyway. "Undertow" (Remedy Lane) loses here a lot from its atmosphere I've got to say, once again the original album version is much more appealing to me. "Chainsling" (Remedy Lane) is one of the few exceptions where I find the acoustic version presented here at least as good as the original one. The lead vocal job has been shared here between Kristoffer Gildenl÷w and Johan Hallgren and especially due to the rough vocals by the latter one a lot of heaviness of the original version has been well transposed into the acoustic one. This one is (according to my strange taste) the real (only?) highlight of this disc and in my humble opinion this record would have become much better if they would have taken the challenge to include more of their heavier songs.

Book 3, called "Brickwork Pt.2" or "Genesinister" (should mean something like the "evil creature"??) somehow continues where the first part ended, that means with short instrumental parts from "Idioglossia" and "Her Voices". "VIII" is more or less the original version of "Second Love", another one from "Remedy Lane" that I rather consider a flaw on this album. Those type of love ballads ain't just not "my cup of tea" and it's a kinda ear whig, somehow really beautiful and pleasant but I hate it, when some simplistic songs like this one keep sticking in my mind. "IX" is a R&B-version of "Ashes" (TPE Pt.1) which can't fascinate me neither and it's just revealing how simple this song originally is. This one segues into "X" which is a final jam session.

As a summary I can say, that "12:5" is by far not a bad album at all, but neither extraordinary. It's comprised mainly of their softer tracks or ballads anyway, admittedly well presented and packaged in an appealing garment, but I couldn't recommend it as an essential or excellent one. Anyway it's an enjoyable acoustic record to run in the back and I've to say I've had a hard time to analyse it that carefully to come to the final conclusion that there's an album by PoS which is "only" worth 3 stars.

hdfisch | 3/5 |


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