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Pain Of Salvation - Scarsick CD (album) cover


Pain Of Salvation


Progressive Metal

3.18 | 580 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
1 stars Pain of Salvation has established themselves as one of the most innovative and consistent groups in progressive metal. Widely regarded as such, the band bears the burden of expectation. Though their fans know they don't make two of the same album, they had no idea that 2004's Be would be what it was. It was the most difficult and incomprehensible album prog-metal had quite possibly ever heard, at least at the highest tier of fame in the genre. Taken with a widespread of feelings and views, it's hard to tell whether or not it was successful. Many listeners stuck with it long enough for it to click, and that patience should have rewarded them possibly more than any of the group's releases yet. Be, though controversial and/or too pretentious in concept, was a masterpiece in a different way than Pain of Salvation listeners have accustomed themselves too. But after such an album, where was the band going next? Regardless of what fans thought of their previous album, they were all expecting something great. There was even talk of the next album being The Perfect Element, 2 "in diguise." Word of a song on the album titled "Kingdom of Loss" would only support that notion. This got fans even more excited. And all of the suspense led up to the moment that the files leaked. A lot of fans were adamant about saving every second of it for when the album was released, but when everyone who caved came back with empitness and dissatisfaction, many of the hyped-up fans got worried, and had to listen to the leak themselves before they would have liked to listen.

If anyone thought Be was controversial, Scarsick will make you forget about it, for it has one-upped it. The entire album is rage-stricken and is filled with finger-pointing and bashing of people and places (particularly America). In the album you will hear Daniel slamming the government, the industry, and the people of America. The man refuses to even set foot in the country. It will be a real turn off for many, and it's not like everything he says is truth; his perspectives are very sharp and sometimes way over the top. At the same time, the album isn't totally devoid of truth. He does make a few good points. Lyrics aside, though, what everyone is even more concerned about, how is the music?

If anyone thought the concept and lyrics of the album were a turn off, the music will only further confuse or drive you away. The music is incoherent, and just plain weak. Before, each album had certain sounds and tones throughout the album, but this album is all over the place. We have rapping, pop-rock, and even a disco song. It seems like Daniel was too angry and preoccupied with his lyrics too spend time writing worthwhile music. The songs lack the usual highly technical, highly melodic, highly enjoyable, powerful, and just plain awesome qualities we grew to love. There are barely any guitar solos either. Sure, there are a few memorable melodies, riffs, odd times, and moments to enjoy, but they are so few and far apart. Only one song is under five minutes, but the songs don't seem to house enough ideas for the lengths that they occupy. Upon listening to the opening track, the title track, one would wonder how what they just listened to was over seven minutes long. They may muse on songs like "Used" that were in the same vein, but did so much more, literally and intrinsically, in less time. The next two songs are on both ends of the spectrum: one is a rap-metal song, the other a ballad, but both are still riding the same rage. You can tell by his constant use of the f-word in a segment of each song. "Cribcaged" could have even been a decent song without it, albeit still not at their level, but the foul language serves as a deterrent. Some may argue that it gets the point across, and it does, but it is not a point I care to hear. Next we have the most obvious bash of America over a goofy pop sound. "Disco Queen" is actually not bad. At first you'll raise an eyebrow and wonder what on earth you're hearing, but it's going to turn out to be the album's novelty track that you can have much fun with. Other than that, the only other saving grace on this album is "Kingdom of Loss," and it better have been bearing such a name. It will send chills down you spine by the end. From there until the end, you'll notice they start sounding more like themselves again, though functioning and a lesser level than they are. After boring you with the following track, "Idiocracy," "Flame to the Moth" and "Enter Rain" are decent, but they could have done so much more with them. Especially the last track. It's just over 10-minutes long, but it seems like nothing really ever happens.

I never thought I'd actually say this, but Pain of Salvation have failed to perform this time around. I've given it multiple listens, and my opinions haven't really changed since the first listen. I may tag on an extra half-star at this point because there are a few things to enjoy here, but so much more is to be had from their other albums, that this one doesn't really have a place in many collections. It may be worth two stars, but because of the dreaded expectations and me being subjective and comparing it to the brilliance they have dazzled us with before, it's only for completionists.

Moatilliatta | 1/5 |


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