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Pain Of Salvation - Scarsick CD (album) cover


Pain Of Salvation


Progressive Metal

3.22 | 648 ratings

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2 stars so, here we have one of PA's heavy mainstays, Pain of Salvation, and their latest album, entitled "Scarsick." On paper, it works.

You take one of prog's most eloquent lyricists and have him write a vitriolic rant about the ills of modern America (and other parts of the world to a lesser extent). And to boot, it turns out to be a sequel to their highly acclaimed album, "The Perfect Element 1". In the album, Gildenlow uses different styles of music to convey the message of the song, ie rap for rap, disco for disco/sleaziness etc. Should be a masterpiece, no? Very very no. So much so that the previous sentence had to be grammatically incorrect in order to convey just how wrong this notion was.

There are several problems with this album but two glaring ones. Firstly, the lyrics. It would seem that Mr. Gildenlow didn't know exactly what he wanted to say specifically, perhaps from too much to say, and the result is having the lyrics come out very amatureish, crude, and blunt. I believe this is the first PoS album to feature a "parental advisory" sticker on it.

Secondly, the music itself doesn't hold its own very well. Not only are the lyrics very basic by Gildenlow's standards, they also manage to hijack the music itself, and the album suffers even more as a result. "Disco Queen" turns out to be quite comical in lieu of this (probably what Gildenlow intended) but at 8 minutes, it tends to wear itself very thin very quickly. Now, for a song by song breakdown, though I don't think I can rate most of these as the result might be pretty ugly.

Scarsick- Nothing seems amiss from the start, when the song explodes into a driving guitar riff. However, the song itself degenerates quickly and starts to sound like run of the mill rap/alt metal. I'm relatively used to Gildenlow's rapping, but throughout this album he really pushes it with it.

Spitfall- this song sounds like a Linkin Park outtake. No joke. His rapping sounds the most....rap-like ever, if that makes any sense.The song itself is very basic, but it does manage to have a semi-decent chorus. Again, the lyrics are some of the most laughable he's ever produced, which is sad because the message is strong but the delivery is weak, a recurring problem on this album.

Cribcaged- The first track I will actually deem fit for a rating on the album, this song manages to be OK. Sadly, not much more than OK. The lyrics are again quite blunt (eg f**k the homies, f**k blah blah etc.). However, the music on this track manages to be listenable to typical prog ears (as opposed to the previous two). 6.6/10

America- the cracks in the dam that were beginning to show with Spitfall (and you thought were almost patched up with Cribcaged) give way and the gushing current of "what the hell is he thinking" comes bursting through. Everything about this song screams "trying too hard". The lyrics sound almost as immature as the lyrics on Green Day's "American Idiot" (and if you've looked at those closely you know this is a dire situation we have here) and the song manages to be one of their weakest recordings ever. This was Gildenlow's first attempt at humor on this album, and people are laughing, but not necessarily for the reasons he intended. I didn't want to rate this but this song is too bad. .5/10 (.5 for the little country break in the middle that lasts for half a second)

Disco Queen- Probably the most famous track on the album, or rather infamous. Somewhere in the mess of trying to figure out how to organize his ideas into a coherent fashion, Gildenlow seems to have in a confused state decided that he should make the centerpiece of the album an 8 minute DISCO track(mixed with some metal). The result is comical, there is no other way to put it. For once, however, people are laughing at what is intended to be funny, but at the same time, as I mentioned before, this track is 8 minutes long, which by the end turns into beating a dead horse.

Kingdom of Loss- another letdown (and reference to the track of a similar name on TPE1) of a track in that it's not exactly terrible, but boring. One thing I noticed throughout the album is that none of the members get a chance to really shine. No emotionally charged solos from Johan, barely any noticeable keyboard work from Fredrik, and so on. It also drags a bit, but some parts ("welcome to planet earth") wind up being decent. 6.7/10

Mrs. Modern Mother Mary- A Meshuggah like rhythm repeats throughout but never really shows variation throughout the piece. At least this one's shorter than the other tracks. 5/10

Idiocracy- At this point I've given up on mentioning the lyrics because they get very repetitive throughout and never really mature. This song winds up being better than some of the tracks, but still mediocre by PoS standards. 5/10

Flame to the Moth- First song on the WHOLE ALBUM that I would consider "decent", this song shows some variation, and hints at the fact that someone actually sat down and thought out writing this. The only thing that detracts from it is Gildenlow's screaming, which doesn't entirely sound out of place but comes very, very close. 7/10

Enter Rain- This song somewhat helped restore my faith that Gildenlow and crew could potentially pull themselves out of a hole with their next album.They've always known how to end their albums strong, and though this isn't exactly one of the top songs in their catalogue, it comparatively is the strongest on the album. 8/10

To be crass, since this album felt halfassed, I'm only giving it half the potential rating (2.5) which in this case goes to a 2. And I think I'm being quite

generous with that rating, only because not EVERY song is a complete failure, and because from enjoying their past works, I'm giving PoS the benefit of

the doubt that they know something about this record that I don't.

For collectors or fans only, try TPE1 or BE to hear some far better work from these guys

heyitsthatguy | 2/5 |


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