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

ROAD SALT ONE

Pain Of Salvation

Progressive Metal


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5 stars I'm very glad, that Pain of Salvation once again made "not what their fans want" album. So, without trying to make an album that will sound like their old stuff, this band made something really creative. "Road Salt" influenced by hard-rock, blues, psychedelic rock. No metal at all. Active using of such keyboard instruments like hammond, mellotron and moog adds more seventieths feeling into music. But, despite style changes, it feels that music created in the way that only this Swedish band can do. Every song is a masterpiece on "Road Salt", but here is real gems, like: Sisters, Sleeping Under Stars, Road Salt. A+ -songs: Sisters, Sleeping Under Stars, Road Salt A -songs: She Likes To Hide, Of Dust, Curiosity, Where It Hurts, Innocence B -songs: No Way, Tell Me You Don't Know, Darkness Of Mine, Linoleum
Report this review (#281282)
Posted Tuesday, May 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Pain of Salvation have now managed to stray as far away from Progressive Metal as seemingly possible... and into some poor American Rock band, with a few progressive tendencies thrown in here and there.

Gildenlöw's voice is still as impressive as ever, but it almost seems as though Hallgren (guitar) seems to constantly want to be poor version of Hendrix throughout various songs. Repetitive riffs throughout songs all being varying between 2-5 minutes - but the sluggish pace of album makes the 52 minute runtime seem a whole lot longer.

All I can put it down to is the entire band possibly having creative differences, and all wanting to add their own 'thing' to the band. The result is a mish-mash of different genres and a frustratingly dull album

The opening song 'No Way' is actually quite an okay song, not wonderful, but it could definitely be a B-side on their 'The Perfect Element I' album (my personal favourite), but then you have a whole 5 more songs to hear the next remotely prog song, however, it's not progressive metal, but something you'd hear on a Mr. Bungle album.

Then we move onto 'Darkness of mine', by now I can feel my eyes blinking slower and slower as each agonizing second passes by. The rest of the songs troddle on, and we have to wait until half way through the final track before hearing something Progressive Metal sounding, before it winds back down to the albums consistently boring pace.

This is by far their weakest attempt yet in my opinion, and it's unfortunate because I thought they'd possibly 'do a Dream Theater', work out what their fans want and bring out a very decent album. However, it unfortunately seems to be the opposite.

Report this review (#281639)
Posted Wednesday, May 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars PoS is one of my favourite bands. This album show that yet again this great bunch of musicians know how to surprise their crowd, with yet another twist in their musical range. This one is definitely less metal than Scarsick. Some would say this Road Salt One is 'experimental'. "Sleeping Under the stars" - a highly enjoyable song - is a bit avant-garde for example. "Of Dust", "Sisters", "Where it Hurts" (beautiful vocals) and "Innocence" are the best song in my opinion. Linoleum is very good too, set to become a concert classic (I realize they sung it back in December '09 when I went to see them live).

So a fresh addition to an already great discography from the masterful Swedes.

Report this review (#282101)
Posted Saturday, May 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars Honestly,I don't know what happened to this band?I don't understand what they want to prove and what is the musical direction that they fallow with this new and so expected album?It says that genius are nor understood,and some artists are living before their time and in a different space ?!?!Could it be that?SCARSICK was the first sign that something happened with the inspirational source of POS!Well..I said to myself...it's a lack of imagination and the guys have taken too many not recommended pills or wead...An accident...an error!Then LINOLEUM was like a bolt thrown in my head.a true POS fan since ENTROPIA-and in my opinion LINOLEUM was a huge dissapointment under all aspects!!I said...WTF..this guys are into psychedelic or Hendrix mood...post grunge...or...nihilistic music...flower power mood ?!?!?!It's so sad that GILDENLOW's ideas are now going more and more into a twisted direction,honestly I think that not even himself is able to know what he does...musically speaking!This ROAD SALT one is pushing my sadness even further...and makes me so bad to discover a band in a big ,huge lack of inspiration and completely lost in it's musical identity!DANIEL GILDENLOW's voice is so beautiful and warm,he has an amazing vocal technique-but now POS's music is 99 % focused on GILDENLOW's voice and his inner beliefs and state of trance,exorcising demons and haunting his mental wounds maybe,sadly the other instruments are so weak and disposable...a poor accessory for a too introspective and personal music!Maybe the band should change the name in PAIN OF DANIEL GILDENLOW?!?!!?I don't know if they will gain new fans with this album-a new failure in my opinion-,I'm afraid they will loose many of them,and I don't know how the future looks for this guys!GILDENLOW looks sober and clean,but I'm afraid something bad happened to his psychic and the clouds are darker and heavier than those from the Iceland volcano for PAIN OF SALVATION!ROAD SALT ONE was an album that I've been waited for him so much,but in the end it turns into a major dissapointment and desillusion and I am afraid that this band has lost his soul and musical identity for good!And that's such a shame...they were fantastic in the beginning...until the BE masterpiece...but now...all is gone!Only 1 star...hardly given...only for Gildenlow's sensational voice!RIP-POS!
Report this review (#282520)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars What a nice album! I never was a fan of this band, but this new album is different. Especially when we're speaking about metal band ( or even progressive metal band).

Some songs still have some traces of heaviness. Musicianship is simple though, and for sure you wouldn't find there many traces of progressive metal. Not at all!

But ... you can find whatever you want! Songs , influenced by early Rolling Stones. Songs, influenced by Tom Waits and Cpt. Beefheart. Some early psychedelic compositions ( I mean - with sound from 70-s). Many different and melodic songs. Some funk and disco elements. Some syncopated rhythms and polyphonic melodies.

No strange, with these new songs they participated in National Swedish competition for the Eurovision Song Contest. Really very different and not boring work, with strong vintage feeling.

P.S. Almost forgot - this album has not too much relations with progressive rock of any form (and for sure not related with prog metal at all). But really nice album for pop-heavy-funk rock fans. Especially if you're a bit sentimental and don't like complexity in music.

For change of direction - 2,5.

Report this review (#282588)
Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars There have always been contradictions between metal fans through the years about the major sound changes of some bands. This is very reasonable if you are a die-hard metaller but..it doesn't make sense for a prog fan to be negative in ''changes''. POS have created some prog masterpieces during the last 13 years that always had to do with heavy riffs, dark atmospheres and complexity. Some realized in 2007's Scarsick the band's tendency to simplify its structures. Therefore, Road Salt one,yes,has major changes but no shocking ones. Surely,there is no complexity at all but a wider and deeper 70's feeling, mainly influenced by late Beatles and Queen. Any musician can understand that POS members have decided to approach their music into a much more organic and analogue way, with fuzzed guitars, killer Rhodes pianos and dry drums,adding a new dimension to their material than their digital, overdubbed past. And what about the songs?The songs are beautiful! You can hear everything, rock n' roll, bluesy tones, soundtrack and gospel influences, even musical themes! And just when you think that the songs are a bit lighter than they should, there are dramatic epics like ''Sisters'' (one of their best songs ever) in the well known POS tradition. I strongly recommend this to everyone who likes 70's oriented music as a whole and I steadily believe that POS will never release a bad album.I will be shocked if they ever do so.Definetely 4 stars!
Report this review (#283409)
Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars As a musician, I can respect the band's choice to try a new sound and experiment. However, as a fan of Pain of Salvation's epic concept albums and songs, I have to say that this is not a direction that I like. This is not Progressive Metal, and while it may attract some new fans, most of the true fans of PoS and prog metal will be disappointed. I think the only reason this album doesn't have a lower rating is because of the eclectic tastes of the users of this site. Pain of Salvation has gained some attention from fans of other progressive genres because of their high album ratings.

Scarsick was musically mediocre by Pain of Salvation's standards, despite its societal relevance and some catchy songs. Referring it to the Perfect Element Pt 2 should have been an indication of what was to come.

I think this is more of a personal change for Daniel than it is for the band. Fans who paid any attention to the lyrical content of earlier albums will know that Daniel was most likely a disturbed man with a dark past, and perhaps he was "sick of the scars". This is understandable, however I think Daniel should have created a side project for his new personal direction like many other artists have done.

It seems like the unique philosophical approach and the complex melodies and solos have been abandoned. There is a loose theme to this album, however I don't think each song contributes from a different perspective to a cohesive whole like with previous albums.

I am not going to bother reviewing the individual songs, because there are only a couple stand outs and a lot of filler songs or songs that did just not appeal to me.

Daniel Gildenlow is a creative genius with the talent to bring his ideas to life. I hope he chooses to return to his complex and creative side without necessarily having to be borderline sadistic with the lyrical content (if I am correct in my interpretation of the change of direction). 3 stars for the vocals and the attempt at creating something fresh.

Report this review (#283932)
Posted Friday, May 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here is it; the way that Daniel Gildenlow wanted to tell us that he is just a genius, a musician who won't stop create unique and progressive ideas for the music of Pain Of Salvation. First, he show us that he knows, very well, the way to make progressive metal masterpieces and his own style, based on some of the greatest musicians in the progressive world. And then, he show us that his ideas don't stop in this kind of music; but he know, very well, how to make original rock ideas, sounds so new and unique. That's the magic of this band.

I have to say that this album, has many different ideas that POS let them be together so beautifully; blues and rock are the main character of the album. In this album, you can find, Queen, Beatles, Foo Fighters, and so many other bands. And that's because the way that they compose and produced the album is so 70s. Also, you can find moments that makes you remember the Be and Scarsick albums.

5 stars, because this is just a unique progressive rock work that we can't compare with everything else. Is just a masterpiece of progressive rock music. (Find the edition with the extended and bonus tracks. There is the real magic.)

Report this review (#284800)
Posted Friday, June 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars In the sleeve notes to Road Salt One, Pain Of Salvation state "Road Salt is thirteen tracks of sweaty gravel, asphalt butterflies, untrodden paths and brave decisions. It will not beg for your liking, it will not make excusses, it will not carry you safely across dangerous waters. If you don't pick up its pace it will leave you stranded at the curb of the road. Yes, Road Salt One might indeed be a harsh lover, but if you have the guts to follow it whole-heartedly and dare to surrender to its rhythm, it will take you places you need to visit". Well if that doesn't set alarm bells ringing I don't know what will. It seems already that they're expecting trouble ahead from their fans and placing the onus on them to come on this journey with them.

You've got to admire Pain Of Salvation. Road Salt One is if nothing else a brave album, so far removed from the prog metal of past releases that they are likely to leave a large percentage of their fanbase behind. Admitedly POS's brand of prog metal didn't really sit well alongside the likes of Dream Theater, Symphony X etc and always stretched the boundaries somewhat but on Road Salt One we get nothing approaching prog metal. That in itself shouldn't be a problem if they'd come up with an absolute killer of an album but unfortunately this is not the case. While it's far from a total disaster it all too often drifts into uninspiring dullness.

After the short and repetitive vocal dominated What She Means To Me it's straight into No Way. This is a promising start and turns out to be the best track on the album, but this blues fuelled rocker which towards it's close has an intricate time change/accent section turns out to be the exception rather than the rule. After such a thrilling start it moves into the slow blues of She Likes To Hide; yes, there's a definite seventies vibe going on here. Sisters is a rather dull piano led ballad that outstays its welcome. Next comes the gospel tinged Of Dust which thankfully is short. Better is Tell Me You Don't Know which starts as an acoustic blues which remains sparse even after the introduction of electric guitar. The improvement is short lived though as the off the wall Sleeping Under The Stars follows with its "Oom pah pah" rhythm if you catch my drift.

The album is divided into what is titled side A and B. Side B starts with Darkness Of Mine with a vibe that musically matches the title as dark avant sections are interspersed between raw heavier guitar parts. Linoleum is the first really satisfying moment since No Way. Imagine Pearl Jam getting a bit clever and you'll be in the right area; a dynamic hard rocker. Also having a bit of a Pearl Jam vibe, though less satisfying is Curiosity. Where It Hurts is an atmospheric piece with a seventies rock feel and pretty good for it. Then it's Road Salt, a track that is already known for becoming a song POS submitted for a possible entry into this year's Eurovision Song Contest! Quite where that may have got them I dread to think but this electric piano and vocal ballad is not your typical Eurovision material. I have to say though that it's not bad at all. The album closes with the longer psychedelic blues of Innocence.

As already stated, Road Salt One is not a bad album by any means. Nevertheless it weighs too heavily towards the average, occasionally poor, with only a few highlights to consider it a good one. Where this record leaves them is anyone's guess but if Road Salt Two which will apparently appear later in the year follows a similar furrow, and combine that with the poorly received Scarsick, their previous release, then POS could be in danger of their loyal fanbase giving up on them. 2 ˝ stars.

Report this review (#285571)
Posted Tuesday, June 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hearing this album for the first time was a bit of a shock for me. The shock came from the fact that I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Also, the production of the album is so raw. It just threw me for a loop. After a few more listens, it started to pick and choose my favorite tracks, as usual. Once I had heard it about the fourth time, the album started to blend a lot more and I found myself having a hard time disliking any of the songs. That being said, compared to the rest of POS's discography, Road Salt is a much more song oriented album rather than album oriented album if you know what I mean. Well, now I have heard it probably ten times or so all the way through. There are a couple of songs I don't appreciate as much as the others, but I do not skip them or lose interest. They are simply not quite as good overall. Here is my ranking of the songs from my favorite to least favorite.

1. "Sisters" 2. "Where it Hurts" 3. "Innocence" 4. "Linoleum" 5. "No Way" 6. "Sleeping Under the Stars" 7. "Of Dust" 8. "Road Salt" 9. "Darkness of Mine" 10. "She Likes to Hide" 11. "Tell Me You Don't Know" 12. "What She Means to Me" 13. "Curiosity"

The style of Road Salt is really laid back. Not laid back tempo-wise, but just the feel of it. Most of the songs are pretty simple and straight forward, with a few exceptions. In its simplicity, though, this album has some really intricate parts if you pay close enough attention. Some of the lyrics are kind of cheesy, but they can be overlooked. The standout track is definitely "Sisters." This is a beautiful ballad, with great melody and meloncholy. This and a few other songs alone make it worth the money I paid for the Road Salt. If you feel discouraged at first, remember this album is a grower and may require many listens to appreciate. Umm, what else? I'm sure there is more to say, but I'll just leave you with words from Daniel Gildenlow. Daniel writes, "Road Salt one. Twelve tracks of sweaty gravel, asphalt butterflies, untrodden paths and brave decisions. It will not beg for your liking, it will not make excuses, it will not carry you safely across the dangerous waters. If you don't pick up its pace it will leave you stranded at the curb of the road. Yes, Road Salt One might indeed be a harsh lover, but if you have the guts to follow it whole-heartedly and dare to surrender to its rhythm, it will take you places you need to visit."

Report this review (#285786)
Posted Wednesday, June 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars For those that thought that the Linoleum EP wasn't representative of what Road Salt One would be, sorry to inform you that yes, that is the new Pain of Salvation (at least until Road Salt Two....) And is this a bad thing? I'll try to answer that.

Road Salt One is not a concept albuim, rather a thematic one. The main theme revolves around making choices and living with them. I really enjoy how some songs relate to each other in a way, but then again all the songs are very diferent.

Songs

All songs are relatively short and concise, much like most of Scarsick, They range from raw and positively agressive - No Way, Linoleum - to subtle and simple songs - Of Dust, Road Salt .

The highlights are Sisters and Where it Hurts. To all that say that this isn't a progessive release, you really should carefuly listen to these songs. No odd time signatures at all, no instrumental madness, but great musicianship, solid song structure and plenty of details for the wary listener.

Tell Me You Don't Know and Sleeping Under The Stars feel very out of place and I found myself constantly skipping them.

The closing song Innocence is not your typical epic end to a POS album, it's a great song but the emotional climax falls flat.

Sound

Everyone's main gripe about Road Salt is the boomy, 70ies, raw overall sound of the guitars and drums. I can see where Daniel is trying to go, but I have to say that it's not my cup of tea. In any case it blends well with the overall feel of the album.

Conclusion

It's always good to hear what's on Daniel's mind, so I do enjoy Road Salt One, but the lackluster ending, a couple of bad songs and a debatable production keeps this release from higher grounds. A solid 3oo5 stars.

Report this review (#286184)
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars But what happened to these guys??? Did they lost theirselves somewhere there in the Sweeden land?? I was very disappointed with Scarsick but now I am totally astonished. This band before the scarsick albums were in my 3 favourite bands of all time and still are because of their masterpiece albums: The perfect element 1 (still wating for part 2), Remedy Lane, Be and the previous two great albums, but slowly they are slipping away from my progressive attention. I know that it's right to change styles as Riverside has done (or Opeth) with their last album but the POS are going towards "pop song" style, this is not progressive nor ecletic, this is something that cannot be accepted from my point of view, they look like what is happening with Dream Theather (another my favourite bands that gone worst and worst with every album). There is nothing to say about this album, there are a few good pop songs and nothing more, as you can note "I am very disappointed again", sometimes it's better just getting out of the scene. Please POS come back or just stop! I would give 0 but I am obbligated to give 1 star.
Report this review (#286196)
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One thing that you can never criticize Pain of Salvation for, whether you like them or not, is not changing direction. Ever since their ambitious prog metal debut album, the band has been constantly reinventing their already unique sound, with the grand final product being Road Salt One. Let me say from the beginning that if you're expecting to hear a progressive metal masterpiece like The Perfect Element or Remedy Lane, you will surely be disappointed. But if you come into this album with an open mind, willing to hear anything Mr. Gildenlöw has to throw at you, Road Salt One will come as a pleasant surprise.

There has been one main lineup change since 2007's controversial Scarsick, which is the departure of longtime drummer, Johan Langell. Johan is supposedly quitting the music business for now to spend more time as a husband and father. He was a really important part of Pain of Salvation, and even though Leo Margarit (Zubrowska) does a great job, Johan Langell is an irreplaceable figure. I can't help but wonder what this album would've sounded with Johan behind the kit. I'm not going to complain, though, since Leo is surely a very talented musician.

Pain of Salvation doesn't like to play it safe with any of their albums, and Road Salt One is perhaps their most ambitious work to date. This album is very progressive, though not in a symphonic or suite-oriented way like their earlier albums were. Even though Road Salt One is conceptual, the album is much more song-oriented than the band's previous efforts. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whether or not you like strictly conceptual albums. I personally would prefer a concept album to a song-oriented album any day, but there is enough of a conceptual feel here to please longtime Pain of Salvation fans.

Concept and lyrics aside, Road Salt One is a one-of-a-kind album. I've never heard an album that blends 70's blues/hard rock, modern prog, pop, and about twenty other genres so seamlessly. I was initially turned off by how straightforward the album can be, and even though Road Salt One is much more basic than the earlier PoS albums, over time I began to appreciate the album much more. This is surely a grower, and will take multiple listens to appreciate (like all Pain of Salvation albums). Although it may seem extremely linear at first listen, Road Salt One has many little intricacies that are only noticeable after many listening sessions. After all of the times I've listened to the album, I can conclude that this is a fantastic and innovative album, but still probably the weakest Pain of Salvation release to date.

The lyrics are good, but nowhere near the lyrical genius of Scarsick, Be, or Remedy Lane. The lyrics are mostly in the sexual relationships and struggles department. There are songs like Sisters, Road Salt, and Linoleum where the lyrics are extremely captivating, but songs like No Way and She Likes to Hide aren't up to Gildenlöw's usual standards. Overall, the lyrics are still consistently interesting, even if it never reaches the high points of previous PoS albums.

The musicians of Pain of Salvation, as always, are fantastic. Even though they play much more simplistic music on this album, they still are all awesome. Daniel Gildenlöw is simply one of my idols for so many reasons. Whether it be his voice, compositions, or instrumental performances, he is a godly musician. Leo Margarit is a good replacement for Johan Langell, even though I still prefer Langell by a large margin. Fredrik Hermansson (keyboards) and Johan Hallgren (guitar) are great as always.

The production is a bit of a problem IMO. It's a bit too raw and unpolished for this type of music. Gildenlöw's voice sounds too rough and the sound of the drums and guitar can get a bit annoying at times. It's an acquired taste, and I'm sure some people will love the vintage sound. It's just not for me, though.

There are two versions of the album on the market; a 52:00 standard edition and a 55:33 limited edition containing a bonus track and two extended versions of tracks. The bonus track is nothing special, and the extended versions honestly sound worse than the originals. I think it's a good idea to stick to the standard edition if you are considering buying this album.

This album consists of 12 tracks (13 if you have the limited edition), and they are all pretty good (except for Sleeping Under The Stars, which is mediocre). My favorites are No Way, She Likes To Hide, Sisters, Linoleum, and Road Salt. Like I've said earlier, almost all of the songs are good, though.

Conclusion:

Road Salt One is a very unique album by a very unique band, and I doubt I will ever hear another album like it. Even though this album is filled with flaws and blemishes, something about is just so darn charming! I can recommend this release to anybody looking for a one-of-a-kind album, given that they can look past a few setbacks. Just don't go into this album expecting progressive metal of any type; you will be very disappointed! Even though this is far from one of my favorite Pain of Salvation albums, I can't help but give it a recommendable 3.5-4 star rating.

Report this review (#286330)
Posted Sunday, June 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars It seems many want PoS to write an album like their first 4 albums, but as we all know, as you get older your tastes change, diversify, maybe improve. So to expect prog metal from these guys may be asking too much, especially if we want to hear something new.

I daresay I wouldn't mind hearing TPE2, but I'm happy to hear whatever comes along in the meantime - as long as it's good. So, is RS1 a good album? Yes, I think it is.

There's a big 70's bluesy influence to this album. I was surpised to read that DG hadn't listened to Led Zeppelin until he was asked to sing in Mike Portnoy's Led Zep tribute band and I wondered whether that influence as well as his time with The Flower Kings might creep into PoS. I think it might've, but there's a wide range of other sounds and different ethnic experiences that have crept in too, French, Middle Eastern, etc.

The distortion pedal is off, and the overdrive on the guitars has been turned down. DG sings in more of a rasp rather than reaching the clear high notes and the guitar solos are merely bluesy interludes. The keyboards are mainly Fender Rhodes and piano and this is perhaps the highlight of the album musically. Song structures are also relatively straight forward, but the melodies are quite catchy and they do hold your interest.

Overall, this is a good album, but as PA is all about Prog, it's hard to rate this any higher than a 3. In fact, I doubt a metal website would be able to rate it much higher than a 3 either. It is however probably a 4/5 in the braoder music world.

Report this review (#289881)
Posted Sunday, July 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pain of Salvation: Road Salt One

Is this album progressive? That is the question. And I am not sure of the answer. It mostly feels like a cross of the Rolling Stones and Foo Fighters with some blues thrown into the mix. Thats not saying there aren't hints of the classical Pain of Salvation sound because there are, it's just hidden at times. It is a concept album in away because there seems to be a unifying theme about people moving through life which is obviously symbolized as the road that is mentioned many times throughout the course of the album, and the cross roads that all the people come to. For some reason several of the songs are about sex, which is okay. There is a nice ballad in this album called "Sisters". and there are also great, smart popish rock tunes like "Darkness Of Mine" and "Linoleum". "Where It Hurts" and "Innocence" are more like songs off of Scarsick, which I know many of Pain Of Salvation Fans didn't like but, I still found them interesting. "No Way" is probably my favorite track on this album, it is bluesy, yet there are nice rhythms. This is not a metal album and not for metal fans. It took multiple listenings to actually like or come to an understanding of this album, but now i really enjoy it. I would give this four stars but, I feel going back to the 70's style sound that it has is not a progression but a regression. Sense my favorite genre of music is Progressive Rock, Which i believe is the search for the new and interesting. Make no doubt this album is interesting, and it may be new for the band. It is not new for music in general. So therefore i gave it a 3.

Report this review (#293418)
Posted Wednesday, August 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of the most attended albums of 2010 in the mind of a progressive fan was Pain Of Salvation's new album, since the bit disappointing "Scarsick". Boy, this was hard to digest. I really was bummed when I heard this album for the first time: they completely changed sound, sounding more like a blues/country rock band, with some original moments here and there. Now, I realize that the band never felt like they needed to label themselves, so they felt free to go another way, to experiment, using less experimentation than ever. Despite this, and despite not being really prog (or metal), this is a good album, seen badly by most of this site.

Twelve songs: the same as The Perfect Element, Pain Of Salvation's magnum opus and one of the best prog metal albums of all time. But "Road Salt One" is everything but "TPE": all the songs are quite simple, like a normal rock song, almost all of them short. Also the structure of the album, unlike TPE, obviously doesn't make you wanna listen to the whole thing, since it looks like just a really normal album.

Certainly, the good songs are present: "She Likes To Hide" is a great blues/ ballad song, with some psychedelic tones, "Sisters" ,very gloomy and melancholic, but very beautiful, "Of Dust", a mournful song played only with organ and vocals, "Darkness Of Mine" has a great catchy chorus, "Linoleum" a very rockish mood, with a chorus that quite reminds me of their previous album, "Scarsick", the melancholic, calm "Road Salt", a beautiful piece of music. However, some songs are forgettable and frankly quite annoying, like the opening track "No Way", or the joyous "Sleeping Under The Stars".

In conclusion, I've heard better PoS albums, but I respect this choice they made, which was to try to change their style a (huge) bit. It could have been better, but still not bad. 4 stars.

Report this review (#296883)
Posted Tuesday, August 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars What is progressive music about? Who can blame this band for changing style? If someone can't see metal in "Road Salt One" is one thing, but prog is not absent here. The song structure is different, much more simple and straight-forward, but the bright ideas and the flexibility of Pain of Salvation are present in most songs.

The sentimental singing of Daniel Gildenlöw is in a more leading role. Most of the songs are written on the voice of the band's leader and how could this have a bad result? "Road Salt" is a great piece, "Sisters" includes japanese musical elements, "Linoleum" is one of the best prog rock songs I've heard this year, "Tell Me You Don't Know" is a slow blues, "No Way" is extroversive and funny (or not).

The keyboards of Fredrik Hermansson are reminiscent of 70's progrock, as well as the front cover. However, I have to admit that Leo Margarit is not Johan Langell and this may limit the band's future ambitions, unless it won't be necessary. Time will tell...

Favourite tracks: "Sisters", "Linoleum", "Salt One".

Report this review (#299498)
Posted Friday, September 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Originally I was vey hyped for this album. I had just gotten into Pain of salvation the summer before it came out and I was ready for another masterpiece. When it came out I was severely disappointed. But, as time went on I began to realize that even though it is far from their best work it is still a very good album. Also what I noticed was that like BE it is very different from traditional metal. Or even prog metal.

The songs on this album are relatively short, compared to many of their other albums. One thing that is different is that they are lacking the huge middle solos and extended instrumental parts in their songs. Most of the time Daniel Gildenlow is singing which is a much different way then most of their other stuff.

The first time I began to see some of the brilliance, if you could call it that, behind the songs was in "No Way" and "She Likes to Hide". I like these songs because they are very bass driven and have a good feel to them that makes you get into the music. Also many of the songs are dark and mostly evil sounding. One that is different is "Sleeping Under the Stars" which is a very weird song. Unlike the other songs it has a much more upbeat tome to it and even has a little of a circus theme song to it. Pain of Salvation also uses a lot of disharmony in the song which counter-acts the happy feel in it. One thing that is odd about it is that the lyrics don't really make sense. At one point they are talking about semen stains, and then all of a sudden they are singing about sleeping under stars.

Other good songs on it include "Linoleum" off of their EP Linoleum, "Darkness of Mine, and "Innocence". This blend of songs and, of course, the masterfulness of Daniel Gildenlow's lyrics, plus the great musical skills of the whole band make this album worth 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#315871)
Posted Friday, November 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Retired Admin
3 stars No way it's true.

Pain of Salvation have lost their charm. PoS for a while was at the premier of the creative progressive metal scene, with incredible classic albums like The Perfect Element Part I and Remedy Lane. They seemed destined to stardom. However, with the album BE, they began a slow decline. The subsequent album, Scarsick, was vastly different than what listeners were used to, had a very cold and experimental feel, and the concept was horribly uninviting and the album alienated countless fans. The next album, this album, Road Salt One, was different from Scarsick, but not in an entirely good way. The album had a much softer feel, a heavily jam oriented sound, and an almost poppish leaning, with very accessible melodies and the kind of music one would see on a grunge band's album. The album still had a slightly appealing, Pain of Salvation-esque vibe, but it was vastly different from any of the material that really made PoS one of the more inventive bands of their time. Sadly it's true: Pain of Salvation have lost their charm. 3- stars.

Report this review (#315876)
Posted Friday, November 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The new Pain of Salvation addition to Progressive Metal, or not?

One thing I've heard every person that didn't like the album say is that it isn't prog metal, or prog, or metal at all. I've decided to stop trying to explain to everyone how attempting to label a band such as Pain of Salvation under a single genre, or even a couple, is a complete waste of time, since, probably, the most impressive attribute of the band is constantly re- newing themselves and changing image; and this new album is the greatest representation that the band doesn't fall under a label, but rather re-defines what self-style means in the music industry.

Let me kick things off by saying that at first I was dissapointed by the album. It seemd that ever since Scarsick, which I didn't like, and still don't like, my opinion on the band was so drasticly changed that I was unable to even open up for this new style that PoS has addopted. However I've heard the album quite a couple of times now and have decided to finally review it under 4 stars.

It is an album that pretty much every rock fan will enjoy and that only hard-dying metal or prog-metal fans will dislike. If you're expecting this album to be anything like Remedy Lane, or The Perfect Element you WILL be dissapointed. If you even think this is going to be similar to BE, you WILL be dissapointed. But if you just close your expectations on the album and just listen to it, you will see it as it is: A very well worked, well executed, delightful musical piece.

Once again it's a conceptual, yet song-driven, album. Daniel's vocals have a different tone and attitude but are still amazing and are the standpoint of the whole musical argument. From a lyrical perspective, it is, sincerely, not up to the standars you would expect to find from a lyrical genius such as Dan, but they are still quite good, specially in the strong soft- rock songs: Sisters and Road Salt. The general mood of the album is a type of country meets blues meets rock meets "cirque du solei" (Hope I spelled that right), and, again, if you leave your pre-conceptions behind and just give in into the music, you will be drawn into that mood and you'll find yourself singing alongside the songs and lovin' it.

There are music moments here for everyone, and the fact that they got invited to Melodifestivalen this year should be proof enough that the album IS strong. I believe that this one will draw attention to the band and win new fans that will eventually sink into the progressive rock scene without even knowing it, it is a powerfull masterpiece, even thought I am not awarding it 5 stars, that demonstrates once more, and better than ever, the bands´ constant search for experimentation, expanding horizons, musical growth and addaptation in a time where falling mainstream and repetition seems to be taking over the great bands of today.

I am glad to say I find it better than Scarsick and have plain confidence in this incredible bands music.

4 Stars, buy it.

Report this review (#336568)
Posted Saturday, November 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In an increasingly stale genre as Progressive Metal, Pain of Salvation have always stood out as being a bit different to the hordes of Dream Theater clones, and a damn good thing its been as well. Not once in their history has this band released an album that sounds like the one before it, or any album before it for that matter, and so it continues. This attitude of pushing their bounderies, never letting themselves settle into a comfort zone, has provided us with several stunning albums, and I still stand by my proclamation that The Perfect Element Part 1 is the best album of all time, but it has seen them push things too far at times, where their experiments have not worked as well for as many fans as others have. Infact, its fair to say that the two preceeding albums both can be said to have pushed things too far. BE is probably the most ambitious album, in its scope, to have been recorded since, well, maybe The Lamb... and you'll find as many fans that say its attempt to unify the concept behind it has led to the concept getting in the way of the music as will tell you its a triumph of modern prog, showing that there are no bounderies that a bit of skill and imagination can not cross. In a way they're both right. Then there's Scarsick with its brazen, hard hitting anti social story that attacked all of modern society with little grace but a lot of energy.

And so now, three years after Scarsick first impacted, we are here at the bands seventh studio album, Road Salt One. As I noted in my review of Linoleum, it should actually have been only two years between releases but the financial problems of record label InsideOut (thanks to owners SPV collapsing) led to the long wait before Century Media and EMI came to the rescue and the fact that Road Salt has been split from a double album to two sperate releases (Pt Two should be out early in 2011). The EP Linoleum gave us a hint at what was to come, but even I, a long time fan of Pain of Salvation, was caught by surprise at just how different Road Salt One is to all preceeding PoS albums. The '70's hard rock/metal sound/vibe that was introduced on Linoleum remains but where as the EP was still undeniably a metal album, though now with a very unique sound to it, the metal element seems to be all but gone from their music. The only thing more surprising than this is how badly some people seem to have reacted to it.

I must admit, when I first heard the album (the Ltd Edition version, naturally, I havn't heard the standerd one) I was a bit disappointed with it. It wasnt a bad album by any stretch of the imagination for me, but it was a long way from my expectations of powerful, thought provoking lyrics and music, the lynchpins of PoS's music, regardles of how different each album is. Though all the songs were good, only the closer Innocent really grabed me first time out, infact it almost seemed like an album of ballads! This seems to have come about by the fact that this is the first PoS album to not have a central concept linking all the songs together, though lyrically they all contain similar themes of love, lust, self doubt and introspection, and the music itself has much more improvised feel to it rather than the carefully composed and arranged pieces that previously made up their albums. With that in mind, dont expect to find gripping mini epics here along the lines of People Passing By, Idioglossia, The Perfect Element and Beyond the Pale as the afformentioned Innocence is the closest you get.

But, this album is definitely a grower and with each listen my appreciation for what the Swedish foursome have acomplished here grows. Though the songs have a distinctly more improvised and jammed feel to them, the bands signature use of layering the melodies of the instruments becomes apparent and is far more subtle than on previous albums, best demonstrated on She Likes to Hide, Sisters, Darkness of Mine and Innocence. The compositions themselves prove to be far more complex than on Scarsicks longer but more drawn out songs (where such complexity would have worked against the concept) helped along a great deal by this more subtle use of layering and counterpoint, where one melody is keped in the background away from the main melody, but easy enough to descern when you concentrate just a little bit on what all the instrumnets are doing the result is a far more involving experience for the listener.

Many people have remarked that this album isnt even prog anymore. Respectfully, that is a load of rubbish. The album does feel much more song oriented than before, especially since it is a collection of songs rather than the usual concept album, but each song avoids the boring old verse-chorus-verse format, or only repeats the chorus once before leaving it behind and moving the song on. Mainly though, I think its the attempt to creat a much more intimate feel to the music, an attempt to draw the listener in close and feel appart of it, in a way thats usually reserved for singer/songwriters, thats got people confused along with the much shorter than normal song lengths (3-5 minutes for most, similar to One Hour By the Concrete Lake) and not just the complet abandonment of metal, with Linoleum being the (the only track brought over from the EP) main exception, but an embracing of a much more low key style. They're just not out to rock in the way that they used to.

Lyrically Daniel Gildenlow is on some of his best form, tackling the subject matter of ones own insecureties with all the gusto and capability as Fish in is prime with Marillion, that other great theatrical singer who took on such themes in a similar way. Gildenow performs the vocals with the usual dexterity and dynamic that has made him one of the most distinctive and talented singers of the last 15 years, though for the majority of the album his voice takes on a more gruff or slightly strained sounding timbre, or a soft and almost delicate approach depending on the requirments of the song as aposed to the usually more smooth delivery.

The skill that the band plays its instruments is its usual high caliber but I'll single out drummer Leo Margarit and keyboard player Fredrick Hermansson for special praise. Margarit is the newest member of the band having replaced the retireing Johan Langel and I've got to say, he may even be an improvment. His style seems a little more fluid than Langels and fits perfectly into the overall feel of the album, proving that he was a very good choice to take over the stool. Hermansson is now the only other member of PoS, along with Gildenlow, that has been on all the bands albums, but surprisingly its here on Road Salt One that he seems to take a leading role for many of the songs with the title track being a particular hilight for him. Bass continues to be a problem for this group as once again Gildenlow has to take up that instrument, as well as his own guitar and vocal duties, since Simon Andersson left before recording of this album began. Maybe thats got something to do with the whole sound of the album because the very distinctive 70's sound to the bass is completely unique in the new millenium.

Overall this has grown into one of my favourite albums of 2010, and would probably have remained that way even if the year had had a much stronger collection of albums released (not the best of years in my opinion), but it still falls short of the first four albums they released. The opening two tracks, What She Means to Me and No Way, dont do much for me with the former being a Queen like four way vocal harmony and the latter a rather chauvanistic piece that only really offers much of interest towards the end of the song. The rest of the album is all very good with Sisters, Sleeping Under the Stars, Darkness of Mine, Road Salt and Innocence being the best tracks but the problem is that I could only really compare Innocence to the best tracks of the bands first five albums, where as previously there would always be three or four tracks that would reach that level, maybe even more. A good, strong album that explores a more introspective and intimate side of the band whilst pushing them on musically to yet more new pastures and is a definite improvment over Scarsick but doesnt quite match past greatness. The new direction is so different to what the band made its name on that they may loose a few old fans, but should also find themselves appealing to many more that wouldnt have got much out of their metal past. Well worth a listen either way, I just cant wait for Road Salt Two now.

Report this review (#381915)
Posted Monday, January 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
Tapfret
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.

Report this review (#444601)
Posted Sunday, May 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The lovechild of Billy Gibbons, Leonard Cohen and Mike Patton...

Pain of Salvation delve into the world of blues/gospel/pretty much anything goes infused hard-rock with mixed results.

The Good: It's always cool to see bands exploring new musical avenues instead of just rehashing their old material. Whilst it did take me a while to adjust to the fact that these songs were written by the same band that brought us the likes of Remedy Land and The Perfect Element, I have eventually grown quite fond of them. The sound is stripped down both in terms of recording and musicality, but it still remains far more interesting, and darker, than most releases within this corner of the rock spectrum.

The Bad: The music is nowhere near as adventurous as previous outings and the raw production, combined with lyrics such as "Semen stains wash out surprisingly easily..." makes this a sub-par release by their high standards.

The Verdict: With Curiousity is how I wait for the second album in this two part release.

Report this review (#488618)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
ppl
5 stars Fortunately we have many prog bands that we can admire and love in 2011..Opeth,SX,DT,POS,PT,Shadow Galley and Queensryche..all of them are great bands that proved their quality year after year album after album..there's no doubt that only SX and DT play nowadays prog METAL..Queensryche has changed it's sound all the way,whereas SG has fewer riffs,fewer METAL parts in their songs..So now we have DT and SX who composes long songs full of technical ''phrases'' in order to fascinates the fans and on the other hand we have POS that chose to change it's style and write a whole another type of songs..As a result of this,POS created the magical RS1..it doesn't contain a new Beyond The Pale or a new Perfect Element..it doesn't need one of those..POS respect the past but they look the future as one new musical trip with new musical horizons ahead of it..RS1 has brand new sounds from funk to jazz from blues to hard rock from psychedelic to prog..from tghe beginning to the end the music of POS has so many levels that of course you cannot appreciate it immediately..you HAVE to hear it over and over again and then you CANNOT love it.,you CANNOT stop listening to it and suddenly it'll earn a place in your heart..All songs has this ''little'' thing that misses from SX and DT last works(Iconoclast,Systematic Chaos,BC&SL) called EMOTION!!this only thing that matters after all..and the only thing that ''lady'' called music can give us..and that's the reason that make music so unique!!listen to Sisters and you'll find yourself unable even to speak,listen to No Way and She Likes To Hide and remember the old-fashioned 70's rock..listen to Sleeping Under The Stars and remember the magic of Queen..listen to Innocence and remember the Zeppelin feeling..But in the end,what makes this album so SPECIAL you can discover it only if you hear IT from the beginning to the end without a little intermission..

''Kneel'' to this magical and authentic creation only POS can deliver!!

Report this review (#533533)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
JJLehto
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A blues influenced, jam oriented rock album with a raw, "vintage" sound. What's not to like?

Well at first listen, a lot. Such a cool idea, and admittedly a cool sounding album, but was just...not that good. Though if there's one thing I've learned from post-Remedy Lane PoS, it's that patience is key. Sure enough, with time and listens this album grew on me, (though the seeds were already there) and while it's certainly not as strong as their "classic" albums, or even their previous 2...it is a decent album.

I gave kudos to PoS for changing it up and doing what they want. While different, "BE" was a dense, pretentious prog rock album and "Scarsick" was prog metal..."Road Salt One" however is something that truly flies in the face of PoS fans. As mentioned, this is a blues rock album, with little prog, (and less metal) to be found, and the band even took an unpolished, raw sound to make it feel vintage. If this sounds out of your league best avoid RS1 entirely. I like it personally. Like any radical change it did take some getting used to, and outside the feel I really didn't like the music much.

While it's much "simpler" as in there's less complex, progressive songs...replaced with more direct, "stripped down" ones it is challenging instead that it's a subtle album, (much like Scarsick). Not to mention a challenge to prog/metal fans! The music can at times be a bit repetitive and drab, but generally it gradually moves...building to powerful climaxes. The writing is subtle and keyboards are more prominent than previous albums, even if its often gentle.

As always, the music takes a back seat to Gildenlöw's vocals, whose powerful, emotional singing truly dominates this album, ranging from soft cries to powerful wails and loaded with the emotion and nuance that needs no explanation to any PoS fan. His singing really carries the album, though of course the music is not to be forgotten about.

More of an "album experience" rather than individual songs, though some do standout like the powerful opener "No Way". This is followed by the good "She Likes to Hide" and the more mellow "Sisters" which is not a bad song but one of the weaker. "Of Dust" is a choir segue which brings us to the middle of RS1 which is absolutely the strongest part.

"Tell Me You Don't Know" is a real cool, blues heavy song and the next 3 are more progressive songs, punctuated by "Sleeping Under the Stars" and "Linoleum" two awesome songs and the latter being my favorite on the album.

"Sleeping Under the Stars" has a circus type jig and gets kind of weird in the middle, in a great way, and has some humor, best seen in the line "Wait darling wait, you're the sh*t as they say in...where they say at...wherever they say that" ha! While "Linoleum" is just a damn awesome, heavy, proggy rock song.

"Curiosity" is another progressive song, notably more up beat while "Where it Hurts" is another mellow one that peaks and valleys. "Road Salt" is a vocal driven, light keyboard song before the finale "Innocence". A 7 minute song that is like a wrap up of the album, progressing through light, psychedelic sections and loud, heavy sections.

So, overall this is a good album. Certainly takes some getting used to and patience, but is worth it. Musically not the mot technical and complex thing made, even by the band, but instead it focuses on subtle songwriting and compositions that rise and fall, taking us on an emotional rollercoaster. The raw, blues rock sound is really cool and Gildenlöw's singing is, as always, some of the best. It fits the feel of this album even more than ever, and shows why he is one of the top vocalists out there. Some parts drag and are a bit drab, and isn't an anytime listen but a good album nonetheless, and I applaud PoS for doing what they want and challenging the fans.

Three Stars

Report this review (#551585)
Posted Sunday, October 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Road Salt One sounds like Pain of Salvation had the idea of doing a stripped-down, non-metal song, did a couple demos, and just went with the best version. Then, they repeated this process until they had enough music to fill an album.

Welcome to Road Salt One, a concept album where half of the songs are explicitly about sex and the other half are about a girl. I found nothing unifying about the album to warrant it a concept album unless it was how every song sounded like part of the same underdeveloped demo, which is not exactly something to strive for. Overall, some credit must be given because this album is indeed unique, but it fails to deliver at all musically. Fortunately, Pt 2 works much better.

Rating: 3/10

Report this review (#932993)
Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars New refreshing (if unexpected) direction

Pain of Salvation have never been ones to stagnate, and this album lives up to its name. It is dirty. Instruments and tones blend together in a almost live feel to the music. I love it. You don't have a separate frequency spectrum for each instrument, it all meddles together and the effect gives you a geniune feeling that most modern music misses out on. Daniel's vocals are at his finest and most natural here and he sounds great. Its impossible not to sing along and realize how intricate and soulful his singing is. Here we have a heavy influence from 70's hard rock and blues and the effect is a welcome meshing with the dark style of POS. The Road Salt saga are the last albums recorded with long time members Johan and Fredrik. (On guitar and keys respectively.)

The album opens powerfully with No Way, which has a very classic hard rock sound. The subtle and very organic drumming sounds great, and the new member Leo holds up. The song enters lighter, melodic parts which thrust you back into the fury of this song. It can really be said that this song is all about frustration and confusion. (Why can't I get the girl if she likes me better? Is it possible that you have something that I don't?) And the song conveys it well. The retro-sounding breakdown at the end of the song is great as bluesy guitar solo falls into a drum solo. It rocks!

The next highlight is Sisters, which impresses as the best song on the album. This song conveys thoughts of inevitibility and lack of self control. We see POS doing something totally different here with a soft, emotional, ballad-like song, a very gradual build and a powerful payoff. The piano and melody is slow, thoughtful, and haunting. Daniel's visceral vocals really pull this song together. I promise you will feel something listening to this.

Darkness of Mine sneaks up on you, which is very fitting. This song is all about mood and tension. First we have ominous long guitar tones and delicate, pained vocals. Listening carefully, the guitarist moves his hands back and forth across the frets making a dark laughing-like sound. Neat! Before you know it the heavy section slides in to brutalize you for just one iteration before slinking back into the darkness. A really well constructed and interesting song.

Where it Hurts is a really dreary and dramatic song which could be a bit over the top but still remains cool. Everytime the heavy drums come in it thrills. Also, there is a really cool jam section in the middle of the song as Leo again shows his chops. The end guitar solo is nearly ruined by Daniel going overboard screaming "touch me where it hurts" but its still manages to pull through.

On the other hand, I found Curiosity and Innocence to be somewhat uninteresting even if they fit into a more traditional Pain of Salvation sound. Sleeping Under the Stars is kind of awkward and misfitting but tolerable.

I love what POS has done on this album, and it is a great and refreshing contribution. Not their best work by any means. Good, but non-essential.

Report this review (#1005188)
Posted Thursday, July 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars If Scarsick will be remembered as the Pain of Salvation album that Gildenlow and band "jumped the shark," Road Salt must be the album where they give us all the middle finger while backstroking in the tank as we cry out for more of what made them great during the early 2000's.

Road Salt salt is an unapologetically different sound for this prog metal band, one that is stripped down and simplified in almost every way fans will imagine. Pain of Salvation gets my respect for taking risks, but not my appreciation for creating this languid, unengaging, joyless, and self-indulgent collection of 3-minute songs that are essentially just excuses for Daniel Gildenlow to sing about abuse and sexual dysfunction. After listening several times I don't feel like I have anything to walk away with.

Sonically the production and guitar style gives us a unique tone for the band, and if you listen hard enough you'll hear some interesting guitar textures and rhythms. However, from a song writing perspective this album has nothing for me to enjoy. Some reviewers have commented that this is more of a "classic rock" style album, but one thing classic rock bands do well is have FUN with their music. When has Gildenlow ever written a song that wasn't weighed down with chains of pathos, bitterness, or psychological scars? The lyrical content just doesn't work here, despite what a great singer Gildenlow is. Instrumentally the album is restrained and understated, occasionally breaking in to fits of dynamic aggression, but mostly vamping to the vocal melodies with nary a solo or memorable moment to walk away with. This is classic rock that would never make it on to the radio in any decade.

The result is an album that just isn't enjoyable to listen to. Definitely for serious fans of Gildenlow or those that want to slit their wrists to lyrics like, "I'll touch you where it hurts. And you can touch me. Come on and touch me where it hurts." No thanks.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 2 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

Report this review (#1500614)
Posted Friday, December 18, 2015 | Review Permalink
The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After the confusing and too experimental BE and the directly horrendous Scarsick, Pain of Salvation (or Daniel Gildenlow) returned to a better path with Road Salt One!

But fans of the older material of the band be aware, this is not a return to their roots. Some trademarks of Pain of Salvation are here, like some syncopated rhythms, a pair of polyphonic vocals and a bit o prog (No Way, Innocence), but the album is mainly blues-rock influenced by acts like Link Wray or Robin Trower with some experiments like cabaret music (Sleeping Under the Stars) and a pair of ballads (Sisters, Road Salt)

And another curious fact that this album has is some different singing of Daniel. I don't know if this man lost his voice or he just uses it differently here... But I think he shouts too much. It's even a bit unpleasant sometimes.

Nevertheless, the album has enough good moments to be considered a return to form for the band after some obscure years following the release of the grandiloquent (and maybe best work of the band) Remedy Lane.

Best Tracks: No Way (cool blues melody with a surprising instrumental interlude), Sisters (pure Pain of Salvation magic, melancholic and touching), Darkness of Mine (dark, like its title), Linoleum (will please old fans of the band) and Road Salt (truly beautiful singing here and great lyrics)

Conclusion: Road Salt One supposed a return to form for a band which lost its way with BE and Scarsick. Nevertheless, die-hard fans of the old Pain of Salvation albums will maybe also dislike this one, because it's not prog, and it's not metal.

It's another experiment of Gildenlow with new sounds for the band in the form of blues, soul, cabaret and country. It's not overall excellent, but good enough to be considered a worthy addition to the band's discography.

My rating: ***

Report this review (#2077468)
Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2018 | Review Permalink
VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Review Nş 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*)

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Posted Saturday, July 20, 2019 | Review Permalink

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