Author Topic: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One  (Read 3760 times)

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Offline Darkes7

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[Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« on: June 04, 2010, 04:31:41 PM »
Released: 2010
Genre: Pain of Salvation
Album line-up:
Daniel Gildenlow - vocals, guitars, bass, on some songs everything
Johan Hallgren - guitars and backing vocals
Fredrik Hermansson - keyboards
Leo Margarit - drums and backing vocals


I walk on

Pain of Salvation has proved to be a completely unpredictable band, and it seems like they've basically been taking a 180 degrees turn with every new album for some time now. Now, after looking at the entire society, illustrated by a very modern, dark and aggressive feel of the music on Scarsick, we go on a trip all the way back to the '70s rock. I admit I had been rather sceptical about this idea when I first heard about it – after all, why would a band known for progressing, completely out of the box experimentation and unconventional thinking return to the past? But well, since I belong to the (not so big, apparently) group which considers Scarsick a masterpiece, I decided to trust them. And it was, at least in terms of the musical style alone, a good choice. As you may expect from this band, you can't just summarise the entire album with a few words, such as “inspired by '70s rock” - it indeed sounds like the leading inspiration, but Road Salt One is far more diverse than that.

However, there are songs which definitely show the '70s idea very well – the opener, No Way is definitely the most obvious, with maybe a bit of a Led Zeppelin feel to it, and powerful, rocking verses contrasting with really calm chorus-like parts which definitely are going to make fans of “classic” Pain of Salvation feel at home. Another one is Linoleum (already known from the EP of the same title), which is one of my personal highlights of the album – song absolutely filled with emotion, again excellent contrast between heavier and softer parts, and vocals... ah yes, the vocals. This time, the songs are shorter, definitely less complex in terms of instrumentation (with one major exception) – and there's more place for vocals to shine even more than ever. I need to make it clear, though, that it's not Daniel Gildenlow alone here (although he seems to have played far more than the usual guitars in some songs, for unknown reasons) – Johan Hallgren is proving to be an amazing backing vocalist once again (again, Linoleum, or the chorus in Darkness of Mine), with his unique, powerful voice; the band's newly arrived drummer, Leo Margarit, also proves more than competent in providing harmony vocals, replacing Johan Langell well in this department just as well as drumming itself – which is definitely very decent on this album.

But in the end, it's obviously Daniel who keeps the central spot. If you disliked rapping and all other unusual vocal experiments on Scarsick, good news: they're (mostly) gone. I consider him to be my all-time favourite vocalist, and once again he proves to be entirely worthy of this position. The singing here is absolutely flawless, and the amount of skill and emotion displayed here is more than impressive – listen to Of Dust, with the really low bass singing (yes, it is also him according to the credits...) and then Where It Hurts with the extremely high-pitched screams at the end. He has even more space to prove himself on this album, and without doubt, he uses it well. If you're one of those who can't stand his singing, I don't give much chances this album is capable of changing it; but if you aren't, you'll be far more than satisfied.

The greatest highlight of his singing, as well as the greatest highlight of basically everything else and maybe one of the new highlights of the band's entire discography, is a song called Sisters. Contrary to the '70s “rocking” style of songs like No Way or Linoleum, this one is more reminiscent of older Pain of Salvation (I particularly feel the inspiration of the almost legendary song Undertow here). Still, it's something entirely new – led almost entirely by piano with a subtle bass and electric guitar appearing later, it's just incredibly subtle and emotional, creating an amazing atmosphere since the first note. Near the end, however, it becomes one of the most powerful moments of the album, with some monumental string arrangements (yes, real strings). Another song filled with atmosphere is the minimalistic title track, Road Salt, which is also one of the highlights of the album for me – with just some very subtle keyboards and vocals, it keeps the whole focus on singing, and it works perfect. Of Dust is another one (slightly reminiscent of the track Nauticus from “BE”) of those, with a fairly dark feel and excellent layered vocals.

On the other hand, though, there are songs which are more focused on instrumentation and complexity. The closing track, Innocence, is probably one of the most complicated and unusual things the band has done – complex riffs and vocal arrangements (the chorus is one of the weirdest things I've ever heard, to be honest, but it has a certain magic to it), plenty of chaos and something that sounds like an instrumental improvisation – can't recall any other PoS song ever have such thing, but I might be wrong – near the end, once again featuring strings. Curiosity is a bit simpler, and maybe the most energetic song here, with some really powerful drumming (definite highlight of Leo Margarit's performance) and dynamic riffing. It's fun to listen to, but... I've been only praising the album this far, and this is where we reach my main complaint about the album.

For the first time ever, I feel like a Pain of Salvation doesn't really know where is it going – it feels like if the band didn't know if it was meant to be something really serious like normally, or something that's just fun and rocking, and ended up with something that's both at once and with something missing here. There are some really serious, emotional moments, like the songs mentioned above – Sisters, Road Salt, Of Dust – but there are also tracks which are hanging somewhere in between and those who just go for full-on comedy (such as the aforementioned Curiosity or Sleeping Under the Stars, which has dethroned Disco Queen from the “weirdest PoS song ever” spot – this time no disco, more like a cabaret taken to a new level of insanity). Of course I don't need every album to be a philosophical debate, but here it really sounds inconsistent. The band calls their albums “worlds”, and in case of masterpieces like The Perfect Element, Remedy Lane or Scarsick, this name really fits, they really do feel like a world in itself – real and perfectly constructed. Unfortunately, here the whole thing kind of falls apart, and after moments of reflection we have something like “enough thinking, let's ROCK”. Some of these ideas definitely work – the beginning of Linoleum cracks me up every single time, there are many moments that bring a smile to my face, but... it just feels chaotic and disjointed.

It's an album with many great or at least very good songs – from those not mentioned yet, Tell Me You Don't Know is a really nice and simple song (with also a bit of '70s feel); Darkness of Mine greatly handles contrast and combines subtlety with emotional power; Where it Hurts is also a very serious, emotional piece (there's one exception, however – She Likes to Hide, which unfortunately is the only really weak point, since it's rather uninteresting and repetitive); it's not an album that suffers from lack of good compositions. But unfortunately, it lacks the ability to grab the listener into its world and make everything feel real (there are also a few  problems with the lyrics, such as No Way or She Likes to Hide again... did Daniel really write this?). And that's something this band seems to have mastered on the previous albums. This definitely isn't a bad album, not at all – and definitely, once again, requires several listens to show some of its magic (I'm writing this during the tenth listen. I believe it's enough). The band definitely hasn't lost their creativity, it's just that the depth that is missing somewhere. It's not the '70s-inspired sound and production which is the problem, as this has been executed perfectly. I don't know where the problem is, and I don't know if I will ever change my opinion. Either way, I'm still more than interested in hearing Road Salt Two...

Album rating: 80%

Personal favourites: Sisters, Linoleum, Road Salt
Least favourite: She Likes to Hide
« Last Edit: June 05, 2010, 05:23:36 AM by Darkes7 »

Offline Ultimetalhead

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2010, 05:02:43 PM »
You praise songs like Road Salt and Sisters, but you call She Likes to Hide repetitive? No sense does that make. My only other (major) differing opinion is on the lyrics and the overall "lost" feeling. The lyrics of No Way are actually really good, and She Likes to Hide isn't worthy of being shot down because of lyrics either. I think this album is definitely 100% serious, the only exception being Sleeping Under the Stars. You could make an argument that No Way is a "LET'S ROCK HELL YEAH" song, but the softer chorus carries a fuck-ton of emotion, and the heavier parts carry it just as well. Same with Linoleum.

Also, there's no way ANY song will EVER be weirder than Disco Queen.
Orion....that's the one with a bunch of power chords and boringly harsh vocals, isn't it?
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Offline shadowfex

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2010, 12:55:29 AM »
Good review Darkes, though it is probably 2-3 paragraphs too long.

I agree with everything about sisters, an absolute highlight in their discography.

Also, I think you meant that 'of dust' is similar to 'Nauticus' rather than 'Imago'  :D.

"Once he had forests and mountains that were only his - listening to him. Once he would run through the summer days catching memories for ages to come. Now he is dressing this naked floor with his flesh and blood, and time passes by. His trade of pain might just have lead him to deal with consequence for some change as time passes by"

Offline Quadrochosis

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2010, 01:03:17 AM »
I'd give it a 95 on your scale. It's their best album to date. BY FAR
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Offline TheVoxyn

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2010, 02:13:59 AM »
I'd give it a 95 on your scale. It's their best album to date. BY FAR
what is this i dont even

Offline Darkes7

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2010, 05:22:08 AM »
Good review Darkes, though it is probably 2-3 paragraphs too long.

I agree with everything about sisters, an absolute highlight in their discography.

Also, I think you meant that 'of dust' is similar to 'Nauticus' rather than 'Imago'  :D.


DAMN IT I meant to write Nauticus, I don't know why I wrote Imago instead :huh: Anyway, thanks. As for length, I know it's not the shortest review ever, but I just want everything to seem kind of logical, and escape as much as possible from "this is about instrumentation, this is about the vocals, and this is track-by-track" composition.

You praise songs like Road Salt and Sisters, but you call She Likes to Hide repetitive? No sense does that make. My only other (major) differing opinion is on the lyrics and the overall "lost" feeling. The lyrics of No Way are actually really good, and She Likes to Hide isn't worthy of being shot down because of lyrics either. I think this album is definitely 100% serious, the only exception being Sleeping Under the Stars. You could make an argument that No Way is a "LET'S ROCK HELL YEAH" song, but the softer chorus carries a fuck-ton of emotion, and the heavier parts carry it just as well. Same with Linoleum.

Also, there's no way ANY song will EVER be weirder than Disco Queen.
Well, these two don't have the same phrase repeating over and over, and they definitely don't drag even though they're longer (if we take the extended version of Road Salt into account). The rest is, well, kind of subjective I guess. Even on Metal Archives RS1 has two reviews this far with both being 100%, so mine is a bit of a different view, I guess (and other than that I've seen ratings from 2/5 to 5/5 and everything in between).

Offline Sintheros

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2010, 03:26:28 PM »
Remedy Lane
TPE 1
"BE"
Entropia
Scarsick
Road Salt One
One Hour by the Concrete Lake

Besides Sisters and Linoleum, I'm not very fond of this album at all.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2010, 04:35:24 PM by Sintheros »
caw caw

Offline Darkes7

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2010, 04:03:45 PM »
Well, I'd put it below TPE, Scarsick and RL, but it still doesn't mean it's bad, not at all.

Btw, just a note - I decided to edit my previous two reviews on DTF the same way like this one (added the basic information on top and favourite/least favourite songs).

Offline Sintheros

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2010, 04:35:14 PM »
Whoops, forgot Scarsick on my list there.
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Offline Adami

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2010, 01:41:17 PM »
For now.


TPE
RL
BE
Entropia
OHBTCL
RS1
Scarsick


The problem seems with RS1, so far anyway, that it seems like a collection of songs and not an album. It just doesn't feel full or something. I still love it, but it's lacking that big feeling that their other albums have.
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Offline Sintheros

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2010, 02:00:30 PM »
I think it's the only PoS album that isn't blatantly a concept album (and it might not be one at all)
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Offline Adami

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2010, 04:01:45 PM »
I think it's the only PoS album that isn't blatantly a concept album (and it might not be one at all)


It's not one. And Scarsick wasn't blatantly one either. I think technically Scarsick is one, but it doesn't sound like one. Road Salt is the only PoS album that is for sure NOT a concept album.
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Offline Darkes7

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2010, 04:47:13 PM »
Scarsick definitely is a concept album when you look deeper into it and there are lots of less obvious connections within the album and with TPE1. Road Salt One... well, I haven't found any. I guess we may get more answers when Road Salt Two appears, but for now it also seems rather loose.

Offline Sintheros

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2010, 05:44:13 PM »
Scarsick's not blatantly one, but it's supposed to be TPE part 2, from the perspective of "He" 7 years after the events of TPE part 1. He looks around and basically hates what the world's become, what he's become, and what he had that he can't have anymore. He ends it by jumping off a skyscraper to his death in the last song.
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Offline InTheNameOfGod

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2010, 06:15:51 PM »
Good review. I like all of the songs, even She Likes To Hide.

I hope PoS do something completely ridiculous next.
Currently listening to:

Anathema - We're Here Because We're Here *****
Kamelot - Poetry For The Poisoned **
Les Discrets - Septembre Et Ses Dernières Pensées ***1/2
Porcupine Tree - Deadwing *****
Symphony X - The Odyssey ****1/2





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Offline Adami

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2010, 08:25:05 PM »
Good review. I like all of the songs, even She Likes To Hide.

I hope PoS do something completely ridiculous next.

I'd prefer they do something completely good.
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Offline ariich

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2010, 03:42:31 AM »
Where's all this "RS1" isn't a concept album stuff coming from? I'm pretty sure it is!

And I get what you're saying about it not feeling complete, but that's probably because it isn't! Hopefully the end of part 2 has a suitably PoS style ending to round it off.

Offline Darkes7

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2010, 07:03:32 AM »
Yes, but the problem is that RS1 itself doesn't hold together that well. I can see the relation between the first three songs (No Way/She Likes to Hide/Sisters) even though it's fairly loose as well, but how do songs like Linoleum count? And how to combine all the "road" concept (Of Dust, Road Salt, Innocence) with the relationship theme? It definitely doesn't work as well as the previous albums. Maybe RS2 will explain more, but for now I don't see it.

Offline Adami

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2010, 12:03:26 PM »
Where's all this "RS1" isn't a concept album stuff coming from? I'm pretty sure it is!


From Daniel Gildenlow. He stated that it carries the same theme through out, but none of the stories are directly related.
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Offline contest_sanity

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2010, 01:31:20 PM »
Yes, but the problem is that RS1 itself doesn't hold together that well.
I think perhaps people have been spoiled by the conceptual nature of their previous records.  Yeah, there may not be a connecting "story" to RS1, but all the songs fit together rather well for me.

Offline InTheNameOfGod

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2010, 02:52:16 PM »
I'm pretty sure I heard him say the songs are not in ascending order.

So the story is bound to be mixed up along with RS2.
Currently listening to:

Anathema - We're Here Because We're Here *****
Kamelot - Poetry For The Poisoned **
Les Discrets - Septembre Et Ses Dernières Pensées ***1/2
Porcupine Tree - Deadwing *****
Symphony X - The Odyssey ****1/2





Sweat, skin, a pulse divine to balance this restless mind.

Offline Adami

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2010, 02:54:33 PM »
I'm pretty sure I heard him say the songs are not in ascending order.

So the story is bound to be mixed up along with RS2.

As I stated before, he said there's no story outside of each song. Just general themes.
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Offline Adami

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2010, 03:00:28 PM »
http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=141005

There's the interview where he says it.



Also, I don't care what direciton PoS go next. But Daniel HAS to lose those damn earings. If he has them for much longer, I will boycott PoS and blow up sweden and france.
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Offline Arcaeus

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Re: [Music] Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One
« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2010, 02:34:00 AM »
Why Fra-... y'know what, go ahead :biggrin: