Pain Of Salvation - Remedy Lane


Year of Release: 2002
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 092
Format: CD
Total Time: 65:38:00

One of the most respected progressive metal bands in the business today is Pain of Salvation, and for good reason. They are that good. Not content to just emulate or imitate the more widely known bands, Pain of Salvation confidently strike out on their own, forging new territory with each album -- and there are only four of those to date. You will find elements of others in their music, of course, a bit of Queensryche here, a bit of Pink Floyd there, but these are mere nods, merely scattered threads in a tapestry full of threads. While many expected that their next release would be The Perfect Element Part II (the successor to 2000's The Perfect Element Part I, naturally), instead the band present Remedy Lane. If you want a truly satisfying experience, one that provides both emotion and emotional release, then you need look no further than here. Sure to be on everyone's best of lists when 2002 comes to an end.

How to describe this album? It is eclectic. It is the kind of album that you both stand back from and admire the technical aspects and dive into and merely experience. On the one hand, you admire the craftsmanship, the clean edges, the smooth lines, the bold strokes, the rich colours, the shadings and textures, how the parts fit together or play off one another. In other words, sharp, crisp, precise guitar solos, crackling drums and percussion, solid bass, nuanced vocals, lyrical keys -- just the kind of technical perfection we have come to expect from POS. On the other hand, it is fragile and strong, light and dark, moody, angry, melancholy, pensive, bitter, warm, cold, soft, harsh, light, heavy and everything in between. There are moments of great beauty and moments of terrible ugliness, and there's a certain beauty in that ugliness as well. Don't get me wrong, though, that isn't to suggest that some things don't work, not that kind of ugliness. The emotion felt on this album is palpable; you feel it, even if it does reach into the darker corners.

From the dense and intense "Beginnings," to the sprightly "Fandango" (the title tells you a lot about the rhythm) to the soft-pop-rock of "This Heart Of Mine," POS explore the gamut. Yes, I really said "soft-pop rock" ... Ambrosia, Air Supply, Bread, Firefall...(etc.) all come to mind on this track ... and yet, also Holidays In Eden-period Marillion. But remember this is POS, things aren't quite so simple as that. This song is no less powerful or moving for all that "softness," as it slowly builds and opens up with a wonderfully soulful guitar solo. Oh yes, you know what I mean. Gilmour and Rothery. Warm, melodic choruses contrast against cold, angular verses - light and dark. It's is more than mere music, it is a work of art; songs aren't merely sung or played, they are sculpted. That which we expect from every music artist regardless of genre. In some ways, the same could be said about "Second Love." The comparison I'd make here is to a low-key, bluesy Southern Rock ballad... "Beyond The Pale" is another arty piece, at times harsh and heavy, at other times mid-tempo -- the strange thought that came to mind at one point was Beatles meets Metallica. At several points, Middle Eastern figures emerge to carry things, but give way to other rhythms and patterns. We even get a bit of rap here, too. Well, more like rap-metal, which gives way to Pink Floyd-like guitar leads -- which gives way to plunking guitar notes which are drowned by throbbing bass and pulsing percussion ... and then we shift again, and again... and yet at no point to you think the band is losing its way.

"A Trace Of Blood" is perhaps the most instantly accessible, and sounds at first quite a bit like Rush, if a little more melodic (more keys in the mix, warmer guitar). I'd call Pain Of Salvation the King Crimson of prog, if only because, like King Crimson, POS are constantly trying to push the envelope, experimenting with texture and sound. And you get both the traditional and the experimental in "A Trace of Blood." I've never been a fan of growly vocals (gruff, yes, growly, no), but the degree to which vocalist Daniel Gildenlow goes is just perfect ... just enough grizzliness to get the desired effect but no so much that it becomes...well, ridiculous. In amongst all the artiness -- scratched strings, staccato strums, punchy drums, booming bass, there emerges this chorus that is at once heartbreakingly emotional and catchy.

There is no simple way to tell you what you find here, because no song is any one thing. Something that starts out sparse and fragile, like "Undertow" or "Waking Every God" becomes something much bigger. Goes from intimate to "yelling from the mountain-top." It is cathartic. There is very little space between the tracks, so POS pack a lot of music in, 13 tracks worth. No filler. Some might find the varying textures and moods between and within the tracks a little disconcerting, like a rollercoaster with too many curves and corkscrews. In some ways, it is a dizzying trip through the POS psyche. "Dryad Of The Woods" is an acoustic based instrumental that is full of lyrical warmth, glowing warmth. It would fit quite well with the contemporary instrumental crowd, I'm thinking especially of Paul Speer here, but also Craig Chaquico. The instrument line up includes steel string guitar, piano, brushed percussion (or so it sounds).

The title track is epic and yet lasts barely over two minutes. Phased effects suggest strobing lights, humming behind this is a very deep toned drone that emerges and subsides ... and to this crisp drumming ... I thought this the perfect accompaniment to Blue Man Group or Circe De Soul.

Writing a review of this album at this point is only cursory. This is an album you need to live with for a while, need to learn all it's nuances and shadings. Even though nearly every one of us reviewers here have commented on this album, I still don't think any of us have done it justice. There is just so much going on. Take a walk down Remedy Lane for yourself.


Tracklisting:
Beginnings (2:26) / Ending Theme (4:59) / Fandango (5:51) / A Trace Of Blood (8:17) / This Heart Of Mine (4:01) / Undertow (4:47) / Rope Ends (7:02) / Chain Sling (3:58) / Dryad Of The Woods (4:55) / Remedy Lane (2:17) / Waking Every God (5:29) / Second Love (4:21) / Beyond The Pale (9:56)

Musicians:
Daniel Gildenlöw - gutars, vocals
Johan Hallgren - guitars
Kristoffer Gildenlöw - bass
Fredrik Hermansson - keyboards
Johan Langell - drums

Discography:
Entropia (1998)
One Hour By The Concrete Lake (1999)
The Perfect Element (2000)
Remedy Lane (2002)
12:5 (2004)
Be (2004)
The Orchestration Of Eternity - Be (original stage production)
Scarsick (2007)
Linoleum (EP) (2009)
Ending Themes (On The Two Deaths Of Pain Of Salvation) (2009)
Road Salt One (2010)
Road Salt Two (2011)
Falling Home (2014)
The Passing Light Of Day (2016)

Be - Live DVD (DVD) (2005)
Ending Themes (On The Two Deaths Of Pain Of Salvation) (DVD) (2009)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin SE

Added: March 24th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website: www.painofsalvation.com
Hits: 435
Language: english

  

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