Pain Of Salvation - One Hour By The Concrete Lake

Year of Release: 1999
Label: InsideOut Music America
Catalog Number: IOMACD 2001
Format: CD
Total Time: 58:35:00

There's something a bit ironic in reviewing an album filled with such weighty issues as can be found on Pain Of Salvation's One Hour By The Concrete Lake. Those issues are war and consumption of our Earth's resources, with the underlying theme of greed. In that, it is a very pessimistic album, though it tries for a somewhat hopeful outlook at the end.

Take the track "Water" for example - those in the "civilized world" (where "civilized" means economic wealth, of course) take it for granted. It flows from our pipes, comes in nice plastic bottles, runs soapy off our driveways into the drains (and eventually out to sea)? and yet in some places in the so-called Third World, a smidgen of drinkable water is often a rare thing.

I won't belabor the point here, since your particular world view is either the same or different, and this isn't meant to be my "bully-pulpit." So, while one will enjoy listening to this from a musical perspective, if you aren't one for weighty issues with your prog metal, you might find this a little heavy handed.

For comparison's sake, Pain of Salvation sound a bit like Queensryche - more than a bit actually, but far short of calling them clones. Vocalist, guitarist, conceptualist Daniel Gildenlöw is blessed with a terrific voice with great range, and unlike some vocalists, he knows when the high notes are appropriate and when the low growls are. His tone is much like Geoff Tate's, and therein lies the strongest similarity to Queensryche. I also thought of Vanden Plas during "Inside," the second track in, with the loping keys out front. And with "Pilgrim," I thought of Arena, as here Gildenlöw sounds a bit like ex-vocalist Paul Wrightson and the structure follows that which Clive Nolan uses for many Arena tracks. Oh, and I hear a little Marillion during "Inside Out." Make no mistake though, Pain are firmly rooted in prog metal.

There are some fantastic guitar parts by Johan Hallgren and Gildenlöw, my favourite being those during the closer "Inside Out," making this also my favourite track overall ("Water" comes awfully close?well, they all do, actually). Johan Langell is an amazing drummer, I only wish the production was a little less steely - but, on the other hand, it all goes to underscore the idea of The Machine. In fact, there is an industrial feel to "The Machine" (track 3) where Langell's cymbals recall the sighing of outtake valves as well, of course, machinery (don't think Depeche Mode or anything, not quite as industrial sounding as some of their stuff...*).

While the keyboards take a prominent role in "Inside" - they are much more in the mix for the rest of the album, as the drums and percussion take the lead for the middle. Perhaps they are mixed a little too high, but not at the expense of the music. Kristoffer Gildenl&oum;w provides the bass which often churns and percolates underneath.

The only minus is the booklet - it's great looking, but on a few pages the text of the "libretto" is lost - a shame since so much work has gone into the lyrics. You can make them out with the right lighting and angle, but... well, nothing that a close listening won't solve.

This is a great release, and one that had I heard earlier, would surely have made my top 10 list for its shear musicality alone. Again, even if you care nothing for the politicized lyrics, seek this one out for the music.

(*um...yeh, I've heard a bit of Depeche in my time...)

Released in Japan in 1998, and by InsideOut in Europe in 1999 (IOMCD030/SPV 085-31342CD)

Spirit Of The Land (0:43) / Inside (6:12) / The Big Machine (4:21) / Handful Of Nothing (5:37) / New Year's Eve (5:37) / Water (5:05) / Home (5:44) / Black Hills (6:32) / Shore Serenity (3:17) / Pilgrim (3:13) / Inside Out (6:37)

Daniel Gildenlöw - lead vocals and guitars
Fredrik Hermansson - keyboards and samplers
Johan Langell - drums, percussion and vocals
Kristoffer Gildenlöw - bass and vocals
Johan Hallgren - guitar and vocals

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: April 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1590
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]