Pain Of Salvation - The Perfect Element Part 1

Year of Release: 2000
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD067/SPV 085-41282 CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 72:37:00

Although their respective musical worlds are miles apart to me Pain of Salvation approaches their music like Vulgar Unicorn. Every new album by Vulgar Unicorn is a surprise from start to finish and not a replica of the previous output. The same can be said about our Swedish friends from Pain of Salvation.

After their Entropia debut came the smashing album One Hour By The Concrete Lake which immediately put the band on the prog metal map. Obviously the band knew their follow-up album had to be even better because now the entire international media would be highly interested. After listening to The Perfect Element I'm convinced they will!

Opening track "Used" kicks off in a very heavy way, maybe even getting close to the likes of Slipknot, yet the band knows how to make this unique and interesting from the very start what with including those tiny computer beeps in amongst chaotic mayhem, sudden melodic vocal harmonies, and a splendid, romantic guitar solo. The album, which is based on a concept revolving around the meeting and history of two broken individuals, of course holds many different atmospheres as it has to illustrate different frames of minds. "In The Flesh" starts with the softer side of it all with a repetitive guitar backing nice melodic vocals. But then the rhythm gets fiercer and Daniel's voice starts heading towards vintage Robert Plant entertwined with the uniqueness of Pearl Jam. Acoustic guitar melts together with piano to create a blood-curdling end. Next up is "Ashes," a strong song which has Pearl Jam, Faith No More and King's X elements all knitted into one. Certain parts of the song are rather "naked" but in the chorus there's a wall of sound coming down on you so you better beware! A video has been shot for "Ashes," a video that will be available on the limited edition of the album.

To me the first big surprise comes in the form of "Morning On Earth." It's really difficult to explain just why as you really have to hear this track (preferably with headphones) and all the little details which come creeping in. The drums have no snare, there's an almost operatic approach, theatrical in every way introducing jazzy guitar, acoustic guitar and an out of this world string section. This track will surely make your flesh creep! "Idioglossia" is once again "full speed ahead" with chopping guitars and throbbing basslines all the way. What's nice is the texture of Daniel's voice, which adopts itself to the kind of atmosphere the songs evoke. This guy can sing loud and I mean really LOUD but then again he can approach the melody from a fragile angle as well, such as in "Her Voices," where he sometimes gets in the region of R&B nicely blending with piano and reminding us of Faith No More. The song introduces ethnic influences, a hypnotizing rhythm even violin and once again an outstanding performance by drummer Johan Langell. Towards the end more voices get together but I would have loved to hear a huge choir here adding to the bombastic nature of the finale. Acoustic finesse in Extreme vein is the reference for "Dedication." Again it's all systems go for "King Of Loss" which has the guitars as absolute Olympic champions ending together with classical strings in total chaos.

It has to be said that the twelve songs on this disc are kind of grouped into three seperate packages of four songs each so we have come to the latest batch. "Reconciliation" has both guitars complementing each other whilst the vocals follow the piano guideline resulting in a progressive Skunk Anansie. A guitar almost sounding like a clavinet is the main attraction in the intro for "Song For The Innocent" before distortion sets in, introducing the bombastic nature of the Pain of Salvation music. Sadly the grand piano sounds too much in the background. "Falling" is a small showcase for the guitar skills. The album closes with "The Perfect Element," which once again is backed by an orchestral arrangement that forms the backdrop to heavy riffs. Acoustic guitar soon drowns in a sea of strings whilst the song builds and builds, layer upon layer so as to let the heavy guitar riffs into the arena once again. Acoustic guitars introduce violin, female vocals (I would have loved to hear Within Temptation's Sharon den Adel here!) and some inventive little details lead the way for all the various voices to meet in one central point. The song ends with some ace percussion as if it was an outtake from the musical Stomp. Breathtaking!

If you're getting sick of all those would-be Dream Theater clones then get acquainted with what real progressive metal should really be about: Pain of Salvation, without any doubt The Perfect Element!

Also released by InsideOut Music America (IOMACD 2019-2)

Used (5:23) / In The Flesh (8:36) / Ashes (4:28) / Morning On Earth (4:34) / Idioglossia (8:29) / Her Voices (7:56) / Dedication (4:00) / King Of Loss (9:46) / Reconciliation (4:24) / Song For The Innocent (3:02) / Falling (1:50) / The Perfect Element (10:09)

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

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 Rock

Origin SE

Added: September 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1044
Language: english


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