Review Summary: This is a good box set if you would like to see PoS from a different angle. The live performance is great, the documentary is interesting and PoS is as always, full of surprises!
I’ve been a fan of Pain of Salvation for 5 years now, ever since I heard their famous “ballad” called Used. Their technical skills and musical talent are demonstrated throughout their whole career. But the thing that distinguishes them from all the other prog-rock bands is the uniqueness of the sound. It’s something you’ve just never heard before.
Just yesterday I got my hands on the new Special Edition DVD, entitled “Ending themes on the two deaths of Pain of Salvation” (I’m a fan… I had to have the special one!). Since I live in México, I needed some time to get to it, so I waited 2 months for it to come, and to be honest, I was expecting just a bit more.
The box set includes two DVD’s with lots of extras, two CD’s and a 52-page colored booklet. Let’s start with the moving pictures.
The main thing on the first DVD is the 80 minute long documentary. It’s about the every day life of Pain of Salvation. You get to know the band members from a whole new and different angle. Rockstars have a stereotype perfectly described in Nickelbacks “Rockstar”: Drugs, Sex and Rock’n Roll. But in this 80 minute film, you will notice a weird thing about Pain of Salvation. You will notice that in spite of they’re 7 studio albums and the musical magic that goes with it, they have traded drugs for pain pills, sex for floor sweeping and rock’n roll for… well, you know: prog-rock. While watching the film, you get the feeling that Pain of Salvation is not the great band it really is. You see Johan Hallgren carrying some crates, Fredrik sweeping the floor and Daniel checking out the T-shirt sales wondering if they will make enough money during the tour. That really hits you… especially if you just saw Mike Portnoy getting his daily massage on the “Chaos in Motion” DVD. This first DVD offers lots of extras, which are a bit boring. The best part of these extras is the 3D version of Dea Pecuniae, although you can’t really watch it in 3D unless you’ve got 3D glasses, because the box set doesn’t include ‘em (I have not watched it in 3D… I need my glasses!). Overall, the first DVD of the box set is interesting for those who crave to know a bit more of they’re favorite band. It’s always nice to stalk on those that are admired!
The second DVD is the main dish of the night, being a live performance of Pain of Salvation in Amsterdam. The stage looks a bit small, and so does the venue. But that doesn’t matter, because it gives you that “cozy” feeling and makes you feel right where you belong: home. The set list is pretty damn good, but I would have liked that some other songs were played also, such as “Inside”, “Reconciliation” or “Beyond the Pale”. The performance is quite good and dynamic. Daniel Gildenlöw astonishes all with his great voice while Johan Hallgren blows our mind with his killer solos. In this live performance we can actually presence some real PoS magic: they have modified 4 of their songs to make them more suitable for the occasion. I must make the special mention of “Diffidentia”. People would ask themselves “how the heck can they play it without the Orchestra of Eternity?”, but PoS has done it again. They have dressed the song for the party and made the proper arrangements for it to sound just as heavy and inspiring as ever. A true PoS moment. This second DVD has lots of extras also, but to access them you have to answer a quiz to se if you are worthy of watching. But once you unlock them, you’ll notice that they are not what you thought. The section called “Casting tryouts” was supposed to be songs that did not make it into the Scarsick CD. One would think that they are new songs, but instead the tryouts turn out to be early versions of 4 songs from the Scarsick album… not what I had expected!
Next on the box is the two CD version of the DVD concert. I usually don’t like listening to live performances… I’d rather just listen to the studio version. But this one really knocked me off my feet. The sound is terrific! You can hear every instrument clearly and even the audience is… well… audible. The guitars are slightly higher than the rest of the instruments, and that makes it sound just a bit more heavy… it’s just really cool!
The final item in the box is the famous 52 page colored-booklet. Honestly, I can do without it. The first part is a description of the 80 minute film, while the second part is the lyrics to the songs in the set list. It also contains several photographs of the band members that can actually be found in they’re web site. The colored booklet is no great addition to the box set, but it’s nice to have it.
Overall, the box set is pretty damn good and worth the money I spent (let alone that the box itself is really nice). Truly, I was expecting a wee bit more, but it finally gave me the opportunity to see Pain of Salvation (unlike the BE DVD) in a normal performance and in their normal day by day life. If you are really into the band, you should probably get your hands on one of these!
Handful of Nothing
Flame to Moth