Pain of Salvation
Road Salt One


2.0
poor

Review

by Acre USER (33 Reviews)
July 15th, 2010 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The further stagnation of Pain of Salvation.

Remember when Pain of Salvation was considered one of the leading innovators in progressive rock? It wasn’t that long ago, if I remember correctly. It’s only been ten years since the release of their landmark album The Perfect Element, Part I, an album still considered a classic in the genre. From their, they kept the goodwill flowing with two more instant classics, Remedy Lane and the ambitious BE. For a band with three consecutive progressive rock masterpieces under their belt (and even before that, two very solid albums), it’s amazing how quickly the good will for the band dried up. I mean, yes Scarsick was underwhelming, and ultimately a bit of a disappointment, but surely one clunker can’t completely derail a band’s entire career? And yet, judging by the lack of buzz around Road Salt One’s release, you may be tempted to believe otherwise. Has the world simply moved on, or is there some greater cause behind the rejection of Road Salt One?

Yep. There is.

Sorry to be blunt, but if we’re going to tiptoe around it we’re not going to get anywhere: Road Salt One is clearly the weakest release of the band’s career, and it’s hard to tell who should be held at fault. The band’s label famously went bankrupt last year, preventing the band from taking part in the Progressive Nation ’09 tour, which may explain the greatest shortcoming of the album, the production. It’s awful, and not in the way that you can simply overlook and focus on the music. It actively sabotages numerous songs on the album, from beginning to end. Opening track “No Way” sounds completely hollow throughout, as if there’s no weight to any single part of the music. “Tell Me You Don’t Know” clearly was intended to have a low-fi atmosphere, but they take it about three steps past that into the direction of demo quality. Even otherwise good songs like “Sisters” suffer, with some of the worst sounding climactic cymbal crashes I’ve ever heard; someone clearly had no sense for how to properly mic the drums on this album. Oh, and don’t even get me started on “Linoleum”. Calling it potentially the worst song the band have ever recorded is perhaps a tad harsh, but only barely.

When a song manages to succeed, it generally does it in spite of the laughable production. “Road Salt” wisely only includes the two instruments on the album not hampered by the production, the keyboard and Daniel Gildenlow’s vocals, resulting in a solid if unmemorable ballad. “Innocence” embraces its 70’s guitar influence, blending it with that classic Pain of Salvation sound with interesting results. “Curiosity” is actually the one track on the album I’d call “great” unconditionally, perhaps critically because it’s the only track on the album that has something resembling a pulse. For the most part, the album is content to loaf around at a consistently slow pace; picture BE's pacing, without the rich orchestration or ambition that defined that album. With "Curiosity", it sounds like the band is having fun, and that kind of infectious quality carries over into the song, giving the album a song that might actually get stuck in your head.

Sadly, the rest of the album is mostly a slog, primarily because you get the sense that you’ve heard everything on the album before. “Of Dust” is basically a less compelling version of “Nauticus (Drifting)” from BE; “Linoleum” is “Spitfall” without the compelling dementia. That lack of creativity permeates even the lyrics, which revolve in large part around endless platitudes about “the road”. It’s such a trite metaphor that it’s actually moderately embarrassing that a lyricist as good as Gildenlow would sink to such depths. Without the creativity of previous releases, and with truly awful production to accompany these half-baked songs, the band is essentially shooting out both good feet. Then again, two bad albums do not kill a legacy. It takes three to make a trend, and with Road Salt Two coming later this year, I certainly hope they’ve been saving all their good songs and production value for album #2. If not, we may be looking at the moment where Pain of Salvation stop being genre innovators and becomes that band that “used” to be awesome. I’d say I’m hopeful, but to quote the album, “Maybe this time the road is just too rough / To take me home”.



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user ratings (305)
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Voivod STAFF (4)
Pain of Salvation strip their music off ALL "prog fat", yet once again they deliver an overwhelming ...

AlecJankewich (3)
Change is not a very good idea… especially when you are pretty damn good before it....

Genrebender12 (3)
Gildenlow and Co. keeps driving over new musical landscapes, sometimes for the better, othertimes fo...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Acre
July 15th 2010


847 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Bah, it's not a great review, but I felt like I needed to write it regardless.

crazyblinddude
July 15th 2010


3390 Comments


Ehh it's decent. The review that is. The album....notsomuch.

Yazz_Flute
July 15th 2010


18964 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Review's a bit colloquial for my taste, and until the final paragraph it seemed as though your only problem with the album was the production.



I don't think this album is THAT bad, it's just really strange coming from PoS.

Digging: Caligula's Horse - Rise Radiant

Photon
July 15th 2010


1304 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

well this turned out to be really bad(the album that is) .rating is spot on

lostforwords
July 15th 2010


451 Comments


"I don't think this album is THAT bad, it's just really strange coming from PoS."

Agreed.
PoS have changed too much, they even participated in Sweden's national final for the Eurovision song contest.
Not that it's bad per se, but a progressive band in a pop contest, imagine the change...

Acre
July 15th 2010


847 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm not inherently against them changing. It's more that their execution of this direction is far from what it needs to be to make the transition feel natural.

bodiesinflight57
July 15th 2010


870 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I might write a more positive review of this.

lostforwords
July 15th 2010


451 Comments


Neither am I, I just wanted to state that they are not the band they were, but only in terms of style, not quality.
I usually enjoy bands changing their style, I wish Dream Theater would do it too ;)

DoubtGin
July 15th 2010


6880 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I quiet like this

scissorlocked
July 15th 2010


3531 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hey, the review is ok and I get your point,but I disaggree on some things



The production isn't that bad.It just has this antique,rock feeling which I believe Gildenlow had in mind.He just wanted another take on their sound,and I believe that for THIS he should be criticised or not.



Furthermore,some songs still may sound uninspired but there are golden moments too.Sisters is undeniably haunting although his simple structure



as for the lyrics,I too believe are worse than everything else he has written



And linoleum is a great song in my opinion



anyway I will pos this

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 15th 2010


8841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This record is a "LESS IS MORE" case and in this light, the band succeeds big time.



This is not poor by any means.



The vocals of Daniel Gildenlow don't count for anything?

Digging: Falkonera - ?????? ???? ??????

lostforwords
July 16th 2010


451 Comments


I believe that as usual the PoS's most emotional moments in the record are the best. In that retrospect I really liked "Sisters", "Darkness of Mine" "Where it hurts" and the title track.
The rest of the record seems to me a bit hollow and too drawn into its influences.
Gildenlow is really good though

CutMan
July 28th 2010


1926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So, you guys, semen stains wash out surprisingly easily...

mrend55
July 16th 2011


54 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I thought everyone was just saying the album was bad coz of little things like always. But then i put this album on and i was shocked, in my ears its really bad. Big letdown...

Yazz_Flute
December 3rd 2011


18964 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album makes me sad.

CakeWithCream
December 21st 2011


1065 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

am i the only one who likes this haha

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 21st 2011


8841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nope



I don't quite understand why this is so under-appreciated, both in general and with respect to Road Salt Two.

Yazz_Flute
December 21st 2011


18964 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like Sisters, Linoleum, and Curiosity.

Xalphiz
March 11th 2013


6 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

My least favorite PoS album. But Sisters... Damn...

Titan
March 11th 2013


21081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah Sisters is great.......RS2 was awesome though imo



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