Review Summary: Pain of Salvation complete their vintage rock interpretation of the Ying Yang complex.
Right after the release of Scarsick
back in 2006, Daniel Gildenlöw, the mastermind behind the Pain of Salvation prog rock outfit, had come up with a plan to (permanently or temporarily, it remains uncertain at the moment these lines are being written) part ways with the band’s original progressive rock/metal ways and take a more straightforward “70’s-esque” rock turn. The material written for Scarsick
’s successor, turned out to be enough for a double album and the band wanted to issue it as such, due to its collective cohesiveness and also because a new album in stores was an imminent prerequisite for participating in a 2009 “Progressive Nation” tour with Dream Theater and Zappa Plays Zappa. Unfortunately, their distribution company went down, so the schedule for a double album release and the plans to follow the aforementioned tour package was abandoned. The first ensemble of songs was released in the form of the already known Road Salt One
in May 2010, while the second part would be released approximately a year later under the sequel name Road Salt Two
. As the latter has finally come to fulfill its temporal appointment, Pain of Salvation complete their vintage rock interpretation of the Ying Yang complex.
Road Salt Two
is interrelated with Road Salt One
in the same way black and white exist and interact within the Chinese Ying Yang symbol, not only in terms of the art layouts but more importantly because of the actual music itself. While Road Salt One
was for the most part, melodic, gloomy and melancholic, Road Salt Two
is more about groove and intensity. The new album is more upbeat and aggressive within the 70’s heavy rock sense, while the appropriately raw sound production contributes decisively in that direction as well. Daniel’s vocals are passionate and intimate as in before, while they fit perfectly to the overall aggressive attitude of his music mates, whose instrument handling, is “archaic” but lively vibrant. The melodic aspect in Road Salt Two
, is brought forth only in discrete occasions (check “To The Shoreline”, “1979” and “Through The Distance”) and is largely fueled by the feeling of nostalgia with respect to what had previously taken place in Road Salt One
, in terms of both the music and the lyrical concept therein.
In retrospect, with Road Salt Two
Pain of Salvation excellently conclude what they had started with Road Salt One
. That is, an atypical protest for the gradual dwindling of prog rock/metal from an innovating force of artistic creation to another stale and tiresome musical recipe. With the Road Salt album series, Pain of Salvation prove that they have the necessary nerve so as to completely change their identity, while risking their artistic (and commercial) magnitude and set an emphatic example for all their contemporaries.