I am somewhat new to this creative prog metal group from Sweden, Pain of Salvation. So far, I have found their music very enjoyable to listen to. This particular album is outstanding from start to finish. Daniel Gildenlöw’s impressive vocal talents are in full display accompanied by some very well-crafted songs. For purposes of this review, I will ignore the overriding theme (concept) of the album and focus instead on what really moves me: the music.
“Beginnings” is the first song and really gets the listener ready for what is to come. The music fades in with mellow acoustic sounds providing a solid foundation before the guitars come roaring in to remind us that Pain of Salvation plays some mighty nice metal. The stage has been set for Remedy Lane.
The album is divided into three chapters with “Beginnings” being treated as an introduction. Chapter 1 begins with “Ending Theme”, a fabulous tune with a very memorable melody line highlighted by crunchy guitars and Daniel’s layered vocals covering numerous octaves (as he is frequent to do in many of the band’s songs).
“Fandango” is next and is probably the least accessible song on the album with its crazy time signature changes and syncopation. Though I really like this song, it took me a while to be able to digest it and enjoy it to its fullest.
“A Trace of Blood” follows and provides a truly amazing dichotomy in that the music is so very very good and the lyrics are so very very gut-wrenching. I get excited with the catchy melody and emotive vocals, yet the words are so painful that it makes me feel guilty for enjoying this music so much. Daniel and his wife suffered greatly (and still do) so that we could be blessed with such a fascinating song. “A Trace of Blood” is a huge highlight on this album.
“This Heart of Mine” immediately follows and is a soft ballad with wonderful vocals and a beautiful acoustic guitar. This song provides a refreshing change of pace as all of the songs up until this point have been at a torrid pace. The band slows it down and the effect is very nice, in my opinion. Chapter 1 comes to a close.
Chapter 2 begins with “Undertow” which I think is another brilliant rocker. This chapter of the album flows so well that it is easy to forget where one song ends and the next begins. “Rope Ends” is next and like “Fandango”, utilizes some pretty wild time signature changes. But the chorus is fantastic and is another true highlight of this album. “Chain Sling” follows and is another good installment though I don’t find anything remarkable about the music. Chapter 2 closes with “Dryad of the Woods”, a beautiful acoustic instrumental that is mesmerizing and haunting at the same time.
“Remedy Lane” eases the listener into Chapter 3 with a short instrumental, setting up “Waking Every God” in which Daniel really belts out the words with a lot of force and high pitch. Things slow down considerably in “Second Love”, a true ballad with wonderfully layered vocals. I can get bored with ballads but I love this track. “Beyond the Pale” is the concluding song and let me tell you, it just explodes. Great vocals, spine-tingling guitar solos, building momentum all come together in this, the grand finale.
In summary, this album is worthy of a very high rating for this reason: there is not a bad track to be found on the album. If you like music that rocks, I think you will agree with me that Remedy Lane is fabulous prog metal.
I suppose there comes a time for every band to release a bad album - this is it for Pain of Salvation. Although I have to admit that it sucks on a high level - it has great production, flawless musicianship, decent songs - it lacks inspiration, is full of bland social bashing, and is ultimately going nowhere. Due to Mr. Gildenlöw it is the second part of The Perfect Element, but I fail to see how. Granted, there are a few highlights that remind of TPE pt.1 - Kingdom of Loss and Enter Rain for example. Relaxed, kind of gloomy Post Rock/Metal with tasteful guitars and atmospheric effects. But as an album it seems very patchy, the atmosphere is ruined by the extremely bland tracks America and Disco Queen, by the out of place rapping on the first two tracks (it was cool on the first track of TPE pt.1, it does not work here at all) and by the indecisiveness and meandering pointlessness which is most apparent in the track Idiocracy. What happened to the seemless connection of songs, the recurring motifs, the grand concept and brilliant, thoughtful lyrics?
I like the music, but the killer melodies of the previous albums are missing, and the rapping doesn't really fit.
The lyrics are pathetic ... it's hard to believe that the same Daniel Gildenlöw wrote albums like ... all previous ones, in fact!
Disco Queen 8:23
Kingdom of Loss 6:43
Flame to the Moth 5:59
Enter Rain 10:04
A great debut for an amazing band. Although Pain of Salvation has somewhat shifted their style since this album and produced great, if not better works, some songs on here remain among their best, such as "Winning a War" and "Revival". Just a sweet album.
! (foreword) 6:11
Great opener, great lyrics.
Welcome to Entropia 1:22
I'm still not sure what the purpose of this track is. Seperaete from "! (Foreword)" and the rest of the album? I don't feel it's well done at all either, as Void of Her and Circles are.
Winning A War 6:32
Again, great lyrics.
People Passing By 9:07
Oblivion Ocean 4:42
Good song, but not as good as the rest.
Definitely a weird song.
One of my favorites by them.
Void Of Her 1:46
Beautiful and emotional.
To The End 4:56
Cool and short.
Plains Of Dawn 7:23
BE is perhaps the best album to come out in years. Daniel Gildenlow brings forth a very intriguing concept of God and why things are the way they are. The album is full of insightful lyrics, further showing that Gildelow is one of the best lyricists today. Also, shifting from albums such as Entropia and Remedy Lane, Pain of Salvation has help from a small orchestra, which makes the album far more interesting than previous efforts. The album also contains dramatic shifts from tracks consisting solely of speech to tracks with acoustic guitars to tracks with heavy metal riffs. This album isn't the same as many other greats in that it isn't full of great, independent songs. Many of the tracks which could be considered weaker, are indeed weaker when listened to by themselves. However, once each track is put into its place, it contributes to the work as a whole. Take for example, "Vocari Dei". Even though it has some nice music, it is comprised entirely of messages left on an answering machine. Who wants to listen to that as an individual track? It wouldn't work on its own but when included in BE, it adds to the concept. BE definitely isn't a collection of tracks, but truly, an album and what every album should aspire to be.
Animae Partus (I Am) 1:48
Deus Nova 3:18
Pulvius Aestivus 5:00
Nauticus (Drifting) 4:58
I like the vocals and guitar.
Dea Pecuniae 10:09
Vocari Dei 3:50
Pretty music and very emotional. The idea of having fans record messages to God on an answering machine is very interesting.
The several shifts from extreme heaviness to extreme mellowness (and prettiness) make this song great. The "rap" by Imago in the beginning is pretty cool too.
Nihil Morari 6:21
Music + Lyrics = Amazing.
Latericius Valete 2:27
Iter Impius 6:21
Perhaps Daniel Gildenlow's best job as a vocalist.
Martius/Nauticus II 6:41
Animae Partus II 4:08