Pain Of Salvation - Road Salt One

12 songs
51:48 minutes
***** ***


Swedish progressive metal band Pain Of Salvation were founded back in 1984 but they still manage to surprise with new ideas on every new album. This is also the case on their newest effort Road Salt One which is a crass break from its predecessor Scarsick. The first spin in my stereo left me rather alienated, but with the necessary amount of patience and dedication, it’s impossible to miss the music’s subtlety.

The band led by singer Daniel Gildenl÷w, who has just been touring as a live member of Transatlantic, has planned a double set, with Road Salt Two scheduled to appear at the end of the year. Linoleum was already released on an EP which came out last year, but it is not really representative of the current Pain Of Salvation sound. This previously released single is a more rocking track on a record otherwise favouring a bluesy orientation. Inspiration seems to come mostly from the Seventies, and especially the quiet yet insistent guitar playing reminds of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page. She Likes To Hide could follow Dazed And Confused in every self-respecting Seventies disco without upsetting the audience. There are many more unusual elements that you wouldn’t have expected from Pain Of Salvation. The metal parts have nearly vanished, instead you get blues, bluegrass, retro organs, choir vocals and a lot of improvisation. Standing out are the dramatic Sisters which, thanks to the strong vocal arrangements, feels close to Aphrodite’s Child, and the bizarre and morbid Sleeping Under The Stars with is genial mix of circus and musical atmospheres.

Road Salt One is definitely not an easy listening album, not that anyone would expect such a thing from Pain Of Salvation. The band once again succeeded in getting attention with their music. Not everyone will be happy with this new direction, but they should at least be patiently awaiting the second part of the album. I wouldn’t be surprised if that sounded again totally different. Notwithstanding the obvious qualities of Road Salt One, my favourite album by Pain Of Salvation remains their more metal infused Scarsick.

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