|Classic Review: Pain of Salvation - Entropia|
Label: Inside Out Music
Year released: 1997
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: July 9, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
A chance to rectify a great travesty of unprecedented proportions, I have assumed my humble scribe persona and decided to document the history of metal's most intelligent musical force; a band that haven't recorded a song I dislike (a rare feat you'll notice, especially if you happen to know me) a band that have covered ground most fear to explore, a band that is fronted by one of rock's most original, charismatic vocalists; truly, a boundary pushing unit of biblical importance. This, my friends, is Pain of Salvation. And with this set of reviews, I hope to acquaint you enough to at least begin to marvel at the scope of their powers.
Here is where the journey began. Sort of. The first incarnation of PoS was born in 1984, by Swedish multi-instrumentalist Daniel Gildenlöw, who, whilst only 11 years of age, formed his first band Reality, which years later finally flowered into progressive metal's most daring band, Pain of Salvation. "Entropia" is the result of too many years of practice, and remains in the hearts of many PoS fans the greatest record they ever created.
Sounding like…well, it doesn't really sound like anything. One thing you have to know about Pain of Salvation is that they try and compose music to provide atmospherics to the lyrical sculptures moulded by Gildenlöw himself. As each album follows a concept of some sort – mostly of the highly emotional variety, but I'll get to that later - each album feeds musically from the lyrical flesh fuelling the songs. Composed entirely by Gildenlöw, "Entropia" speaks of the detriments and sufferings of war, and the effect it has on children of torn families and cultures. Sophisticated stuff, and believe me, with a plethora of different perspectives and oblique angles, "Entropia" will have many a metaller scratching his greasy head tying to figure out the purpose behind the messages. From the moment crushing introduction "! (Foreword)" blasts through the speakers like the machine guns it imitates; you know you're in for something special.
But, as there are only so many superlatives I could spill out like word vomit, it is pretty damn difficult to describe the sounds and ideas you will experience. Like a rollercoaster, you can only judge how exciting it's going to be from hear' say, and you won't know how much you'll enjoy it until you strap yourself into the seat, and wait for the gears to lock. Simply put, you get a bit of everything here, from progressive rock/metal ala Rush, Dream Theater, and Vanden Plas to jazz, thrash and even a tad power metal on "To The End", but maybe if you threw Genesis, Marillion, Symphony X, Brother Ape, Tool and Threshold into a blender and poured yourself a smoothie, you might just get an inkling of what Pain of Salvation have to offer. Don't take my word for it mind, you; this is very different to anything you have heard before. It is an acquired taste no doubt, with Gildenlöw's powerful, gentle, pained delivery soaring from high, piercing screams to low, gut-wrenching bellows and the sharp, stop-start, discordant guitars clashing against the haunting keys and pianos, filling the songs with more mood swings than your 13 year old sister experiencing her first period.
There are no highlights on "Entropia", as this is a work of art, and should be taken as such. But anyone in search of adult progressive music that can weave melodies and aggression together like strands of heaven and hell, this is your next assignment.
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