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Album Reviews : Pain of Salvation – Road Salt One

By on May 13, 2010

Pain of Salvation - Road Salt OneRoad Salt One sees the return of Pain of Salvation with one of the most highly anticipated releases of 2010. This is the first of two albums the Swede prog masters are releasing this year with Road Salt Two expected to drop in October. As with much of POS’s output, Road Salt One continues to push the envelope and blur the line between progressive metal and progressive rock.

The first thing that strikes the listener about this album is the very dry circa-70’s production. This is a giant curveball given the heavy production POS has employed in the past, but it fits very well within the context of the album and adds to the overall effect of Road Salt. Stylistically this album has everything you’d expect from POS, and at the same time has everything you would not expect them to attempt. Anyone that knows this band will know not to expect the unexpected. Never has this been more prevalent in POS’ career than on Road Salt! On to the music itself.

The twelve songs that make up this album see the band intertwining furious rhythmic and melodic passages one moment and switching to psychedelic keyboards and airy vocals the next whilst still retaining the POS emotiveness and melodic hooks throughout. Be warned though, Road Salt One isn’t as instantaneously catching as Remedy Lane or the Perfect Element, however it truly reveals itself on further listening much like their BE album of 2004.

Road Salt completely takes the listener on a musical journey from the opener “No Way” and “She Likes To Hide” which see the band channelling the best of 70’s experimental prog rock (and they make it work perfectly), through to one of the best ballads the band has put together in “Sisters”. The band even attempts some delta blues and manages to pull it off seamlessly on the ever-growing “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” before throwing in one of the albums biggest surprises with “Sleeping Under The Stars” and it’s waltz-like groove and tongue-in-cheek lyrics.….all that and we aren’t even half way through the disc.

The second half of the album sees POS get back to doing what they do best and rocking out. “Darkness Of Mine” could have come straight off Remedy Lane and is a timely reminder that very few bands can fit as much melody and twists into a whole album as these guys can in one song. “Linoleum” turns up the tempo yet again and is another favourite not only on this album but a definite contender for best POS songs ever for mine. POS is a band known for their “fragile melancholic” songs and “Where It Hurts” and “Road Salt” are no exceptions with the latter being filled with the lyrical emotion that only Daniel Gildenlow can bring. “Innocence” closes out Road Salt and what a way to finish an album! Building up from a slow guitar jam this song builds into an absolute monster of a track.

All-in-all Pain Of Salvation has delivered perhaps their most experimental album full of music that the listener would probably not expect. It’s an album full of twists and turns and unpredictability from one song to the next. This is really an album that the listener is either going to love or hate. There really is no in-between here. It’s definitely an album that takes a few listens to grasp a hold.

The mastery of this album is only revealed if the listener is prepared to keep an open mind. Say what you will about Pain Of Salvation but they are one band that isn’t afraid to experiment and take risks. This is an album full of passion and experimentation in its musicianship if given a chance. 8/10

Band: Pain of Salvation
Album: Road Salt One
Year: 2010
Genre: Progressive metal/rock
Origin: Sweden
Label: Century Media/Riot! Entertianment

1. No Way
2. She Likes to Hide
3. Sisters
4. Of Dust
5. Tell Me You Don’t Know
6. Sleeping Under the Stars
7. Darkness of Mine
8. Linoleum
9. Curiosity
10. Where It Hurts
11. Road Salt
12. Innocence


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.