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Pain of Salvation – Road Salt One: Review

May 17 is the release date for the first part of Pain of Salvation‘s two part project entitled Road Salt. I can guarantee that it will  be met with mixed reviews. Some will embrace the new sound, while others will despise it. One thing is definite: Road Salt is no Pain of Salvation classic.


The Music (rating: B)

  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

Do not expect a familiar Pain of Salvation sound from this album. It is not even metal, but the album has a large range from ballads to hard rock. There is a strong blues influence, especially in the first half of the album. But this does not resonate throughout the whole album; it is very diverse. In fact, there is even a waltz-like song (“Sleeping Under the Stars”), which happens to be among my favorites in this collection. However, much of it sounds rather generic, relying on highlights to save the album’s overall quality.

The instrumentals are quite lackluster in comparison to former Pain of Salvation material, with the exception of Daniel Gildenlöw’s voice. The riffs are often rather dry, and the solos are forgettable. Also, I much preferred the old drummer to the current one, although the type of music in this album does not give much creative freedom. And in past albums, the bassist delivered mind-blowing basslines; it certainly is not the case here. But as I earlier mentioned, Daniel’s voice is still amazing, showing no signs of age. However, it is not as consistently impressive as former albums, nor is it able to fully salvage this one.

Former Pain of Salvation albums  have shown themselves to be extremely creative (up until Scarsick), but it does not show here. Gildenlöw once said,

If you are looking for a band that sounds just like your favorite band, just forget about us. If you are looking for a band that will make you forget about your favorite band, we are here, just walk down Remedy Lane a few times and you will never be the same again…

That was when the masterpiece Remedy Lane was released… things have changed since then. Songs like “Linoleum” and “Curiosity” bring very little originality to the music scene, especially the progressive scene. There ballads, though well done for the most part, are truly nothing new in the Pain of Salvation catalog. Road Salt is incapable of delivering anything  overly creative or unique, contrary to the band’s expectations.

Though it pains me to say it, Road Salt is nothing more than an above average album. Most of the album is quite stale, but there are songs, such as “Sisters,” “Sleeping Under the Stars,” and “Road Salt,” that are able to elevate the quality to a certain extent. However, an album that is generic both in its musicianship and its instrumental execution can only go so far.

Road Salt Two is to be released in October this year. Hopefully, they will have better luck than with this one.

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