PAIN OF SALVATION - The Perfect Element
January 29, 2001, 18 years ago
(InsideOut Music America)
If ever there was a prog metal band who are a compressed diamond-hard ball of creativity, it is these mensa-like Swedes. Operating since '84, Pain Of Salvation didn't create their debut album until '97. Now onto their third, the ambition enclosed is daunting. A concept album about childhood and the loss thereof, The Perfect Element is about all things progressive, sharp playing as well as pioneering textures, novel arrangements, all laid down with a mix that can only be described as delicate and high-end, similar to Ice Age or Enchant or the source of these frequencies, '90s Rush. A mountain of guitar tones also keeps the project drop-jaw impressive, but damn, everybody is overflowing with ideas from their respective corners, including drummer Johann Langell with his symphony of cymbals and vocalist Daniel Gildenlow who plays a number of parts, biggest standouts being his recurring Glenn Hughes phrasings, his low Geoff Tate dramatics and his Fish-depressed pathos. And if that wasn't enough, a variety of keyboard sounds meld and drip into the guitar performance, guitars being the anchor of heaviness driving the albums many grooves, but also displaying a dimension that sets the band in an oblique prog rock zone versus prog metal and its many rules.