Scarsick
PAIN OF SALVATION

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PAIN OF SALVATION - Scarsick cover
3.42 | 44 ratings | 8 reviews
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Album · 2007

Filed under Progressive Metal

Tracklist

1. Scarsick (7:08)
2. Spitfall (7:17)
3. Cribcaged (5:56)
4. America (5:05)
5. Disco Queen (8:22)
6. Kingdom of Loss (6:41)
7. Mrs. Modern Mother Mary (4:14)
8. Idiocracy (7:04)
9. Flame to the Moth (5:58)
10. Enter Rain (10:03)

Total Time: 67:51

Line-up/Musicians

- Daniel Gildenlöw / vocals, bass
- Johan Halgreen / guitars
- Fredrik Hermansson / keyboards
- Johan Langell / drums

About this release

InsideOut Music CD
January 30th, 2007

Thanks to J-Man for the updates

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PAIN OF SALVATION SCARSICK reviews

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Unitron
Pain of Salvation-Scarsick

This may come as a surprise to some, but Scarsick is my favorite Pain of Salvation album. To some PoS fans, it may come as a disappointment, and some of the rap-metal vocals may be a turn-off to some but this is still a great album in my opinion.

Unlike their previous albums, Scarsick has more crunching guitar riffs and an overall angrier sound. Scarsick is technically the sequel to 'The Perfect Element', which seems to be one of their most critically acclaimed albums even though I can't seem to enjoy it much. Whereas the concept of part one of 'The Perfect Element' was focusing on mental degradation, Scarsick is focusing on the physical degradation of the boy character.

The music is a pretty big change from the standard PoS sound, with more thrash guitar, rap-metal vocals, and the bass stands out much more from what I hear. Certain moments remind me of Porcupine Tree, especially the chorus on the title track. The way the crunching guitar perfectly goes into a soft flowing vocal passage, just reminds me of certain PT songs. There are also moments that almost come near Death metal, such as Gildenlow's shouts in the song 'Flame to the Moth'. 'Idiocracy', 'Flame to the Moth', 'Enter Rain', and the title track are my favorites. The only song I have a complaint with is 'Disco Queen', if it wasn't for that song this album would probably be flawless to me. The song just sounds incredibly out of place and breaks the flow of the album, it also isn't very pleasant to hear Gildenlow reach the highest notes he can and imitating Disco.

The lyrics are much more relatable to me, seeing as most of them are about the corruption in society and the government which I feel a similar way about. The lyrics do get really angry sometimes, but it fits the angry mood the music sets in place.

Overall, give this album a chance. It's a perfect example of a love/hate album in my opinion, I happen to love it yet another person may despise it. If you enjoy prog metal AND hints of alternative metal, you may find some enjoyment in this album like I do. I recommend PoS fans to at least check it out.

Hope you found this review helpful. ------------------------------------------------ By the way, I'm open to seeing other people's opinions.



AtomicCrimsonRush
Mixing up musical genres capturing a mixed up world.

Pain of Salvation's "Scarsick" showed a much more political side of the band that attacked the worldview and is a cynical look at the damage of consumerism, industrialisation, privatisation, McDonaldisation, and every other 'isation' you can think of. The lyrics attack and scratch out the eyes of the system that is suffocating and destroying the freedom. Every song takes a stab at various freedom destroyers from the money hungry manufacturing industry to the music industry itself. Daniel Gildenlow dominates the album on vocals and bass, and the guitar work on this is exceptional from Johan Halgreen along with Fredrik Hermansson's stirring keyboards and dramatic percussion by Johan Langell.

It begins with the indulgent title track stating that they are sick of everything. This is the most metal song on the album with a cool distorted riff and some heavy drumming. It features a rap style and Rammstein style interventions of riffs breaking it up. The lyrics are about surviving against the system that swallows up the underprivileged; "you're not alone, and every time that you hurt, every cut every scar and every time you just hate everything that you are, it is simply the instinct to flee to escape from this mess, this continuous rape of what's true and what's real, so you gnaw at your paw to get out of the trap of the cage of our time, all that rage is your struggle to survive, they think you wanna die when in truth you just strive, biting every hand just to stay alive." This is definitely the best song on the album and starts off the DVD live concert well also, the mix of rap and metal and a melodic chorus, mixing musical genres, works to capture the feeling of a mixed up world.

After this rocker, 'Spitfall' follows that is jammed full of fast paced rap and some weird signatures. I liked the way the keyboards work against the fast rap vocals such as "you're just another Parental Advisory bore, there's nothing like a broken childhood, there's nothing like a broken home, there's nothing like a tale from your hood, there's nothing like a record of restriction orders outspoken borderline disorders a violent long way to the top, the longer that you fought yourself up the longer the spitfall". There are heaps of lyrics on this due to the speed rap, but it is well executed and perhaps better than the average rap song, and has a lot of expletives thrown in too. Then 'Cribcaged' is next with too many F bombs for comfort and this is one I will always skip, as it has nothing to offer apart from just rage and spite and boring music.

They are sick of America and have no problems writing a scathing hate song to it called 'America'. I first heard this on the live DVD and I remember not being impressed with it then and this version is actually worse. It does have some nasty digs at the land of the free though such as, "if I say I love you dare you love me too". I am not sure how this song is taken in America itself but it is not one to play at the white house.

'Disco Queen' is a quirky piece of fun, with some digs at the music industry and homage to the vinyl years "Undressed in front of me, all glistening ebony, You're still so young, but I will show you vintage 33, I lay you on your back inviting curves of black, Making little noises as my needle finds your track". The disco music is humorous and a real diversion on the album, but it works as a result, standing out as unforgettable and maddeningly infectious. It effectively makes fun of the current music scene that is likened to prostitution.

'Kingdom of Loss' is a powerful track based on the abuse of fast food and increasing obesity. It has narratives sounding like a TV station selling the package and the lyrics attack the fast food market as a sold out Earth "Someone sells us god in 2-for-1 with shame, Someone sells us war and the marketing, looks just the same, Someone sells us fear on TV each day, A shape for every taste if the flavours right, we gladly pay, All on sale, all on sale, We're all on sale, all on sale"; a great thought provoking track.

'Mrs Modern Mother Mary' has a scratchy guitar rhythm and some odd time sigs that never quite go in sync with the singing. It is interesting but not one of my favourites. 'Idiocracy' has a crunching rhythm and grinds along with some high register vocals. The lyrics are anti political; "so close your eyes, just take another deep breath now, and fantasize, pretend the world we're forming is a paradise, why can't I close my eyes, why can't I just be hypnotized, industrialized and privatized, all mesmerized, 'cause I can see and what I see around me makes me paralyzed, yes I can see and what I see is not worthy a democracy."

'Flame to the Moth' is a heavier track, and yet another potshot at the industrial age, and this one has some screamo vocals along with Gildenlow's cleaner voice. The lyrics spell it out blatantly; "where did we go wrong? I once had blue eyes, hungry and wise, now they are black from this dark age of lies, we're all privatized, industrialized, we capitalize on the beams in our eyes, it's all in the eyes." The tempo is upbeat and really dominated by the incessant vocals.

'Enter Rain' is a longer song at just over 10 minutes, and has three parts that change in tempo and style. It begins with reflective lyrics and a low key approach. Then it builds gradually but remains steady and quite gentle in comparison to other tracks.

Overall, this is another diverse album from PoS with a variety of styles and some of their most attacking and vitriol lyrical content. The target is basically the world system and commercialism or consumer traps. This makes for an uneasy listen at times, not to the standard of previous material, but nonethess it is a captivating album. There is not a lot of heavy metal music on offer rather it is heavy by nature of the content and the brooding atmospheres. Not as good as "The Perfect Element" or "Remedy Lane" but a decent album worth a listen.
Warthur
When Pain of Salvation frontman Daniel Gildenlöw does his best to sound like Mike Patton's style (circa Faith No More's Angel Dust) on Scarsick's title track, I suppose it's something to be applauded on one level. After all, it's always healthy for bands to experiment a little with their sound and make an effort not to stagnate, and certainly the album as a whole appeals to me a little bit more than the New Agey pap of BE, but on the other hand something feels a little "off" about it - as though the band don't sincerely buy into the darker direction of the piece and are simply going through the motions to earn some metal credibility and perhaps expand their fanbase. I'm no Pain of Salvation fan but I can see how people who are might find this album to be something of a disappointment.
The Angry Scotsman
Underrated Album

"Scarsick" gets a lot of flak from PoS fans, quite often to the point of ridicule. I liked this album on my first listen, and it's a different take on their prog metal sound. Not sure why the level of hatred, but I do know this: PoS produced four brilliant prog metal albums, but it's clear they are out to mix it up from now on. So if you are upset because this album sounds different, better get over it.

The title track starts the album with a largely mellow and spacey feel, punctuated with heavy bursts and periods of Daniel rapping. Yes. Fans of old PoS brace yourselves. "Spitfall" actually goes farther, with Daniel again rapping for much of the song, (laced with profanity) and this time backed up by some nu metal. Weird at first, but it works well enough. Maybe that's just because I used to listen to RATM back in the day. If you can tolerate it, these rap metal sections are contrasted with some normality.

Cribcaged is an intriguing song, musically really cool. Truly progressive and builds from light and melodic to a pounding climax. Gildenlöw gives us quite a juxtaposition, his vocals are quite nice while belting out amazingly profane lyrics blasting our materialist society. They quite literally follow a "f**k the (x)" and "f**k (y)" format. I do like the song for what it is, but it's hard to swallow.

"America" is my favorite song on the album and it could be right off one of their classic albums. A more traditional prog metal song with a really cool song structure, great texture, very upbeat and catchy. Don't be fooled, the song is a scathing critique of American Imperialism, government, foreign policy and culture. To each their own, and I honestly agree with most of it. Though the bit of America's time in the sun being up, soon to join the failed empires of past is not earth shattering and frankly, unnecessary. Criticism is one thing but this is bordering on laughing in your face. The almost happy pop feel to it has to be a more subtle shot at big money American culture I am sure. Regardless, this is an awesome and catchy song.

"Disco Queen" another song that on first listen makes you think "what the hell!?" but this is my next favorite on the album. A spacey song with sections of, well disco. It does build to an energetic metal climax though. Honestly, I like the song...it sounds like stupid fun and is certainly progressive! This is obviously satiric, poking fun of disco but also serves as a vehicle to the lyrics, a critique of useless celebrity life...so disco actually fits best.

"Kingdom of Loss" is another building song that really is quite moving. Again you can either revel in or ignore the blatant anti American lyrics. I'll choose the middle ground and say this is a powerful and pretty dark song.

"Mrs. Modern Mother Mary" is a weird song that doesn't do much for me. "Idiocracy" is another spacey, atmospheric and crescendo based song. Post metal feel in a way. Another grower. Another charged song, dealing with capitalism ruining the world, basically. "Flame to the Moth" is a boring song, so skip to the finale "Enter Rain" another journey of peaks and valleys. It's structure, light/heavy interplay and emotional delivery really is reminiscent of post metal. Another awesome and amazingly powerful song, that takes some time.

So there you have it. What to say about Scarsick? Keep an open mind. When you hear the nu metal rapping with childish lyrics, the happy pop, the disco don't scoff and decide to hate this album. Remember this is Daniel Gildenlöw, don't take it on surface value! Dig deeper and realize these abnormalities are more tongue in cheek and used to aid the message. All this is fit within a prog metal framework, one that is truly progressive...with difficult song structures. While it may just seem like crap at first, this is really a very challenging album, one that took a few listens for it to really register for me. The lyrics are one mans opinion and not an issue for me, though they do wear thin, and border on immature and whiny. Not sure if Gildenlöw was low on ideas and spun his tires a bit, but he clearly dug deep to a place of severe anger and it shows, this is an emotional and powerful album.

A unique prog metal album that is challenging, especially to fans of classic PoS. Give it some time and understand not to accept it all at face value and you will find this is a great album. While "Scarsick" is more challenging than the band's old material it is musically simpler, but please give it some time and an open mind.

Four Stars



J-Man
It Took Me Forever To Get Interested... But It Was Worth It

Ever since the first time I heard Pain of Salvation's sixth album Scarsick I was completely disappointed. I have always been a cult follower of the first five Pain of Salvation albums, but this 2007 release took at least 25 spins before I began appreciating it as much as the other Daniel Gildenlöw masterworks. Call me crazy for listening to an album I didn't like more than three times, but that's what any true fanboy would do. And it sure paid off.

If you remember my review originally posted in November of 2009, I gave this album two stars calling it "immature", "poor", and "disappointing". Almost a year after that review, I can confidently say that Scarsick is among my favorite Pain of Salvation albums, and a worthy follow-up to my all-time favorite album, The Perfect Element, Part 1. This is not the place to start listening to Pain of Salvation because of its inaccessibility and controversial subject matters, but if you can suffer through the first five listens, tolerate the next ten run-throughs, and moderately enjoy the next five tries, you will really see the masterpiece that is Scarsick. This is truly one of the most intellectually challenging and emotionally driven albums I have ever heard, which is really saying something. I really like the more edgy lyrical style on Scarsick, even though it will definitely offend plenty of people. I don't agree with many of the political standpoints Daniel Gildenlöw takes here, but he is so brutally honest and heartfelt that it's hard not to appreciate them anyway.

First of all, if you are a rapper, involved in the media, offended by profanity, a celebrity, an American, and/or a Christian, expect to be offended at least one time in the album. Of course, the lyrics are all just Daniel's opinions, and you can choose whether you agree with them or not. The only case where the lyrics actually bother me is on America, where he makes his hatred towards the Bush Administration far too apparent. Profanity doesn't usually bother me, but there are quite a few "f-bombs" in Spitfall and especially Cribcaged for those who care. It doesn't affect me at all, but if you're one of those people who is offended by two certain four letter words, it might annoy you a little bit. When these profane words are used it is always in a mature way, though. Daniel isn't just saying "f**k this" to sound funny or childish... it is always to prove a deeply intellectual point, and shows he's really not messing around, rather than the contrary. I personally find the lyrics to be extremely well-written, albeit controversial.

Lyrics aside, the music seems much different than earlier Pain of Salvation albums at first listen, but after many focused listens, it's still obviously the same PoS. There is a bit of a heavier and darker tone, less beautiful melodic parts, and of course the infamous disco track (Disco Queen), but most of the music sounds pretty similar to their earlier albums. Some people criticize this album for being too "straightforward" and "commercial", but that's about as far from the truth as you can get. This is possibly PoS's most challenging album to date, in my opinion.

The musicians, as always on a Pain of Salvation album, are top-notch. A special note goes out to Daniel Gildenlöw for his fantastic pipes! I know a lot of people don't appreciate his unique vocal style, but he is simply one of my all-time favorite singers. His voice is always extremely powerful and emotional, demanding and rough when it needs to be, and simply beautiful at times. He also plays bass and some guitar here, but the main guitarist is of course Johan Hallgren. He is fantastic, and I absolutely love his one-of-a-kind playing style. Few guitarists can play with as much power and emotion as he can. Fredrik Hermansson takes a bit of a backseat on Scarsick due to the less keyboard-oriented music, but he still does a great job here. This is the last full-length album with Johan Langell on drums, which is quite a shame in my opinion. He is just such a fantastic drummer, and he will always be missed in Pain of Salvation's music.

The production is possibly the best Pain of Salvation has had to date. The mix is simply genius, with every instrument sounding crystal clear, yet not overproduced like many of the modern symphonic prog acts. It has a clear enough production to make the album not sound unprofessional, but it's not so polished to the point where it destroys the emotions in the album (which is a frequent problem in many modern productions). I have no knocks to give in terms of production.

Scarsick is 10 tracks, adding up to a total time of 67:47. All of the songs are fantastic, but there are a few highlights in my opinion. The rap-oriented Sptifall is a favorite of mine, along with the lyrically-driven Cribcaged, beautiful Kingdom of Loss, heavy yet emotional Flame To The Moth, and especially the epic closer Enter Rain. Every one of the songs is extremely rewarding and unique, though. No two songs sound even remotely alike on Scarsick.

Conclusion:

Scarsick took a VERY long time for me to appreciate, but now that I've been loving it for many months now, I can fully regard it as another Pain of Salvation masterpiece. This is a unique album, completely unlike anything you will ever hear in your entire life. This is a 5 star album from me, and I can now consider Scarsick as a more than worthy part two in The Perfect Element saga. Words can't describe how much I love this album, and I'm sure that my words have failed multiple times throughout this review. All you need to know is that you need to buy this album at some point or another. You're really missing out if you don't have it, or even worse, have it but don't give it enough attention. I'm confident that this will be the only time I will change a two star review into a five. If you would like to read my original review, just send me a private message, and I'd be more than glad to send it to you.
Conor Fynes
'Scarsick' - Pain of Salvation (6/10)

By saying this album is dissapointing, one may get the wrong idea by thinking that this is a bad album. It really isn't. There is enough musical innovation here to keep the album going and get some good credible enjoyment out of it. However, in comparison to their 3 previous masterpieces and even their excellent early work, it really cannot compare. That isn't to say that a measure of brilliance isn't here... It's just not being used in a way that it should be.

I think the reason this album has met such unrelenting criticism from Pain of Salvation fans is in the fact that it's not another Remedy Lane or Perfect Element. Pain of Salvation didn't produce 'Scarsick' trying to relive prior glories... They made this album willing to explore something new, and do something risky. In doing so, they've polarized opinions... At my very first taste of this album (a fair year before actually purchasing the album) my opinion was congruent with many opinions on this site: it's nu-metal trash. However, listening more (for the sake of it being Pain of Salvation) and letting the music really sink in, I realized the brilliant irony in the album! While Gildenlow may have written a technical 'rap' song in this album, his humor shines through in the fact that the lyrics completely smash the hip-hop lifestyle! Once this reality sets in, it's alot easier to appreciate the otherwise questionable choice of genre-influence in this album.

Had I reviewed this album immediately after purchasing 'Scarsick,' I most likely would have given it four stars, being that it was very entertaining, and there's a great unique quality that distinguishes it from other Prog. However, my opinion on it has unfortunately started to lessen over time, realizing just how dissapointing this album is. The fact remains that I would rather listen to another Pain of Salvation album anyday over this album. After three masterful albums, it can be said that the quality that made those works superb has extinguished, at least (hopefully) for the moment.

Overall though, 'Scarsick' certainly isn't a 'bad' album by any measure, if you give it the time to appreciate it. Gildenlow tried out something new, and so what if it didn't work out perfectly? The spirit of creativity is here in droves, making it a worthy purchase.
Phonebook Eater
PoS's sixth studio album shows that the band is slightly taking another path, a little more rock/ pop sounding. However, this can still be called a Prog metal work, unlike their newest Road Salt One. Some moments though are truly unforgettable, and some songs are really worth listening. Like I said, the style is much less metal, or at least it has a lot more pop/ hip hop/ nu metal/rock influences. The lyrics are much more directed towards today's society, commercialism and modern technology, capitalism and such. So, it could be easily considered a concept album, like other previous PoS albums. The greatest problem of this album though is that they are trying so hard to express their anger towards commercial todays music, for instance, that they end up to actually play this type of music. Songs like "Miss Modern Mother Mary", "Kingdom Of Loss", the title track and "America" are true PoS masterpieces. However, "Disco Queen" is barely listenable, eight minutes of painful torture. "Spitfall" is another disappointing chapter of this album, very predictable and with a very banal melody.

A good album, to sum up, but you should get it only if you like this band.
Windhawk
This release looks like it will be the most controversial release of 2007.

PoS doesn't make it easy for their fans, or for fans of prog metal in general here, as doing it safe seems to be a missing element in the bands collective personality.

Thus they release an album of a highly experimental nature, where hardly any song sounds the same. Opening with a song heavily flirting with nu metal, continuing into Eminem territory (although heavily spiced with fuzz guitar), continuing with a c&w flavoured AOR song, moving on to a more funk-inspired song and then in track 5 having their own version of what disco should sound like.

Continuing with a ballady tune evolving into a dark metal tune, then it's a guitar/vocals experimental track, before there's three "normal" sounding tracks finishing this beast off.

Highly experimental, and listeners need eclectic taste as well as patience to be able to enjoy this one.

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