PAIN OF SALVATION — Ending Themes - On The Two Deaths Of Pain Of Salvation (review)

PAIN OF SALVATION — Ending Themes - On The Two Deaths Of Pain Of Salvation album cover Movie · 2009 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
AtomicCrimsonRush
A great concert, and a documentary DVD packaged like a TV series: 'a groundbreaking parallel story, mixing Days of Our Lives, Lord of the Rings and Some Kind of Monster.' Clever packaging conceals what this really is, one DVD centres on the touring behind the scenes in painstaking detail, and we learn many useless but amusing things such as their fetish for toy racing cars and Monty Python DVD box sets. The documentary is at times conveyed by the band in their native tongue so subtitles are essential and thankfully available. The doco may not endure repeated viewings but its nice to meet their cute little fan club members and see their delight as they meet the band. It is essential viewing if you want to get through the quiz that has to be completed correctly in order to unlock a swag of special features. You will eventually get the questions right as they do not change and you can write down the answers by a process of elimination. You have to put up with an obnoxious ugly face telling you what a loser you are until you do of course, but it's worth it. You get a special code when you get them all right saving you the hassle of redoing the annoying quiz. But if you put in the code wrong you are sent to 'hell', complete with burning flames and evil laughter, and you have to work your way back to the title menu to get out of it. Nasty touch I must say and quite disconcerting. The features are great particularly the demo versions of 'Scarsick' tracks, deleted scenes, and some nice footage of the band, bootlegs and photo sessions are included.

This is all incidental I guess, as the main drawcard is the actual concert which is well filmed at the famed Paradiso in Amsterdam, where other prog bands have been captured on DVD such as Riverside (on ADHD special edition). The performance does not rely on flashy lights or smoke, rather it is all about the music and this is some of POS best material from their highly celebrated albums such as 'One Hour by the Concrete Lake', 'Entropia' and 'Remedy Lane'.

The sound quality is excellent and the audience reactions are well interspersed among the band crunching out one belter after another. Hildegaard has longer hair now and looks more at home with the metal when he bangs his head. Certainly the set list is not flawless, for instance 'Fandango' and 'Beyond the Pale' are missing, and there is a great focus on 'Scarsick' album, however there is enough here to satiate the appetite of most fans.

The crowd pleasers are here such as 'America', 'Nightmist', '! (Foreword)' and the fabulous infectious 'Disco Queen' that the crowd adore and its easy to see why. I love all these but the darker side of the band is impossible to ignore and may not be for all tastes. The expletive heavy 'Cribcaged' is offensive enough and I must admit I hate it when bands think they need to drop the F bomb repeatedly to hammer home a point. So Robert De Niro's cigarette and Al Pacino posters annoy the band; OK, I get it, but why do they have to degrade themselves to this type of material. It's a pity really, as the band are better than this. Look at the way they deliver 'Chain Sling' and their dark version of 'Hallelujah' to see my point. The 'Hallelujah' version is better than the original Cohen IMHO, it is that good, and the crowd sing along loudly in adoration.

The quiet melodic POS is here too on suicidal unfriendly ballads such as 'Undertow' from 'Remedy Lane' and the bittersweet 'Brickworks 1'. It is all very dark and moody and intense. Each track is sung with passion and the time sig changes of the music are admirable. The booklet gives little away, although the oppressive lyrics are here, and the storyline attached is as bogus as the rest of the packaging conveying some story of yet another motor vehicle accident, another one! This is becoming standard prog fair for concept albums these days.

The fake reviews on the so called TV series are amusing, a TV series that is cited as 'a groundbreaking parallel story, mixing Days of Our Lives, Lord of the Rings and Some Kind of Monster.' Work that out! The track listing is identical to the double CD release but its way better to watch the band in full flight as these tracks are pounded out. This is a bit of a hit and miss affair for me; some of the tracks are not as good as other PoS material particularly there is too much emphasis on 'Scarsick', whereas i think 'Remedy Lane' buries it, in fact all their other albums have far more to offer in terms of prog metal, but the energy is tangible, the crowd love it and the music is infectious. 3 stars.
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