PAIN OF SALVATION — Road Salt Two (review)

PAIN OF SALVATION — Road Salt Two album cover Album · 2011 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Phonebook Eater
6/10

"Road Salt 2" is a definite improvement over the first chapter.

People change, even metalheads. Will Mikael Akerfeldt do Metal ever again? Will Cynic? Ulver? Pain Of Salvation? Every Progressive Metal related act seems, fortunately, to be more coherent with the term Progressive than Metal, so from album to album these bands tend to change in terms of sound. Pain Of Salvation's case is probably the least successful of all the Prog Metal bands going towards a softer direction. Their change hasn't brought as much enthusiasm among the Metal community as expected, especially with the release of the mediocre "Road Salt 1". A year after, the band releases "Road Salt 2", which is a definite improvement over that first experiment.

Musically "Road Salt 2" isn't a massive change from the first episode: rough produced Blues Rock, with fuzzy guitars and small hints of Progressive and Metal overall. RS2 contains however much more experimentation and variation: there aren't only guitars roaring, but also violins, piano (admittedly that too was included in RS1), horns, keyboards. Daniel Gildenlow proves once more on this album that he is one of the best vocalists of Modern Progressive: his voice is powerful, at times soothing and painful, others full of anger and despair. On this new LP he truly gives terrific performances all over the place, enough times to make him the star of the album.

Maybe its getting use to this sound, but many of the songs here tend to be quite enjoyable, memorable, and also quite deep in some moments, while in RS1 that couldn't be said for many tracks: tracks like "Softly She Cries" and "Mortar Grind", among the more powerful ones, deliver quite a bit of emotion, just as much as the softer moments like "Healing Now", possibly the most beautiful piece of the album, a folky tune that once again contains tons of heart. But then there are moments like "Conditioned", with it's very typical Bluesy riff, that simply feel banal and forgettable.

Overall, RS2 is a definite improvement over RS1, however, there are still a few flaws in the songwriting and, I must say, the production isn't getting any better. However, the musicians are still just as great, especially Gildenlow. RS2 might not appreciated by even the most die hard fans of the band, but overall, it seems to be a pretty enjoyable record
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