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PAIN OF SALVATION - Entropia cover
4.25 | 62 ratings | 7 reviews
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Album · 1997


1. ! (foreword) (6:11)
2. Chapter I: Welcome to Entropia (1:22)
3. Chapter I: Winning a War (6:32)
4. Chapter I: People Passing By (9:07)
5. Chapter I: Oblivion Ocean (4:42)
6. Chapter II: Stress (5:00)
7. Chapter II: Revival (7:38)
8. Chapter II: Void of Her (1:46)
9. Chapter II: To the End (4:56)
10. Chapter III: Circles (0:55)
11. Chapter III: Nightmist (6:48)
12. Chapter III: Plains of Dawn (7:23)
13. Chapter III: Leaving Entropia (epilogue) (2:31)

Total Time: 64:57


- Johan Langell / drums and vocals
- Daniel Gildenlöw / lead vocals and guitar
- Kristoffer Gildenlöw / bass and vocals
- Fredrik Hermansson / keyboards
- Daniel Magdic / guitar and vocals

About this release

Release date: August 21st, 1997
Label: Avalon Online / InsideOut Music

This album is composed of the foreword (track one), chapter one (tracks two through five), chapter two (tracks six through ten), and chapter three (tracks eleven through fourteen).
Released in Romania: 1998 on Rocris Discs
Europe and South America: September 1999 on InsideOut Music and Hellion Records
USA: 2000 on InsideOut America

"Never Learn to Fly" is a bonus track on the Japanese edition. It is placed as track number 10.

Thanks to J-Man, UMUR, diamondblack for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
The roots of PAIN OF SALVATION actually date back to 1984 when founder Daniel Gildenlöw was only 11 years old and started his first band Reality when he met another future member guitarist Daniel Magdic who would play until after the debut album. In short, Reality won a Swedish talent contest with Gildenlöw scoring the best vocalist award. In 1990 he met drummer Johan Langell and bassist Gustaf Hielm and the following year changed the band name Reality to the more familiar PAIN OF SALVATION which would find international success with its innovative string of progressive metal albums. The band spent many years practicing before Hielm left the band and was replaced by Daniel’s brother Kristoffer Gildenlöw. The fifth member Fredrik Hermansson came into the picture of hearing the band’s demo “Hereafter” and scored the position as keyboardist. The band was perched to unleash its debut album ENTROPIA in 1997.

PAIN OF SALVATION hit the ground running with its debut that featured a fully developed concept about a family surviving and coping during a war. With emotional and heartfelt lyrics, the band made a name for itself not only for highly emotive storylines brought to life by the complex vocal harmonies reminiscent of The Beatles and Queen but made even more dramatic by lead singer Daniel Gildenlöw’s broad vocal range and sense of charisma. Added to that the music was on fire. Loosely based on the Dream Theater sound that emerged in the early 90s, PAIN OF SALVATION was a bit more diverse in its scope as it covered the spectrum of influences ranging from the pop rock of The Beatles, The Moody Blues and Lou Reed to jazz, classical, ethnic music, hip hop, soul and funk not to mention heavy metal from bands like Faith No More and other technically infused bands like Fates Warning and Queensryche.

Noted for the dramatic swings from calm to heavy passages and back all fortified with heavy syncopation and polyrhythms and unpredictable mood shifts between disparate genre styles, PAIN OF SALVATION quickly stood out from the pack and ENTROPIA, a name that is a fusion of the words “entropy” and “utopia,” clearly displays the band’s knack for creating a fully functional collage effect that displayed a completely unique style. This theatrical concept album is carved up into three chapters with each act offering a creative breath of fresh air in a genre that was quickly filling up with Dream Theater clones. With moments of straight on metal, others of technical jazz-fusion wizardry with warm and tender softer ballads reminiscent of modern progressive rock, ENTROPIA hits many notes with each track exuding a charm all its own with stellar instrumental interplay that offers an infinite supply of variations that find the instrumentation morphing into new creative displays of harmonic interplay.

ENTROPIA may be PAIN OF SALVATION’s heaviest album at least consistently so although there is plenty of softer passages that allow lighter less bombastic movements to muster lush motifs. The opening “! (Forward)” displays a ferocious metal introduction with jagged riff driven rhythms, intricate melodic interplays and the operatic vocal style of Daniel G. The contrast between heavy metal and soft piano balladries is seamless as are the harsh vocal outbursts with the clean sung vocal harmonics that zigzag around seemingly random yet all ties together perfectly! The beauty of PAIN OF SALVATION in general is completely represented in full form on ENTROPIA. While tackling extreme progressive technicalities, the music never strays from the vital emotional connection that links the sounds to the dramatic storyline which narrates the conceptual story that is something right out of the neo-prog playbook from the likes of Arena, IQ and Pendragon.

All of the musicians on board are on fire. Daniel Gildenlöw and Daniel Magdic’s twin guitar attacks are highly symbiotic and the drums and keys exhibit advanced progginess as well. The flirtations with funk and trip hop at key moments offer unforeseen elements that pop up now and again and overall the album is chock full of a youthful energy that delivers the album with a fiery passion absent in so many bands who fail to ignite a level of excitement that PAIN OF SALVATION generates. While not as lauded as the band’s following “The Perfect Element I” or “Remedy Lane,” personally i find this debut to be one of the best progressive metal albums around and just as compelling as those two. A masterful debut that showed not only the top notch musicianship but a keen sense of songwriting skills that allowed a wealth of styles and sounds to come to life. Outstanding debut!
The Crow
Very good debut form this fantastic progressive metal band!

This album has very good ideas and instrumental development for being a debut. Here we can hear very mature compositions with a good production too (only the drum’s sound it's a little weak in my opinion, the double pedal it's almost indistinguishable) I think the most important fact for what this band should be heard by everyone it's the Daniel Gildenlow's voice: he is probably one of the best singers in prog-metal history!!! His voice it's simply incredible, powerful and with a lot of variety and interpretation's possibilities. And he sings with a lot of sentiment, really feeling and interpreting the lyrics.

Another important fact of this debut album it's the former member Daniel Magdic's presence, because on the contrary of later POS's releases, the music isn't composed only by Daniel. Magdic composed part of some songs of Entropia, and it's great, because his influence made this songs variated and this fact rest a little of the melancholy and sadness of the Gildenlow's compositions. This fact makes this album a little different, it has its own personality. The Daniel Magdic's way of composing music is a little Drean Theater oriented, and it can be heard in songs like ! (Foreward) and Stress. For me, it's a pity that this is the only POS's album where he played, because I think his playing and compositions are very good.

And I love the bass's playing and sound too. The bass sounds amazing in songs like People Passing By and Nightmist. Better than other Pain Of Salvation's albums! It's a little mysterious... Maybe the Magdic's influence too?

Best tracks: Winning a War (funny and hard-rocking tune), Oblivion Ocean (a precious one), Nightmist (this songs has all that a good POS's tune should have) and Leaving Entropia (beautiful acoustic song with a kind of medieval feeling on it)

Conclusion: very recommended album for melancholic-but-powerful prog metal lovers!

My rating: ****

This review was originally written for, and rewritten to be included here.
The Angry Scotsman
An extremely impressive debut!

"Entropia" sets the stage for what is to come. One of the more innovative albums in prog metal, though it seems like a pretty standard sound. Why is this album so damn good? It's songwriting! Unlike so many prog metal bands which are built around their virtuoso skill or avant garde tendencies, this is a melodic album and not too challenging. Not to say it's simple by any means! No 12, 15, 20+ minute songs with mindblowing displays at every instrument or wild, unnatural song structures.

No, "Entropia" is melodic and textured. Dense, intricate walls of music that fit together perfectly, with truly progressive songs that can swing abruptly or smoothly flow, jam packed with a variety of different styles and sections. There is heavy syncopation and use of off time signatures, all pushed forward by powerful drumming. While they are impressive musicians, it's not so much about technical skill here. It's about melody, every piece working together and creative songwriting that WILL keep you on your toes.

All serves as a back up to Daniel's vocals. Ironic, I tend always enjoy "music driven" stuff over "vocal driven" but this is an exception. All the music takes a bit of a backseat to Gildenlow's vocals, which are some of the very best. Great range and emotional. It's that emotional aspect which helps separate PoS even more from the crowd, and Daniel nails it. Powerful, emotional and always driving the content forward. His soaring and over the top vocals may be a bit much, but damn they are wonderful.

All the track are unique and great, but some standouts are the intro "! (Foreword)" and "People Passing By" one of my favorites. A melodic, restrained, powerful and emotional driven album...this is a breath of fresh air from the sutffy and stagnant prog metal scene. It also sounds honest and sincere, avoiding the cheesiness and pretentiousness that often comes with prog metal. I am a huge fan, of course, of 20 minute prog metal epics with crushing guitars and shredding solos from all the members, but "Entropia" is a welcome change of pace, and a superb album.

Four and a Half Stars
Conor Fynes
'Entropia' - Pain of Salvation (7/10)

...And thus begins the journey of one of my favourite bands of all time, Pain of Salvation. Even early on, this band demonstrated a wide array of talent. From the first few minutes of the epic, socially conscious opener '! (Prologue)' to the striking sentimentality of 'Plains Of Dawn,' Pain of Salvation has crafted a fantastic, mind blowing album that remains an underrated testament to their consistency as quality- driven performers and artists.

'Entropia' tells the story of a family that is estranged in the heat of a war. This concept gives opportunity for Gildenlow (the vocalist and primary songwriter) to explore a wide range of emotions. There is Sadness to be found here, as well as Anger, Love and Fear... None of the emotions feel undercooked or half-baked. Emotionally, everything works on a high-caliber level.

Musically, this is probably the most 'funky' Pain of Salvation ever got. Of special note is the fantastic bass playing that this album enjoys. The intro of 'People Passing By' and the song 'Circles' are a great representation of the bassist's great talent. It's a real shame this bassist only stayed with Pain of Salvation for the duration of one album.

For a debut album, you would expect sub-par recording quality, but this album is certainly an exception to that rule! The recording quality is (for the most part) fantastic, and all of the intruments can be heard clearly (this album's sucessor, 'One Hour By The Concrete Lake' however, would suffer from recording quality problems.)

While it would probably be better for those new to Pain of Salvation to check out the true masterpieces first (The Perfect Element, Remedy Lane, Be), this remains a fantastic album, and while it may not share the phantasm of the later works, 'Entropia' remains one of the greatest progressive debuts of all time, and a great work by a highly talented group of musicians.
Phonebook Eater
Pain Of Salvation's debut album is quite a surprise. Nobody in 1997 realized that this band would go down in the history of progressive rock, or at least of prog metal. Despite this, the album isn't just a prog metal album. It's a first and little step of what will eventually become a giant. The style is though still a little immature, with not as much prog elements as their following albums, although the sound is much more eclectic thn the rest. In fact we still find though some interesting experimentation, mixed with different genres.PoS is also known because of their very big influence of alt metal, which is a rarity in a progressive metal band. Classic songs are present here anyway, such as "People Passing By", or "Nighmist".

"!" is the start of this journey. Not bad, it has a good kick to it, but PoS definitely has done better, in my humble opinion. "Winning A War" is a great song, with some fantastic riffs, catchy and enlivened. The band demonstrates for the first time their huge talent. "People Passing By" is consider by many one of their best songs. It has some excellent parts, like the funk-prog-metal tune at the beginnig. The rest is kind of boring, or at least not so special and pretty forgettabe. "Oblivion Ocean" is a song I absolutley love. It's a mellow and haunting song, with a beautiful melody that mainly expresses the pain that singer Gildenglow tries to show. "Stress" is another song I love. Very original, because of the ironic and childish melody united with the unbelievable technique typical of the genre. A true prog metal song. "Revival" is a really good song, a little long, but it definitely works. The melody is nice and enjoyable, and the sense of mysterious that many times invades the song is appreciable. "Void Of Her" is like Falling, from their third album TPE: a brief instrumental piece played with the electric guitar. "To The End" is heaven to a prog metal fan: everything great of the genre is here, technical excellence, complex song structure, fast rhythms. Really good generally. "Circles" is a great and fascinating interlude, a very brief track, but quite surprising. "Nighmist" is one of the best songs off this album. Mysterious, catchy, intriguing, a fabulous song. "Plains Of Dawn" is pretty good, but not great. It's a calm ballad, interesting in some parts, in other not that much. "Leaving Entropia" is the final goodbye, even though it could have been better. It's again a calm song, but easily forgettable.

A really good album to sum up, I recommend to prog metal fans especially.
Handing off the Baton..Enter the Pain I have always thought of Pain of Salvation as Queensryche's heirs, releasing this very strong debut in 1997, the same year Queensryche nosedived with Hear in the Now Frontier. And yet, like any worthy offspring, PoS bring many new sounds to the genre, both expanding old concepts to new extremes, and adding new ideas of their own. A la the Ryche, the music on Entropia is melodic, theatric, layered metal which I find very distinct from the Dream Theater school of metal. At the same time, all the players have very solid chops, and get their chances to shine. With the possible exception of the lead vocals, individual performances always take a back seat to the composition and emotional point of the song.

12 years later, it's easy to forget that rapid-fire changes in mood and structure that are now standard were somewhat novel before this band (and others such as Opeth). The first time I heard the opener (!), what struck me most was the abruptness of change, the jagged transitions. And it worked! I believe that this, along with some of the aggression in band leader Daniel Gildenlow's voice, came from the influence of Mike Patton's work in Faith No More and Mr. Bungle. (So he's merged the two best vocalists from the late 80's / early 90's into one powerful, over-the-top voice)

Tracks such as "Stress" are prog metal at it's most intricate - interweaving lines in complex time involving all the instruments. "Revival" combines choral voice, rapid-fire sixteenth note riffing, and lots of syncopation to produce a heavy, dramatic gem of a song. "To the End" is based on a reverse gallop rhythm that is precise, grinding, and aggressive. This leads into intricate composed leads and syncopated vocals, a short jazzy break, a slow sludge section, and an anthemic chorus. Certainly, by the time this album is over, the kitchen sink has long since been thrown in the mix. Overdone? Maybe, but this is metal. I like it.

Like Queensryche had done over a decade before, Pain of Salvation takes the state of art in metal playing and uses the full breadth of techniques as compositional tools, rather than color-by-number guidelines. By 1997, however, the state of the art had increased in precision and technicality, owing to the neo-classical and thrash movements (and Dream Theater's incorporation of both in their pioneering work). Gildenlow also updates prog metal with some of the better lyrics in metal. While he later pushes the envelope further and further and sometimes misses, here he's still intelligent but powerful. The storytelling is not as straightforward as Mindcrime, but lost also is the majority of the metal cheese.

While the band will continue to refine their sound, peaking with The Perfect Element, this album is already excellent, perhaps essential within its own sub-genre. Highly recommended.
This is my first Pain Of Salvation album. I have never ever actually listened to one of their albums from start to finish, but my brother has been playing them and worshiping at a statue of Daniel Gildenlow for a while I have to listen to one. (Puts in cd and runs away)

"Is this really a gift from the Gods."

Yes it is. I believe that Pain Of Salvation were put on this earth, due to the fact that they are everything that I like about music in general. There just for me, not for you...

Yes, I do believe, that even though this isn't their best album, it still is one of the greatest debut albums I have ever heard in my life (and I've listened to many many albums).

This album, as a whole has quite a funky texture but also an incredible emotional metal side to it as well.

The concept deals with war (I hate war, see they are made just for me). At times the concept is quite ambiguous, but to be honest, the dramatic music, the time changes and dynamics that would break a metronome (Meshuggah, if you're reading this, listen to this band...they can get it right)

1. ! (Forward) - What an amazing start to the album. This song kicks serious arse. Catchy as hell, such power from every instrument and Daniel's vocals are the best vocals in the world in this song. What an amazing song. No wonder they play it all the time.

2. Welcome To Entropia - It's a war. There's a helicopter....and a techno beat?

3. Winning A War - Very emotional. The lyrics really deplict emotion and heartache from the turmoil of war. The middle section is brilliant in my opinion.

4. People Passing By - What an epic. The bassline in this song is incredibly memorable and is a favourtie for a Pain Of Salvation song. With beautiful vocal harmonies, an incredibly well written and complex instrumental section. What more do you need. Amazing vocals? Yep, it's got them too.

5. Oblivion Ocean - Sounds like Zombie Eaters by Faith No More (although Faith No More basically are Pain Of Salvation...just not as good). A lovely ballad and some great vocals.

6. Stress - There is always one mental song on a Pain Of Salvation album. This would leave a math metal band crying. Seriously...

7. Revival - Alot of changes in tone and very dramatic. An amazing piece of music that really is emotional.

8. Void Of Her - Interlude basically.

9.To The End - Great counterpount and harmony in this song. Also a bit of a middle eastern vibe to the chrous. Amazing.

10. Circles - Another interlude with a folky influence and some nice vocals.

11. Nightmist - Epic as hell. There is also one of Daniel's most memorable high notes in this song. Very atmospheric and very dramatic.

12. Plains Of Dawn - Very Genesis like. Folky and dramatic. Not too Jethro Tull, but enough to get by.

13. Leaving Entropia (Epilogue) - The first time I ever heard this song was when I was getting money from a cashpoint. What a weird memory. Great ending. Leaves the listener very vague and lost.

CONCLUSION: Buy all their albums. Listen to them, sleep with them, breathe them, I will be for the next few years.

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