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4.16 | 58 ratings | 7 reviews
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Album · 1998


1. Spirit of the Land (0:43)
2. Part of the Machine: Inside (6:12)
3. Part of the Machine: The Big Machine (4:21)
4. Part of the Machine: New Year's Eve (5:43)
5. Spirit of Man: Handful of Nothing (5:39)
6. Spirit of Man: Water (5:05)
7. Spirit of Man: Home (5:49)
8. Karachay: Black Hills (6:33)
9. Karachay: Pilgrim (3:17)
10. Karachay: Shore Serenity (3:13)
11. Karachay: Inside Out (12:18)
12. Beyond the Mirror (8:29)
13. Timeweaver's Tale (6:21)

Total Time: 73:48


- Daniel Gildenlöw / lead vocals and guitars
- Fredrik Hermansson / keyboards and samplers
- Johan Langell / drums, percussion and vocals
- Kristoffer Gildenlöw / bass and vocals
- Johan Hallgren / guitars and vocals

About this release

Release date: July 21st, 1998
Label: InsideOut Music

South American bonus track: Beyond the Mirror (8:26)
Japanese bonus track: Timeweaver's Tale (6:21)

Tracks two through eleven are separated as follows:
"Part of the Machine" (2-4)
"Spirit of Man" (5-7)
"Karachay" (8-11)

Released in Japan July 21st 1998 by Avalon.
Released in Europe Jan 25th 1999 by InsideOut.
Released in USA Nov 9th 1999 by InsideOut America.
Released in South America Nov 9th 1999 by Hellion.

The European edition (total time 60:00) features a hidden track (6:33) after "Inside Out".

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


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The Crow
Marvellous Pain of Salvation's second act!

If Entropia was a very eclectic (it's a great album anyway), One Hour by the Concrete Lake is fair to its concept, offering a diverse but very well structured and funny piece of prog metal, full with changes and surprises, but in a clear and personal direction. Every song fit perfectly in the concept, and the sound of the album is homogeneous the whole time. This was the main problem if always found in the debut album Entropia, and they fixed it perfectly with this second opus.

Mixing the typical Pain of Salvation's jazz influences with some folk elements, and the complex hard riffs parts, Daniel Gildenlow made another outstanding performance with his voice. You only have to hear Water, or Pilgrim... I will never be tired of saying this man has the best voice in prog metal ever. Just incredible singing. The rest of the band also makes well. Ok, I never liked the Johan Langell's drum sound, a bit empty and too noisy, but it is not a big problem anyway. The production of the album is crystal clear, and a special mention deserves the keyboards sound, very well accomplished.

Best tracks: New Year's Eve (great guitar melodies), Water (what a way of singing!), Black Hills (dark, complex, and complete track), Pilgrim (the most beautiful Pain of Salvation's acoustic?) The album is full with good tracks, and except a few dull parts, the level is outstanding. The short length also helps to enjoy the full album without avoiding any song.

Conclusion: after the very good Entropia, Pain of Salvation improved their style to making their first full conceptual album. Their personal, dark and complex way to understand prog metal is here yet. And even this album doesn't reach the levels of The Perfect Element or Remedy Lane, is an excellent addition to any prog collection, without a doubt.

My rating: ****

P.S.: this review was originally written for, and rewritten to be included here.
Pain of Salvation's second album presents a lot of general grousing about the state of the world today - backed up, at points, by statistics the band literally read out loud during the songs - whilst offering little coherent to suggest what may be done. With its running time artificially constrained to exactly 1 hour in keeping with the title, the band's darker and more hard-edged take on the Dream Theater sound is appealing, but here is compromised by the rather clumsy delivery of the points they wish to make. Ultimately, if they wanted to disseminate a bunch of facts, they could have just written a pamphlet or produced catchy and memorable protest songs instead of an oblique concept album.
Conor Fynes
'One Hour By The Concrete Lake' - Pain of Salvation (6/10)

First off, let me say that this album is very well composed; better than three stars is worth... The music and performances are top notch and the lyrics are among some of the most intelligent that Gildenlow has written. There is great progression here, great flow, and excellent songwriting. So, why does this album not have five stars? To be quite honest, I'm not sure.

To take a stab at the possible reason I can't bring myself to give this album the extra stars, I might say it's the lack of emotional impact. My mind is plenty stimulated by the complexity and thought-provoking nature of the album, but I don't find myself truly, deeply moved by the music. There is an incredible amount of emotion in Pain of Salvation's other works (most notably Remedy Lane) but this one just seems a bit dry. Even this album's predecessor 'Entropia' blew my mind and emotionally gripped me. Although progressive metal isn't generally thought of as an emotive genre, I've come to expect Pain of Salvation (one of my all time favourite bands) to evoke a certain level of sentiment in me. This album simply doesn't.

Another reason could be the rather bland production quality itself. You can hear the instruments just find, but the music sounds like it pouring through a small corridor. Although it's forgivable due to the fact they were still a relatively new band (Pain of Salvation wouldn't find widespread recognition until 'The Perfect Element') it makes no sense that the sound quality on this album is much worse than their debut. 'Entropia' harboured a great sound, and had top notch production. This album lacked the inspiration.

However, despite all this criticism, believe me when I say it is a great album. It's complex, highly musical prog and any fan of the genre should appreciate this album. Overall, it's shortcomings don't deter from an altogether good musical experience.
Ecological Concept Album Showcases Genius at his Creative Best

One Hour by the Concrete Lake is one of my favorite Pain of Salvation albums. (Unlike most fans I prefer the two before TPE to the two after by quite a margin.) The story behind this one concerns a weapons manufacturer who travels the world, seeing the impact of mankind (and his weapons) upon the environment. This climaxes in his visit to the concrete lake, a body of water in Russia so polluted that one hour at its shore is enough to cause fatal radiation poisoning. I realize that I'm a sucker for the subject matter, but I think it's more focused than perhaps any of Gildenlow's storylines. While certainly ambitious, the story doesn't over-reach as DG is prone to do, and the intensity of the music matches the theme quite well.

More importantly, the music is just great. Contrast of light and dark, low harmonies, odd time signatures, a variety of vocal tonalities, all the things we love about Pain of Salvation are here on full display. The riffs really rock, the solos are strong, and the melodic lines are interesting. "Black Hills" is a prog metal masterwork, and throughout the album there are moments that make me want to say "Now that's what I'm talking about!!!" Other highlights include "Shore Serenity," "Water," and in typical fashion Gildenlow gives us a grand exit with "Inside Out."

My only complaint with the album is that some of the instrumental tones, especially the drums, sound a bit low budget. There are some bass drum beats that sound triggered or programmed (and a bit cheesy), and the guitar tone can get a little fuzzier than is my taste. But unlike Remedy Lane where the tone problems distract me from enjoying the music, here it's more of a minor detail that I'd improve if given the chance, no more. At the same time, some of the tones are perfectly chosen, and there are some sonically overwhelming sections that sound perfect.

This is, in my opinion, PoS 2nd best album, and I am tempted to give it a masterpiece rating. I heartily disagree with those (including Gildenlow himself) that put Concrete Lake at the bottom of the PoS discography. And yet, in the context of the bands full work, there is clearly some growth and improvement yet to come. But I think it's a must for prog metal fans, certainly excellent.
Phonebook Eater
Pain Of Salvation's second album has some great and memorable moments that sound like "Classic" POS, and definitely there are a lot of great concert highlights(I haven't seen them live yet unfortunately). But it's still an immature album, without some effectively powerful and mature moments. However, songs like "Pilgrim" which is one of the bands best ballads, "The Big Machine", which is a dark and truly effective song, make this album excellent, but still, like I said, it's still immature and not so great to be defined as a masterpiece. But we're close. Recommendable for whoever loves prog metal, like I do. Enjoy!
This album, it's amazing obviously, is quite different than their first. The songs are shorter, the music is darker, and it is more of a metal album.

The concept is easier to understand and, again, it agress with me. Yay :).

The story is based on a guy who used to make guns, then stopped making guns, started blaming himself for murder (guns don't kill people, people do and sometimes monkeys do...if they have a gun - Eddie Izzard), starts to look at dumping grounds for toxic waste which is poisoning people's water, goes to a lake that was blocked up with concrete, stays there....dies I think. Basically.

1. Spirit Of The Land - Nice intro.

2. Inside - The soundtrack to my life. This song is one of my favourite songs of all time. No comment.

3. The Big Machine - Reminds me of Disney for some reason. Great chorus and amazing vocals and music from all the band. :)

4. New Years Eve - Very dramatic and some amazing hooks and vocals from Daniel. Amazing and very epic.

5. Handfull Of Nothing - This song is better live in Ending Themes, for some reason. Again dynamics and syncpated beats at the max (Meshuggah...listen and learn!!) This is the Stress of this album, I believe.

6. Water - Very ballady. Very nice and quite epic at places.

7. Home - Another ballady song. It's not the same as Water, they both are very different, but Home is more of a ballad, if anything, although Pain Of Salvation do believe Used to be a ballad.

8. Black Hills - Epic...very epic. What do you's Pain Of Salvation.

9. Pilgrim - A more folky song. There's always one.

10. Shore Serenity - There's alot happening in this song, even though it is one of the shorter tracks. Very impressive and some great catchy moments.

11. Inside Out - Incredibly epic and amazing way to end the album. Astonishing my dear man. Fetch the mop...

CONCLUSION - Darker but also more easier to listen to. But it, or else...I'll push you off a cliff.

Members reviews


When I found this album buried in the used section of a local music store, I was at first dismayed. For who possibly could not find it in themselves to love and appreciate this unbelievable band? But I was also happy because it was all I needed to complete my Salvation catalogue. This album is 100 percent beauty in rock from start to finish. A natural progression from Entropia, and yet different in many ways. The concept is still war-oriented. The music is much more focused; songs flow into each other more coherently. Of course we have Daniel Gildenlow's heavenly vocals. He doesn't strain so hard on this album, and delivers some of the most killer vocals harmonies I've ever heard. If you want to pour your heart out, this band is the way to go. "Perfect" does not do it justice.

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