PAIN OF SALVATION — The Perfect Element, Part 1

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PAIN OF SALVATION - The Perfect Element, Part 1 cover
4.17 | 89 ratings | 11 reviews
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Album · 2000

Tracklist

1. Chapter I. "As These Two Desolate Worlds Collide": Used (5:23)
2. Chapter I. "As These Two Desolate Worlds Collide": In the Flesh (8:36)
3. Chapter I. "As These Two Desolate Worlds Collide": Ashes (4:28)
4. Chapter I. "As These Two Desolate Worlds Collide": Morning on Earth (4:34)
5. Chapter II. "It All Catches Up on You When You Slow Down": Idioglossia (8:29)
6. Chapter II. "It All Catches Up on You When You Slow Down": Her Voices (7:56)
7. Chapter II. "It All Catches Up on You When You Slow Down": Dedication (4:00)
8. Chapter II. "It All Catches Up on You When You Slow Down": King of Loss (9:46)
9. Chapter III. "Far Beyond the Point of No Return": Reconciliation (4:24)
10. Chapter III. "Far Beyond the Point of No Return": Song for the Innocent (3:02)
11. Chapter III. "Far Beyond the Point of No Return": Falling (1:50)
12. Chapter III. "Far Beyond the Point of No Return": The Perfect Element (10:09)

Total Time: 72:42

Bonus disc
1. [data track] (32:50)
2. Beyond the Mirror (8:22)
3. Never Learn to Fly (5:15)
4. Timeweaver's Tale (6:21)

Total Time: 52:49

Line-up/Musicians

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

About this release

Release date: October 31st, 2000
Label: InsideOut Music

This album is divided as follows:
I: "As these two desolate worlds collide" (tracks 1-4)
II: "It all catches up with you when you slow down" (tracks 5-8)
III: "Far beyond the point of no return" (9-12)

The Japanese version has a bonus track:
13. Epilogue (3:14)

The limited edition in slipcase features a bonus CD with the following tracklist:

1. Beyond The Mirror 8:22 (from the Japanese edition of One Hour By The Concrete Lake)
2. Never Learn To Fly 5:15 (from the Japanese edition of Entropia)
3. Timeweaver’s Tale 6:21 (from the Japanese edition of One Hour By The Concrete Lake)
Enhanced Element Contents:
1. Ashes (Video) 4:37
2. The Making Of Ashes (Video) 4:47
3. Interview with the band 5:53
4. Timeweaver’s Tale (Demo 1993) 9:01
5. Unknowing (Demo 1993) 7:14
6. Repent (Demo 1991 or 1992) 4:58
7. ! (Video) 6:30
8. Pilgrim (Video) 3:32
9. The Big Machine (Video) 5:13
10. The Q Krunkers From Hell-Do Ung 6:10 hidden track
11. People Passing By (Demo) 9:02 hidden track

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

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PAIN OF SALVATION PART 1 THE PERFECT ELEMENT reviews

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adg211288
The Perfect Element, Part I by Pain of Salvation is one of those progressive metal albums with a reputation: if you claim to like progressive music, this is an album you must hear. Well I heard it many years ago and having been completely disenchanted by the band's two prior records, The Perfect Element proved to be the final nail in the coffin in my journey through the work of Pain of Salvation. In fact I disliked the album so much I left the lowest possible rating I could on it, a rating that many have questioned me over since. It's surely getting close to a whole decade later if it hasn't already done so, and regard for the album remains high. People seem to genuinely not believe me when I say I don't like The Perfect Element. And I reached a point where I couldn't even justify the rating, having long reached the point where I couldn't remember a single thing about what it actually sounded like or even why I disliked it so much. Therefore I decided to venture back in to see if this supposed masterpiece could click this time around.

The first song Used starts off and by its conclusion there's only one thought in my mind: that I've made a massive mistake. But not because I was wrong about the album before. The mistake was putting myself through this again. Used may just be the worst song I've heard from a supposed 'progressive' metal band. If this is how the album opened it left me with little hope for the rest of it.

The next track is In the Flesh, which actually has some brief moments of promise and some better showcase of the band as musicians. Unfortunately it's also a very boring track overall, dragged out for over eight and a half minutes. But at least that's preferable to Ashes, which is once again a load of rubbish. Next up, Morning on Earth, is bearable I guess, but not exactly an exciting track. It was at this point in the album that I really considered just switching it off. However I was committed to this review by that point, so I had to solider on, hoping there would be something in the next two thirds to justify even a portion of the album's reputation.

Idioglossia finally started to offer some promise for The Perfect Element with a great progressive metal intro, the first of its kind on the album thus far (when you can only say that about a progressive metal album when you get to its fifth song you know the thing has serious problems). Sadly it's ruined by the time the vocals come in. The vocals aren't the only problem I have with this album, but they really don't help the situation either. Daniel Gildenlöw isn't a bad singer; he would later be part of the cast on Ayreon's 01011001 album and I never had an issue with his voice there, but on The Perfect Element his performance rarely works for me. He even tries rapping in some places, like in Used. I don't like rap in general and can rarely even tolerate it. In an album with a reputation as a progressive metal masterpiece it's the last thing I want or expect to hear. But I don't care for his vocals at all times on this album no matter what he's doing at the time. Idioglossia is, at least, the best song the album has served up by this point, but even so, I don't feel especially positive about it overall. If anything I feel an irrational anger at the album by this point. Well, perhaps not at the album itself or the band, but certainly at the reputation people have built up around it. Nothing heard so far in any way justifies the kind of regard the album has.

Finally we get Her Voices, which after a shaky start becomes the first really good song on the album. But it feels like a lot of effort to get here after the first five tracks. But it is at least more like the sort of instrumental prowess and creativity that I was always led to expect from the album. Unfortunately this sudden surge of everything finally coming together doesn't last and following track Dedication is just boring and any good will garnered by Her Voices is soon used up. King of Loss isn't much better, dragging its feet for about three minutes before some heavy guitars show up. I don't mind soft music, but I did come here for progressive metal. By this point in that I can't say that much actual progressive metal has been delivered. Some alternative metal (arguably nu metal), absolutely. And some softer stuff which I am completely unconvinced over the band's ability to deliver convincingly.

As we start the album's last chapter, Reconciliation is a decent song. It's shorter, proggy and effective. Not a track that will leave your jaw on the floor in a hurry, but it does prove Pain of Salvation a capable unit when they get their act together and stop pussyfooting around with elements that clearly aren't in their wheelhouse. Song for the Innocent is also of the same calibre, but being the shortest song so far at barely three minutes feels more like an interlude, which is what the penultimate Falling actually is, not even hitting two minutes. It's just some nice, inoffensive lead guitar backed by ambience, clearly setting the stage for what on paper looks geared up to be the album's crowning achievement, it's ten minute title track, The Perfect Element. So is it?

In a word: no. It's not bad either, but it is anticlimactic. A rather drawn out end to a drawn out and disjointed album that over the course of over seventy minutes has never once lived up to its reputation, produced a fair amount of dull material and a couple of bloody awful tracks. The second half is certainly stronger than the first (as would it always have been by virtue of not having Used as a part of it), but it's still not anything special. It at least sounds more maturely delivered, which given that the album is a concept album dealing with childhood and adolescence, is probably by design, but the whole concept idea and delivery really doesn't fly with me. Her Voices remains, by the end, the album's best and only solid track.

And so let's summarise:

The Perfect Element? What an ironically named album. I would really love to know what other people seem to hear in this, because I think it's one of the worst progressive metal albums I've ever heard, also barely deserving of the term being applied to it, at least in its first half. There are a few decent moments, enough that I objectively shouldn't retain my older 0.5 star rating on it (though objectively it is no more than two stars at most), but I feel that I ultimately must because even though The Perfect Element does have its moments, it's never excellent and upon its conclusion the things I dislike about it outweigh the things I didn't mind or liked so much that I'm left with only one feeling for it: I despise this album and while I do try to write the text of my reviews objectively and not come across as a raving lunatic, the score should be my opinion. And my opinion is that The Perfect Element is much less than the sum of its parts and the only good thing I feel to have come out of giving it another chance was the opportunity to write this review to refer people to when they ask why the fuck do I have a 0.5 on The Perfect Element. And in another ten years maybe I'll re-read this and remind myself to next time not to bother revisiting it. And I certainly have no intention of ever intentionally hearing a single note of its sequel Scarsick, or anything else by Pain of Salvation. We are clearly incompatible.
The Crow
Prog-metal for the new millennium!

After two excellent albums, Pain of Salvation released one of the best prog-metal records ever made with their third effort. Deep, catchy and challenging, with a dark concept full of meaning and mixed feelings. This is the natural evolution of acts like Dream Theater and Queensryche.

The only complain I have with this album is that it's a bit too dense, maybe also too long sometimes. But this is a minor fault when you are enjoying tracks so splendid, diverse and well produced like these. Perfect mixture between virtuosity, great songwriting and accessibility.

And I want to give a special mention to Daniel's vocals... One of the best singers in metal history in top form here! Just awesome.

Best Tracks: there is no filler here. Really!

Conclusion: dark, melancholic and complex prog-metal with an incredible songwriting, very good production and lots of new ideas and influences (rap, industrial, jazz...) very well crafted in a collection of great songs which helped to create the path to follow for tons of new metal bands in the new millennium.

Not for every day, but perfect to be enjoyed every so often. A true prog-metal masterpiece!

My rating: *****
voila_la_scorie
An 80's hair metal band gets marinated in progressive rock.

I read a lot of very good reviews about this album and saw it was among the top rated prog metal albums on PA and MMA. Since I had just received at the time Symphony X's "V: The New Mythology Suite", which is another top rated prog metal album on both sites, and I quickly grew to love it, I thought that this album should be among my next prog metal purchases. Honestly though, this one is taking its time to appeal to me.

The good points are many. Daniel Gildenlow has a very diverse voice and can sing anything from gruff barks to high screams to smooth and calm to somewhere in between it all. The album tells the story (part 1) of two broken people, He and She, who meet and begin a relationship. That's as far as I got there. I'm afraid the broken people stories don't go far with me. The best one I've heard is Nine Inch Nails' "The Downward Spiral". After that it's difficult to impress me with that kind of story. Still, Gildenlow uses his voice to effectively convey the emotions of each part of the story. The music is for the most part not too complex but like "The Wall" (in a way) mostly sticks to relaying the moments in the tale. The tempo stays slow to mid-range and I only noticed one part where a double bass drum comes into play. In this way, this is a pretty mild and tame metal album despite the theme of pain and frustration.

Two other points to mention in favour of the music are the guitar and keyboards. While there are no catchy, bang-your-head metal riffs, the guitarist (be it Gildenlow or Johan Hallgren) uses lead playing to create beautiful melody lines and as well there are some delightful licks here and there in the solos, particularly in "Her Voices" lies a favourite of mine. Fredrik Hermanssen is used very well to provide beautiful piano passages, atmospheric synthesizer, and some powerful rhythm synth work that treads into symphonic prog metal at times, most notably in the title track. I always feel that if you're going to have a keyboard player in a metal band then you should let him/her contribute to the overall quality of the music and not just keep the keys in the background for rhythm behind the guitars.

There's some great music on this album and the songs to stand out the most for me are "Ideoglossia", "Her Voices", "King of Loss" and "Reconciliation". These songs are where the overall feel of the album is wonderfully combined with some excellent music that captures the progressive metal quality best or where the music is simply beautiful. The title track offers some great moments too.

However, there are some aspects of the album that still haven't grabbed me. First, this is not really a heavy metal album. There are parts where the guitars are loud and the vocals screaming or full of raw energy but the majority of the songs are pretty lightweight. Even when the music gets heavy and aggressive I find myself thinking that it needs more bass to enrich the sound. It's as if the band wanted to show aggression without wanting to be offensive. The first four songs are easy to get by because they don't really get the album up and running. It's not until "Ideoglassia" that things really turn exciting and even then the song reuses the pseudo-rap of "Used" and reintroduces the chorus of "Ashes". It almost seems that the album is already reprising music before it has hardly gotten started. Thankfully the rest of the song really begins to show off POS's talent. There are also a couple of puzzling spoken lines like "Call your dad" at the end of "Her Voices" and the beginning of "Dedication" (I'm sure he says, "Call your dad") and "Will I ever walk again?" in the title track. If I familiarize myself with the story more it might make more sense to me, but these lines just seem to leap out from the music and I'm like, "Huh?"

For me, a good album should be enjoyable to listen to straight through and as well have a few songs that can be enjoyed on their own. The four songs that I have mentioned here are great stand alone tracks but the rest of the album goes by me without many parts signaling my attention. I agree that this is a great album insofar as the effort and outcome are concerned. But I am not as excited about the whole concept as I am about the music in a few parts.

For anyone who doesn't like really aggressive metal but can appreciate something a little more melodic and easy, this album makes for a nice safe step into progressive metal. I think it's still a good album, but I'd like to hear another POS album that is either a little more technical or a little more varied in pace.
Warthur
I wasn't too thrilled by the first two Pain of Salvation albums, and to be honest I've never altogether warmed up to them, but I have to admit that on The Perfect Element Part 1 the disparate parts of their sound come together as cohesively as they have ever done. Drawing from a wider range of metal influences than is typical for a progressive metal band - there's even points, as on Used, where things begin to sound a bit like Faith No More (particularly when it comes to the Mike Pattonish vocals and the groove metal riffs) - still, there's enough more traditionally proggy elements to the album to keep most prog fans happy.

A lot of the time I think Pain of Salvation's occasionally goofy lyrics and concepts overshadow their music, but that certainly isn't the case here - and in presenting a radically less showboaty and cheesy vision of prog metal than the genre's giants in Dream Theater do, the band have done a lot to help the genre's sound emerge from the shadow of Images and Words, even if their particular blend isn't to my liking.
AtomicCrimsonRush
Pain of Salvation's "The Perfect Element Part 1" is the third POS item I acquired and it is a real departure from what I had expected after listening to "Remedy Lane" and watching the "Ending Themes" DVD. I recognised a lot of tracks from the live DVD such as 'Used' but the studio versions are way more polished and easier to listen to. The production on this album is excellent. I like the vocals better too on the studio versions. The concept of this album is rather heavy handed but you can bypass it for the quality of the tracks. I like the lyrics on this though they are dark and brooding culminating in a final immolation of the protagonist. The tracks range from incredibly heavy to incredibly melancholy.

Used is a heavy opener that has a great vocal from Daniel, low and ominous in the verses and heavier when he sings "getting used to pain..." the rapping lyrics are angry and intense; "I am the unclean, The black drop at the bottom of your cup, You'd better drink or throw me up, 'Cause I am on your lip and tongue, God, I'm not yours as much as you are mine, So let me in to be your lung, Just breathe me deep and take another sip So still, A taste so sweet but so bitter the kill, Still on your lip, You are so close..." fairly nasty lyrics with an emo feel in some sense, and a very symphonic sound is present.

In The Flesh features a quiet vocal on the verses and a lovely guitar lick. It builds in tempo during the mid section. There is an odd time signature at about 4 minutes into the track. It changes feel after 5 minutes and gets heavier. It mellows out again completely toward the ending and there is an excellent acoustic instrumental section with Fredrik's piano. A very moody, evocative song.

Ashes is a well known POS song and has a great vampiric film clip to promote this album. The clip is genuinely creepy with chilling images of a sick old man fondling a mannequin, a couple of lovers romping naked and then covered in ashes, little children, a bath full of gore and a woman lying in it with a snorkel, and Daniel leering into the camera clad in black. The track features a deep menacing vocal in the verses and a louder chorus; "as we walk through the ashes I whisper your name...". The sound is ominous and Gothically dark. There is a musical box chime that plays throughout giving that creepy feeling of innocence lost, the theme of death pervades all.

Morning On Earth has a pastoral feel, an orchestrated approach, with calming vocals. It flows along with lucid keyboards sustained. There are some fascinating lyrics here; "I am the tears in your mouth, I am the weight on your shoulder, I am the scream that wants out, And my heart just couldn't grow colder, Now this rusty heart is my gift, This fallen love is my gift..." The musical box sound appears at the beginning and end, almost like a toy piano.

Ideoglossia is 8 and a half minutes of fantastic metal. The guitar riff at the beginning builds with heavy distortion, bass and drums. An awesome sound drives this one headlong with a very unusual time sig. The lyrics spell out the pain of the protagonist encountering death; "Kneeling in whirlpools, Of pink champagne, Celebrating the bravery of my pain, Something broke And no water could ever wash, The anger from that first stain, I scratched the surface to find Someone wicked and blind, Where did it come to that end? Why can't these scars ever mend?" The riffs are very intricate, complex musicianship. The vocals are kind of like rap, the type of thing found on "Scarsick". The track slows suddenly and changes back to fast without warning. It even reprises 'Ashes' chorus. There are some wonderful harmonies too. This is glorious metal, one of the best on this album.

Her Voices runs for 8 minutes and is dominated by strong keyboard staccato passages. Very gentle vocals of Daniel carry the song again in a beautiful style but with darkly sinister lyrics. It builds to an interesting faster riff and very loud chunky guitar licks. The flute sound is arresting and works well to balance the metal sounds. Once again this is a mini epic that soars into the stratosphere. It is so well played with a very complicated structural framework. The majestic feel is solid and it builds to a crescendo, one of POS' ultimate tracks.

Dedication is a quiet track with soft vocals, acoustic and piano. It has an atmosphere of impending doom and loss. "I still can't believe that you are not around, That your warm voice won't make another sound, Sure I understand, but I never will accept, That you should be gone, I watched you die, And I have feared this moment Since I was just a child, So why that sunny sky? When my beloved grandfather Lies dead here cold and still?"

King Of Loss is a 10 minute mini epic beginning with intricate guitar riffs and piano with heartfelt vocals. The piano is creepy, there are some brilliant time sigs that shift at stages. When the vocals are sung "I am the king of loss!" the track builds to a heavier feel and a delicious chord structure, loud keyboard stabs and ambient sounds. The pace quickens as the next verses are sung; "Mother, I wish that we could talk, You see I'm not fit to play this game, Bound by its rules just the same, My talents turned to talons, Every monetary pile, Will buy me a precious smile... smile... So smile for the King of Loss Feed from the juices Bleeding from this cross Then tell me our lives mean more Than this vain thirst!..." The lead break by Johan on this track is divine, very emotional and creative with orchestrated sections.

Reconciliation has a catchy riff and a moderate rock beat, a more accessible track for the band. Interesting lyrics about the guilt of the protagonist, "I'm sick of running away... I've washed my hands of your blood, Thought it would leave me clean, But with time on my hands, It turned to mud forming this crust of sin, Now to be truly free, I'll let it come to me So break me if you must, When you break this crust, Freedom is to see, Hear this voice, see this man, Standing before you I'm just a child, Just a man learning to yield... I hate what these eyes have seen".

Song For The Innocent features Daniel's gentle vocals, ethereal guitars and Fredrik's haunting piano. The moderate rock beat gives it a kick along and it has a great chorus with loud crunching guitars.

Falling is a beautiful guitar solo by Johan that is very popular with budding guitarists as you may note on YouTube the amount of guitarists giving this a go. It is a very pretty melancholy tune and emotional in line with the context of the concept of a man falling deeper into sin.

The Perfect Element is a 10 minute album closer that is one of the best from POS. It begins with the familiar guitar riff, then a wall of sound is generated with orchestrated synths from Fredrik. The lyrics are as dark as it gets; "Stealing meaning from this child, We took away his reason, His soul put under lock and key, His heart blackened from treason, But if you take from those you fear, Everything they value, You have bred the perfect beast, Drained enough to kill you...Falling far beyond the point of no return Nothing to become and nothing left to burn...Watching unseen untouched bleeding Empty exposed dying eyes closed." At 7 minutes in the beat changes and the track shifts into a fast tempo with multi layered tracks. The album ends with a huge finale, and the chapter is closed on this part of the concept.

The album overall is one to listen to from end to end as the tracks blend together into one seamless track. The concept is creepy but this should not detract from the brilliant music. Daniel's vocals take some getting used to but it is a unique sound that POS generates and one to revel in with blasts of symphonic, Gothic nu metal and passages of deep ambience.
Negoba
HEIR TO OPERATION MINDCRIME

For many years, the classic masterpiece Mindcrime was my standard for the best metal album of all time. Despite looking far and wide, I had never found a suitable companion. I had heard and liked PoS previously (mainly tracks from Entropia) and owned many other Queensryche albums. But the Perfect Element is the only album I have found that is a worthy successor. I would argue that this is intentional, that PoS had Operation Mindcrime was part of the work that most influenced the album, just as the Wall influenced Queensryche.

Clearly Geoff Tate was a huge influence on frontman Daniel Gildenlow's vocal style. But Gildenlow has expanded the vocabulary greatly, including influences by the vocal genius Mike Patton. The often mentioned rap-style is much more reminiscent of Faith No More than R&B, and on this album fits well in my opinion.

The songs themselves are strong, and though they flow together into one work very seamlessly, each one has something to offer. Much like Mindcrime, the equivalent of the first side of the disc is nearly flawless, but here the second half keeps up its end of the bargain even better. King of Loss and the title track are very strong.

Furthermore, TPE is much more classically progressive than Mindcrime. More changes in time, timbre, more variety in sounds. The lyrics and storyline are less straightforward and this could be a plus or a minus depending on your preference. (I actually like the clarity of the storyline in Mindcrime. As anti- establishment as Gildenlow is, he will never match Revolution Calling for its eerily timeless critique of corrupt capatilism.)

Having now listened to all of PoS early catalog, and some of their most recent work, I have little problem saying this is their best album by far. Both Entropia and Remedy Lane have their moments that I really enjoy, but no other album works from the first note to the last as well as this one. Highly recommended to say the least as it is my #2 Prog metal album of all time.

Phonebook Eater
10/10

"The Perfect Element" is not only Pain Of Salvation's magnum opus, but also one of the great metal albums of our time.

2001 was probably the best year for progressive in the 00’s: Devin Townsend’s “Terria”, Maudlin Of The Well’s “Bath” and “Leaving Your Body Map”, Tool’s “Lateralus”, Green Carnation, “Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness”, and Pain Of Salvation’s “The Perfect Element”, certainly the band’s magnum opus.

The album has everything a prog metal should have: fast, heavy and technical moments, light, beautiful ballads, long, complex songs, and great musicianship, especially for singer and guitarist Daniel Gildenlow. Also, “The Perfect Element” has a lot of songs for a prog album, twelve. Some are long (but never more than ten minutes), some are short, so it is balanced well.

The production is good, highlighting the excellent musicianship of all members. What makes the structure of the album so unique is the amazing, amazing flow these songs have of one another; "The Perfect Element" is sure a concept album, about losing innocence, rape, murder, concentrating particularly on childhood and adolescence. But even for this sort of record, the flow is unlike no other album. From "Used" to the title track, the band shows in this particular album how eclectic they are, from a Nu-Metal friendly tune to a progressive one, from an aggressive, but somewhat melancholic metal part, to a haunting and beautiful calm piece. Indeed, the album intends to be listened to all at once, just like a concept album, like one long song. As this is a concept album, many hooks return in different parts of the album, making the album even more solid.

"Used" is the friendliest song here, it almost doesn't sound anything like progressive. But then comes "In The Flesh", eight wonderful minutes, (where Gildenlow's vocals dominate everything else) that build so majestically that only a fool wouldn't call it ambitious as hell. Many of the long songs work that way, like the title track, possibly the band's best song ever, or "King Of Loss", a dreadful and soul crushing experience because of it's utterly haunting moments. Even "Her Voices" works this way, another excellent builder, very climactic. Some other songs though couldn't be more different, like the wild "Idioglossia", or "Reconciliation". And then they are the short, calm ones, like "Song For The Innocent", "Morning On Earth" or "Dedication". An album that creates, unfolds, rebuilds, reduces to smithereens, there and back again.

"The Perfect Element" surely is not only Pain Of Salvation's magnum opus, but also one of the great metal albums of our time that have a strong progressive influence, and automatically are called Progressive Metal. But attributing that label to this record would be a huge injustice to the music that lies within it.
arcane-beautiful
After releasing an amazing debut, and a paralleled sophomore album; the third album was less of a challenge, because once you have 2 amazing albums, the third is basically an excuse to continue your good work.

I feel that this album is in ways better than the first 2, mixing elements of both albums, but still retaining a unique approach.

This album was in many ways, a perfect element?you can't get a better pun than that.

The concept in ways is much darker than the first 2, due to the fact that it deals with the loss of innocence within childhood. The language used is very interesting, and Daniel really does pour his heart and soul into everything he does.

1.Used ? Dark and disturbing. The intro is very "grabbing by the balls." The lyrics are quite dark and very disturbing. Daniels angry vocals really give a sense of character. The guitar solo is probably one of the greatest solo's I have ever heard. The last vocal note, is incredibly high and the climax leading to it sends a shiver down my spine every time I hear it. Amazing, This song is also an amazing song to hear them play live. I heard it's their most complicated song for the band.

2.In The Flesh ? Quite dark and disturbing, but very beautiful in places. Very epic and emotional. One of their better songs in my opinion.

3.Ashes ? The single from the album. The toy piano does add a very childlike effect. Great chorus and it remains a fan favourite and a theme throughout the album.

4.Morning On Earth ? A laid back moment. You need one after the first 3 songs. Very beautiful and very calm.

5.Idioglossia ? A kick ass bass riff and amazing polyrhythms. Very dramatic and very memorable. The instrumental parts in this song are amazing.

6.Her Voices ? Quite eerie but still very epic. Quite catchy as well.

7.Dedication ? Another more laid back moment. The Pain Of Salvation laid back moments are quite a thrill.

8.King Of Loss ? Probably one of my favourite songs of theirs. This song is very out there when it comes to arrangements. I love the lyrics and the tune of the chorus, quite sad but very frightening.

9.Reconciliation - One of their better riffs. The piano and guitar parts are very kick ass and beautiful.

10.Song For The Innocent ? Laid back. What more can I say?

11.Falling ? Brief interlude basically.

12.The Perfect Element ? This song is a good end to the album, but to be honest, it doesn't match up to Beyond The Pale. I love the rhythmic drums that end the song.

CONCLUSION: An amazing album. Incredibly infectious and an incredible listening experience. Buy it now. If you haven't heard of this band yet, then you are missing out on so much.
J-Man
There is so much to say about this absolutely perfect album. Pain of Salvation nailed it again. The first two releases by the Swedish progressive metal band, while great in their own respect, only hinted at the perfection that they would soon achieve with this album. There isn't a single flaw on this entire album. One thing I praise Pain of Salvation for doing is creating a new type of progressive metal. The modern day prog metal scene is crowded with too many Dream Theater clones (I love DT, but it gets annoying). Pain of Salvation has a more experimental type sound, uses various influences, and isn't nearly as heavy (for the most part).

Pain of Salvation's frontman, Daniel Gildenlow, is the foundation of the band. He writes all of the music (except a small section in "Her Voices", which he co-wrote). You also have to respect the incredible voice this guy has. At first listen, I found the singing style very different. He can sing really high pitches, he does borderline growls sometimes, and he even occasionally raps! Now if this sounds like too much for you, it very well might be. Pain of Salvation has am signature sound that can't be compared to anything else. This album will determine if you like them or not, and is a great starting place for anyone looking for a different type of progressive metal.

The Perfect Element is a concept album that has many lyrical themes and a few musical reprises. This album doesn't have an overture or a prelude, but it has many reprises throughout the album and is used perfectly. I love how in almost every song on this album they combine dark sections with lighthearted and emotional sections that flow perfectly. For example, in the opening song "Used" it sounds very dark and heavy, but then it has a beautiful section that flows back into the dark section.

This album is tied with Dream Theater's "Scenes From A Memory" as my favorite progressive metal album. Now, just because you like Dream Theater, Symphony X, etc. it does not necessarily mean you will like Pain of Salvation's signature sound. I think that you would have to have an open mind to music, and you will love this as much as I do. This is definitely in my top 10 albums of all time, and is Pain of Salvation's magnum opus. An album I would recommend to any progressive metal fan willing to listen to a level of quality that has never been previously achieved.

5/5 stars without any hesitation.

(Originally written for ProgArchives.com)

Members reviews

Isa
The only disappointing "masterpiece" I've yet encountered.

I suppose I'm just one of those people that I've seen before who find this album dreadfully dull and uninteresting, rather than a five star masterpiece. In general, I tend to agree with the opinions on this website when it comes to highly rated bands and albums. In fact, there are only three prog-metal bands of the many I've heard that I just could never enjoy on any level. I can say that Pain of Salvation, particularly with this release, is one of them.

I have tried to listen to this album about ten to twenty times, and almost every time I wanted to turn it off out of shear boredom and annoyance, and often did. The main problem is that every track that came on, I'd think, "oh cool, this is kind of an interesting intro... I wonder how they'll develop the song from that." And they never really did. Granted, the music itself sounds like it was put together in a pretty balanced way usually, but I never got out of the feeling of waiting for the song to go somewhere, only to be disappointed as it ended.

This is indeed progressive metal, and of the slightly more eclectic and less cliche type, using sounds and instrumentation that breaks even the mold of the progressive metal sound. This is the soul reason for me giving this more than a one star, is the uniqueness of sound. Guitar tones are pretty nice, and vocals are competently in tune with decent (albeit alternative sounding) tone.

Unfortunately, it's the composition, the rise and fall of a piece, the melody, harmonies, riffs and solos that make up the interest of a song for me personally. This album sounded more like a mushy mass of eclectic sounding prog metal in the end. The vocal melodies (and even the harmonies) were dull. The riffs were dull. The transitions between sections were dull. If I were to imagine something moving to this music, it would be a humanoid mass of sludge trying in vein to walk forward despite its own weight dragging itself back. This is the image, the feeling I had in my mind for every song beginning to end.

These are good musicians, and the album has good production, but the composition is just so under-developed that I have no interest in really pursuing other albums, except to find redemption for this band in for my ears. If you're a fan of this band, go for it. As highly rated as this album is, I reckon if you like their other work, you'll probably like this one.
aiylyn
Transcendent,

The secret to writing music that moves and lives so effortlessly is buried deep inside the souls and minds of the Swedish entity we call Pain of Salvation. Daniel Gildenlow and company have shown that they know what the word "progressive" really means and have done exactly that through all of their albums, previous to this and after it. Each musician displays technical proficiency, but songwriting here, as always with them, is what takes the spotlight. I've never heard a band that can continually push the envelope with each successive album like this. They pull together a myriad of different moods and styles into a cohesive picture; sometimes drawing influence from odd places, but always making it work like no one else can. The Perfect Element 1 succeeds with flying colors on all of its many levels.

When I first listened to this album, I hated it. I came to this from Remedy Lane, figuring that it would be similar, and was taken by surprise when it was not. But patience was rewarded, and with each successive listen I found several new things to focus on, and the album just grew and grew on me until now, it is very close to edging out Remedy Lane as my favorite of their work. I find this to be the "deepest" of their albums, both musically and lyrically (the turbulent childhoods of the two characters is explored with subtlety and artistry), and it is the least accessible to first listens. However, as always with Pain of Salvation, patience is rewarded beyond all reckoning. This album is tailor-made for those who listen with all their heart, their mind, and their spirit.

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