Pain of Salvation – The Second Death of Pain of Salvation

Pain of SalvationThe Second Death of Pain of Salvation
Rating: 3.0/5.0 – Live records don’t get much better than just Good
Label: Inside Out Music
Band Websites: |

Pain of Salvation is definitely the modern darling of the progressive rock/metal scene for a reason.  Their intense musicianship, varied work and extraordinarily subtle but intense technicality has garnered them one of the most intense fan-bases out there.  Every guy I’ve ever met who was into these guys wasn’t just into them but he worshiped their every note, their every time change and eagerly awaited their every release like giddy little kids on Christmas.  So when I got my hands on The Second Death of Pain of Salvation I was expecting something totally mind-blowing–but instead, I got a live album.

Live albums are OK, but I think that in metal, particularly, a genre where bands often just play what they recorded live, instead of varying it up (see: Iron Maiden), they’re a little excessive and redundant.  This record isn’t really that much of an exception to that rule, but for a person who isn’t really familiar with the band yet, this is definitely a good primer for the future Pain of Salvation fan.

I was only familiar with a couple of these songs before I heard this, but I was pretty impressed with this as a live record in general.  The production is pretty good and these guys are able to re-create their highly-produced music in an effective and representative way live.  This means that it’s a good compilation of the styles and ideas that are available throughout their career.  And the music is pretty solid, honestly.  I think that from the standpoint of just progressive rock and metal these guys are one of the better bands that I’ve heard lately (though, they’ve been around a while).  The variation in song-writing and styles is pretty cool, going from very mellow, ballady sort of tracks to blues-rocky stuff and even to solid melodic metal.

The vocals are probably the strongest aspect of this entire record.  Despite there being too much wanna-be Faith No More Angel Dust going on (with this talky-rappy thing that Gildenlöw does that is a little bit annoying), his voice is strong, clear and defies a lot of the irritating standards of progressive vocalists (here’s lookin’ at YOU Dream Theater).  The tone and range are fantastic as well, and he varies vocal styles very well throughout the tracks.  The band is hyper-talented as well, and that comes through with the perfect performances on every track on this whole record from the excellent (Moth to the Flame) to the more embarrassing (Disco Queen).   And I was personally pleased with the Leonard Cohen cover as well.  That was a nice touch.

This record is pretty good for a live record and this band is obviously excellent.  It loses a couple points because it is a live album and I feel like most live albums are just a waste of time.  But as something you listen to a couple times to get a feel for who the band is, personality-wise, and to get a feel for their discography and their style this album is a success.

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