By Michael Popke
Sweden’s enigmatic Pain of Salvation represents the true spirit of “progressive music,” evolving with each successive release. After 2007’s polarizing Scarsick, on which the prog-metal band rapped and played with disco beats, Pain of Salvation returns with the first title in what is expected to be the two-album Road Salt project.
“Road Salt One” — also available on 180 grain black vinyl in a gatefold sleeve, as well as a limited-edition CD digipak that opens with a bonus track — is an organic, jam-oriented record punctuated by the intensity of vocalist, guitarist and band mastermind Daniel Gildenlöw. Always lyrically cryptic, Gildenlöw says this album is about making choices, and Pain of Salvation has decided “Road Salt One” should be one of its most-cohesive releases. Songs flow freely into one another, tapping deep emotional veins on the commercially viable rocker “No Way,” the haunting “Sisters” and the hymn-like “Of Dust.”
Typical of Pain of Salvation, though, Road Salt One is not an easy listen, as jarring chaos still ensues.