Pain of Salvation
Scarsick
Release date: January 19th 2007
Label: InsideOut Music
Distribution: Target (Denmark)
Website: www.painofsalvation.com
Style: Progressive Metal
Rating: 92/100
Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen
Date: January 12th 2007

One thing I have learned thru the years, when you are dealing with Pain of Salvation is that you have to expect the unexpected! I have had a special place for Pain of Salvation ever since my first experience with Daniel Gildenl÷w and his universe, which was shortly after the release of 'One Hour by the Concrete Lake' in 1999 and with each albums they've pushed the boundaries of progressive metal, exploring new territories and introducing new and exiting sounds to their ever-growing musical landscape. And 'Scarsick' is just another step up the latter, and I am sure this album will leave many a fan wondering why Daniel has chosen this path this time around!

Pain of Salvation has always been working in the outskirts of progressive metal, working with unorthodox sounds, flirting with unique sounds and styles, and 'Scarsick' is just another piece in the big puzzle. Their flirtation with strange sounds reaches another high with the introduction of disco-sounds on "Disco Queen" - yeah you read right; disco! The first time I heard the intro and chorus on "Disco Queen" I absolutely hated it, now I think it's one of the best songs on the album!
The album kicks off with another surprising track - the title track, which has a very strong Clawfinger feel to the vocals, not their best moment and not the ideal opener.
"Spitfall" on the other hand is everything I love and cherish about Pain of Salvation with its complexity and atmosphere.
"Cribcaged" is an intoxicating ballad. Turn out the lights, close your eyes and enjoy the ride - one of my favorite songs on the album.
"America" reminds me of a heavier version of A.C.T - happy pop rock with an almost danceable beat to it; another unorthodox song, which I love now - but I had my problems with the first couple of times. "Disco Queen" is up next...

After a hard and troublesome start to the album things drift into to more known territory, the rest of the songs are more "typical" Pain of Salvation if you can even use this term about this band? They are all of the usual high standard, and some the aggression some might have missed on the album pops up in "Flame to the Moth" with its Pantera-like background vocals. But the best is kept at the very end of the album: "Enter Rain" is maybe (?) the best Pain of Salvation song ever - an 10 minutes plus epic of monumental proportions.

The lyrical side of things is as always an important part of the concept and I could write a lot about them, but I won't. They are dealing with socio-critical topics in the usual serious manner with a nice portion of irony and sarcasm. Daniel Gildenl÷w is one the few lyricists I actually take the time to deal with seriously.
The production is crystal clear, leaving just enough room for everyone to shine - just listen the bass guitar sound; it's very seldom so upfront and clean.

I was a huge fan before 'Scarsick', and I still am! Some of the journeys they take on this album totally caught me off guard, and I needed quite a few spins for this album to fully open up. Now I love everything about it - even though it doesn't quite reach the same heights for me as 'The Perfect Element, Pt. 1' or 'Remedy Lane' did. This album is deep, complex, progressive, innovative and even after 15 rotations in my CD-player (and Ipod) I still discover new things and sounds, and I am sure it'll get its fair share of spins in the months to come...

Have my (high) hopes for this album been met? You bet and then some - brilliant and the first real highlight of 2007 for me!

Recommended: "Cribcaged", "America", "Disco Queen" & "Enter Rain".