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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Pain of Salvation

One Hour By The Concrete Lake

Review by Gary Hill

Although this band seems to walk very closely between the line of prog and prog metal, this reviewer feels that the foot lands on the side of progressive rock. The album is a concept piece that does not contain a weak cut. If you like your prog with a hard edge, this one is a highly recommended CD.

The band is Daniel Gildenlöw, Frederik Hermansson, Johan Langell, Kristoffer Gildenlöw and Johan Hallgren. 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Spirit of the Land
This is a short ambient instrumental piece. It serves as an intro to, and leads directly into "Inside".
Inside
A hard edged cut with vocals that call to mind such singers as Geoff Tate and Ronnie James Dio, musically this song quite well rides the line between prog and prog metal. Parts of the piece are definitely progish metal while others are hard edged progressive rock. The cut is considerably varied in styles, ranging from sedate to blistering hard rock.
The Big Machine
Dark in texture, this cut is a masterpiece. It has a very prog oriented arrangement (orchestral at times), wonderful vocal interplay and powerful musical themes.
New Year's Eve
Starting with a great bass melody, the early segments of this one are very prog ballad oriented, while still dark in texture. After a time, a funky, lighter-toned segment moves the composition into new territory. From there, the prog elements build. At times this one is quite DTish. It includes strong riffing, a killer arrangement (full of twists and turns) and powerful vocals. It also features a beautiful keyboard and vocal interlude and a sedate guitar/vocal outro.
Handful of Nothing
Beginning with sound effects, percussion begins the building process. More DTish hard-edged prog takes over to bring the song into the main segment. This is another cut with great vocal interplay and powerful arrangements.
Water
A hard-edged groove starts this cut. It then drops to a balladic mode. The arrangement starts to grow in very prog oriented modes with guitar work that seems to jump in mid-line between hard rock and fusion tones. The number then cuts loose, becoming a bit Rushish for a while, then just frantic. As that section reaches resolution, a more melodic prog verse enters. This is replaced by more prog tones. The song continues changing and dancing between progish and metallic modes. Themes come, go and return in a prog arrangement that really rocks. This one jumps straight into the next number.
Home
Rhythmically driven, this is fast paced prog with a hard edge. This cut also is a bit in the mode of Dream Theater. After a time, it drops to more balladic modes. This cut is definitely progressive rock with metallic tones.
Black Hills
The intro to this one is hard edged with dramatic eastern tinged sounds. The track becomes more hushed in tone, but still dark and ominous. It takes on very strong prog modes as it continues.
Pilgrim
This is a neo classically oriented acoustic guitar driven ballad.
Shore Serenity
A very prog oriented intro leads to a brief metallic segment. The cut then becomes quite dramatic, but mellower prog with strong tones. The vocal arrangement on this one is especially strong. It then begins evolving in very classic prog ways. Eventually, this one becomes quite hard-edged, but still based in a strong prog arrangement that is rather DTish.
Inside Out
Hard edged and frantic, this one starts as a definite metal track and stays that way through the first verse. Once the chorus hits, it becomes very progressive rock oriented. When the metallic modes return, it is with a decided prog leaning. The number then drops to a pretty piano-dominated balladic segment. The acoustic guitar takes over the piece after a time with some brilliant classical riffing. The composition then takes on a powerful, emotional build, becoming incredibly strong. After this point, it keeps switching between its various modes in an ever moving and building direction.
Hidden Track
Ambient tones begin this, then accapella vocals come in for a verse. Next to join the party is the percussion that drowns out everything else. The percussion, and the track, is ended by classically oriented violin work.
 
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