Pain of Salvation - BE - 2004
It is hard, really hard to write a review of this album. Apart from the musical content, this work is the result of hours and hours of reading and thinking by Daniel Gildenlöw (we´ll try to believe him). “BE” is a conceptual work about the human being and God with a deep philosophical context that is developed by Daniel. We can also find a dozens of references about a lot of philosophical schools, books, scientific and psychological theories, statistical theories, etc.
It´s really sad not to be able to transcribe everything so it´s necessary to understand all the concept, but it is too much text.
Sincerely I think that POS is (or at least has been) a very overvalued band. I don´t like the studio albums “The Perfect Element I” (2000) & “Remedy Lane” (2002) and I don´t like the acoustic live album “12:5” (2004). The truth is that POS has a legion of followers that would kill for Daniel and his band and that consider him kind of an total-artist or philosophical-political shaman that has a lot to say, thing that I don't doubt.
“BE” arrived to convince me that POS has something to say in the progressive world. The album is absolutely experimental and uncommersial Daniel also expresses his feelings when and as he wants.
The actual band line up is: Daniel Gildenlöw (acoustic and electric guitars, voice, grandfather's mandolin, percussion, samples, etc.); Fredrik Hermansson (grand piano, harpsichord, percussion, samples); Kristoffer Gildenlöw (bass guitar, fretless bass, double bass, percussion); Johan Hallgren (electric and acoustic guitars, percussion); Johan Langell (drums, cowbells, etc). Apart from this, they added presence of The Orchestra of Eternity, a group of wind and strings section of nine musicians.
The album starts with "Animae Partus (I am)" (1:48), a vocal intro that finishes with the mysterious strings arrangements of "Deus Nova" (3:18), a song that is developed with hard guitar chords and melodic keyboards parts while a voice relates us the human population's statistical evolution. The third song is called "Imago" (5:11), a beautiful song absolutely Tullian with ritual reminiscences that melts with "Pluvius Aestivus" (5:00), a melancholic and beautiful piano piece accompanied with string arrangements. "Lilium Cruentus" (5:28) shows us POS at its best: arrangements that fluctuate among the metallic thing, the experimental thing and the melodic thing, with some drops of Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree among the musical notes. "Nauticus" (4:58) has a very lineal development between bluegrass and gospel style with good mandolin arrangements until the song finishes with a voice fight that lead us to "Dea Pecuniae" (10:09), the best of the albums. A song that can remind us to Pink Floyd, The Flower Kings, Devil Doll, Queen, or Solar Project, and that has the collaboration of the beautiful voices of Cecilia Ringkvist and Blair Howatt. An absolutely bombastic and wonderful song. "Vocari Dei" (3:50) is a beautiful piano song with diverse crescendos and with real voices of their fans that gave some messages in an automatic answering machine. "Diffidentia" (7:36) show us some hard guitar riffs mixed with a lot of instruments. It shows the more melodic part of POS. After a string interlude the softest POS returns (here it is the influence of Stolt and Co. in Daniel). The great ideas continues with "Nihil Morari" (6:21), pure progmetal, and with the beautiful instrumental "Latericius Valete" (2:27) and the quasi-motet ecclesiastical song of "Omni" (2:37).
But the really brilliant thing arrives with "Iter Impius" (6:21), one of the best and more intense songs that I have listened in my life. Everything is in their place: pianos, string arrangements, voices and an impressive end with a brutal crescendo. After this excess "Martius/Nauticus II" (6:41) that recaptures the melodies of "Imago" with a beautiful percussion end, and "Animae Partus II" (please wait until the whole song finishes).
Nowadays September 9th Daniel Gildenlöw finally has convinced me that he is a brilliant guy. I continue without giving too much credibility to those that think that it is a shaman God or something like that (Ian Anderson, Zappa or Gabriel.. this is real charisma), but with “BE” he demonstrates two things: he is able to create absolutely what he wants, and that he is able to do it very well.
I won´t say that this album is a masterpiece (although it´s very near to be a great one) but, closing my ears to those that think that this is the new progressive Grail, I can say that this album is a good starting point for all those that look for (we look for) something different the progressive rock.