I read some great reviews about their previous album "The perfect element, part one". And always wanted to listen to that album. So far I didn't manage that goal, and therefore I was very happy to receive the promo of their latest and fourth album Remedy lane. I was expecting part two of "The perfect element" but it seems that the band is still working on that bigger project. So I am not able to compare it to their previous works. But that is maybe a better starting point for me to give you my opinion about this CD. I can't compare it to their previous "master work". But after listening to this CD, I am sure I will listen to that previous album!
Daniel Gildenlow - Vocals, Lead Guitar; Kristoffer Gildenlow - Bass, Backing Vocals; Johan Hallgren - Lead Guitar, Vocals; Fredrik Hermansson - Keyboards; Johan Langell - Drums, Backing Vocals
Again this album is a concept album with a story. Sadly promos are often not accompanied with lyric sheets. I think the main theme is about a relationship under pressure and finding ways to go further in a better way, this also seen in a broader aspect of life. I don't know if some pieces are autobiographical but the band has managed to get a lot of passion in this work.
Personally I don't like labelling bands. Because a lot of listeners only are searching for that label to see if the music could be interesting for them. Those poor and narrow-minded people miss a lot of good music and are not progressive (oops.. another label) at all. This band is categorised as so called Progressive Metal. A lot of bands are these days, but many of them are not progressive at all. So for me it was a positive surprise that this is one of the few bands I hared so far that is indeed progressive. In fact it is difficult to compare them or even describe their music. But I will give it a try.
"Beginnings" (2:26) is a strange heavy opener which is directly followed by "Ending theme" (4:59) which at one point reminded me somehow of Queensrÿche. But only the atmosphere and the way of singing of vocalist Daniel Gildenlow. And only to give you a kind of reference and to describe the quality of the composition. Next track is "Fandango" (5:51) and it has a rhythmic vocal line which sometimes develop seamless into a very melodic vocal line before it goes back into that rhythmic one. There are some very nice breaks in the music. "A trace of blood" (8:17) starts up-tempo with piano and great melodic guitar work. Then the atmosphere becomes spookier, broader, and symphonic and the band is building up the pressure. But there is a lot of variation in this track. There are delicious breaks in the music, which brings melodic guitar pieces and vocal lines. Fantastic track, and before you realise it the band is playing a beautiful ballad "This heart of mine" (4:01) with a catchy refrain which is building up to a climax with a guitar solo full of passion. With "Undertow" (4:47) the main theme returns, and this track could be on a Pink Floyd album. A slow and melodic piece, which is at the same time building up to a climax full of emotion. "Rope ends" (7:02) starts again up-tempo but the music is again full of breaks and melodic interludes and vocal refrains. These variations make the music so great: "Never a dull moment". The next track is called "Chain sling" (3:58) which is a short song with some folky influences. "Dryad of the woods" (4:55) opens with an acoustic guitar melody only accompanied by bass guitar and some cymbals. This develops further into a slow melodic ballad. If you think you are listening to a complete different band, the music gets more up-tempo. It is just a beautiful and instrumental piece. Then it is time for the also instrumental title track "Remedy Lane" (2:17) which I like very much because of the interesting keyboard sounds. The vocals are returning in "Waking every god" (5:10), which is more up-tempo and with a nice melodic guitar solo. "Second love" (4:21) is a love ballad. And again this composition is proofing the diversity and broad possibilities of this band. The contrast with the previous track is very big. Very beautiful and with almost the class of e.g. "Silent lucidity" of Queensrÿche. This concept album closes with a last long track "Beyond the pale" (9:56). As in the opener there are some heavy metal (grunt like) vocals, which are not my favourite ones but it, suites in this last track and it accentuates the feeling that the circle is round and the book can be closed because the story has been told.
I like to hear Pain of Salvation performing the longer tracks. "A trace of blood", "Rope ends" and "Beyond the pale" are for me the best songs. In the long tracks the band can show us all their possibilities. The variation in the tracks, the melodic vocal lines and nice breaks in the music I like best about them. Pain of Salvation has surprised me in a positive way and deserves the label: "File under Progressive Metal". I only heard this fourth CD but already can conclude that this Swedish band has an own style.