Pain of Salvation’s 2007 release is a step backwards for this prog-metal band from Sweden. After producing several innovative, adventurous and dynamic albums one after another, it seems that POS is going through some sort of crisis.
Daniel Gildenlowe, the band’s leader, has become closer than ever to Eminem’s style of hiphop-rap and endless chatter. The album is loaded with angry lyrics, spoken in a fast style with little attention to rhythmic subtleties, harmonic daring or symphonic ambitions.
Scarsick is a simplistic album, more pop-oriented than anything POS has ever done in the past. Most of the songs are built using traditional formulas, the lyrics are shallower than usual, and the general narrative (prologue to suicide) seems too bleak.
If, for example, the lyrics on the famous BE album dealt with grand subjects (ecology, culture and technology) – most of the Scarsick lyrics are far less inspiring. There’s too much emphasis on America, Bush and more USA & Bush. We’ve heard these things before.
Although the musical production is no less than stunning (in the technical sense), the musical performance is less than satisfying. The drum parts and keyboard parts are weak, and most of the focus is on the vocals and guitars. After playing back Scarsick over and over, and then returning to past masterpieces such as “One hour by the Concrete Lake“, one can only feel sad for the band’s stylistic departure.
POS has not only lost its talented bass player: it has lost most of its progressive spirit. Scarsick is a good rock album, but not a prog in any way. It’s far away froms earlier POS stuff such as “The Perfect Element”, “BE” and even “Remedy Lane”. Good luck on their Scarsick tour of 2007…