Most people probably know about the bankruptcy of one of the most respected metal record labels since last May, but if you don’t know about this tragedy: read and weep. Though I didn’t dwell on the fact that SPV, the subject of the matter, is the big boss of prog-label Inside Out. And Inside Out is the domicile of Pain Of Salvation . For a short time it was quite uncertain what will happen – the recordings of the new album were put on a hold and their short American tour with Dream Theater was cancelled – but eventually Century Media took Inside Out under his wings, so eventually everything blew over for Pain Of Salvation . Fortunately no Metal Church like affectation.
While waiting for the upcoming new studio album ‘Road Salt’, which will be released early next year and will contain no less than 22 songs on a double CD (and LP!), Pain Of Salvation teases us with this luxurious appetizer ‘Linoleum’. A teaser with a Dutch ingredient, since the album is mastered by Peter van ‘t Riet in Amersfoort. This EP contains six songs and the first four songs will be released on ‘Road Salt’ as well: the title track ‘Linoleum’, ‘Mortar Grind’, ‘If You Wait’ and ‘Gone’. Regarding Daniel Gildenl&
4;w Pain Of Salvation is now musically shifting between the threatening vibes of Faith No More, the raw energy of Foo Fighters, the soul of Jeff Buckley and the drone of Zeppelin and the Doors. Sound-wise we are talking 1976 on steroids.
The year 1976 isn’t exactly the classic year of brilliant hard rock masterpieces (except some exceptions as Boston, Rush, Lizzy, Priest, Rainbow and the sole good studio album of Kiss), but the title track ‘Linoleum’ sure sounds raw and unpolished. Took me some time to get used to this. The epic and mysterious side of Pain Of Salvation is still present (especially the estranged piano sound of Led Zep’s ‘No Quarter’ seemed to be an inspiration source for PoS), as well as the superb emotional vocals of Daniel, so after a few spins this song eventually grows into a small masterpiece of less than five minutes. The fantastic ‘Mortar Grind’ with a remarkable aggressive singing Daniel is one minute longer and possibly even more impressive. No excursions to disco, musical, hiphop or any other non-metal genres, so people who got sick of ’Scarsick’ can embrace the band again. At least if they appreciate Jeff Buckley as well, because the short ballad ‘If You Wait’ contains intense intimate vocal acrobatics where Daniel simply imitates (honours) this enigmatic singer-songwriter. ‘Gone’ is with its eight minutes the longest song, and also the most “traditional” PoS song and would have fit on albums like ‘Remedy Lane’ of ‘The Perfect Element Part 1’. That adds nicely to all kinds of speculation on forums where fans pretend they know that ‘Road Salt’ is (not) ‘The Perfect Element Part 3’.
The last two songs are probably exclusive songs and won’t find its way to ‘Road Salt’, therefore they are the most interesting. The first one, ‘Bonus Track B’, is unfortunately nothing more than a discussion between several band members what to do about a bonus track on the album. They come up with an original, yet unrealistic alternative for a bonus. Funny, but it should have been hidden behind the last track, which is a faithful, but beautiful rendition of ‘Yellow Raven’, originally a song by The Scorpions from their ‘Virgin Killer’ album. An excellent album that was released in… 1976.