Along with bands like Dream Theater and Symphony X, Pain of Salvation continues to help drive the progressive metal movement with releases that are thought provoking and filled with great songwriting and superior musical achievements. Quite frankly, I thought it impossible that the band could top their last CD, The Perfect Element, but Remedy Lane takes a similar formula and kicks it up a notch, adding even more progressive rock touches to their latest conceptual platter.
As with all of their releases, the storyline is very complex and will take a few listens to comprehend, and is based on a story that singer/guitarist Daniel Gildenlow wrote based on his recent experiences in Budapest. Broken down into three chapters, Remedy Lane is a schizophrenic tour-de-force that ranges from complex prog-rock, angry metal, to majestic moments of tranquil beauty. "Rope Ends" features tortured vocals surrounded by insane guitar and keyboard workouts, while "Fandango" and "Chain Sling" come across like a heavier version of Gentle Giant complete with complex counterpoint and multi-layered vocal harmonies. The variety of the musical layers throughout is quite stunning, and vocally the band seems to have really hit their peak on this CD. While in the past the band was noted for their similarities to Faith No More, with the exception of the aggressive vocal attack on "Beyond the Pale", the band has moved way beyond those comparisons and have created a style all their own.
Along with Dream Theater's latest release, Remedy Lane stands as one of the strongest progressive metal CD's here in the early part of 2002. Add in the fact that the band has created yet another stirring concept album, and one that might just bring comparisons to the Queensryche classic Operation Mindcrime, should help make Remedy Lane a classic in the genre. Highly recomended!