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Pain Of Salvation : Be

If you think you know Pain Of Salvation's music and can guess what this one sounds like, forget it. This is like nothing you've ever heard before.

Be is a collection of contrasts, which makes it one of the most challenging records you'll hear this year. It is brilliant, yet some parts are pure cliché. It is philosophical, yet some parts are utterly corny. It is deep, and serious, yet some parts are pompous and melodramatic. Those contrasts are deliberate, of course, but they'll leave your head spinning.

The contrasts continue: There is excellent progressive metal, and there are down-home biblical blues. There is classical music and there are folk tunes. There are deeply philosophical voiceovers and there's a silly skit with a boyfriend making puerile and inappropriate requests of his girlfriend while a radio talk show is playing in the background exploring philosophical issues (the contrast, you see!). There are power ballads, symphonic instrumentals, and traditional pieces. There's a heavy Latin percussion passage, and spoken verses that border on rap. Classical instrumentation is never far from the surface, which contributes an important texture of credibility to the music, and there is a beautiful purely classical track starting with an interesting piano solo that builds into a full orchestral piece. It goes from baroque to blues, from hard rock to symphonic prog, and from gospel to country. And most important of all, thankfully, there are even a few tracks that will recall the band's brilliant Remedy Lane.

And considering the band's background it is interesting to note that metal is the style that appears least often.

The record starts with snippets of spoken voices, with a man and a teenage boy separately exploring their very existence. There's a section that sounds like you're in the National Security Agency intercepting peoples' heartfelt prayers to an apparently unresponsive God. (Hi God, it's me again, from Earth. I know you haven't returned any of my previous calls, and maybe you're simply not there – but …) There are radio newscasts, and counts of the world's population at various times, and there is a thunderstorm.

Even though you've heard these types of inserts before, the collection of disparate elements here cannot be absorbed in one sitting. There's so much going on in this CD that – rightly or wrongly –it is this range of elements that defines this album more than the excellent music itself.

Be is almost impossible to review accurately, and it is a fascinating listen albeit a challenging one. On the one hand, it may lack cohesion – yet on the other hand, there are flashes of genius that make it a must have for any adventurous listener.

Track Listing

  1. Animae Partus Deus Nova
  2. Imago
  3. Pluvius Aestivus
  4. Lilium Cruentus
  5. Nauticus
  6. Dea Pecuniae
  7. Vocari Dei
  8. Diffidentia
  9. Nihil Morari
  10. Latertius Valette
  11. Omni
  12. Iter Impius
  13. Matius/Nauticus II
  14. Animae Partus II

Added: October 26th 2004
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Pain Of Salvation's Web Site
Hits: 17937
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Pain Of Salvation : Be
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-05-14 19:11:12
My Score:

After listening to BE everyday for nearly two months, I still find it quite hard to verbalise my thoughts on it. That's because I am well aware of the fact that, like every other POS disc, BE too holds so many undiscovered treasures, and only after a good many spins will it disclose itself to its listeners. Yet, I'll still give it a try.

I can see why the album is getting negative reviews from some fans; BE is a very serious album and it covers a very large concept. Even compared to previous POS albums, it is on a grand scale. The concept reads like a combination of sociology and theology, with a good dose of science thrown in, especially the parts dealing with the relation between man and his external environment. To attempt to encompass such a wide ranging thesis in 76 minutes is an admirable task in itself, so it is understandable why some fans think the album isn't 'musical' enough for their tastes. On the other hand, some other people think, for such a wide concept, it should at least be a double album, but personally I don't agree with that. Because if that was the case, I am sure an equal amount of people would complain about it being too long. You can never please everyone. That said, I think Daniel Gildenlow has achieved the impossible with his new creation. BE contains intense, emotionally manipulated sonic experiences that needed to be released.

As Daniel explains in the booklet, he had this concept on his mind since 1996 and he needed to get it out of his system after all these years. Way before this album came out, when Daniel announced the story on his website, I was literally stunned for a moment, because I didn't think what he had on his mind could be put on a CD. He, however, reached into the secret parts of his brain for inspiration and made all those visions an audible reality. Fear not, the next POS album will sound nothing similar to BE, this is just a one-off kind of thing, but I still find this album to be intense in every sense of the word!

The music on BE is decidedly less accessible than POS' previous albums, however it is far from boring. The unique POS sound is still fully intact here from note one to the last second. The album encompasses a lot of complex emotions and rich textures with slowly seeping and darkly dramatic melodies. Emotion and harshness, harmony and chaos, construction and virtuosity -- everything is perfectly blended in the typical Pain of Salvation style. With the spoken parts introducing the listener to the concept, "Imago" kicks off and is immediately recognised for its folky vibe, something Daniel didn't explore with on such a great scale on the previous CDs. I really love this folk touch present throughout the entire record. It creeps through the compositions subtly and adds them a completely original flavour. Fredrik Hermansson proves to be a very key element in all the songs. His presence is very vital (especially on "Pluvius Aestivus") and makes BE the amazing album it is.

Unlike the other POS albums, BE features a nine-piece orchestra (Orchestra of Eternity) and they are nothing short of mesmerizing. There is the violin, viola, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet and tuba. This is far from what other bands have done employing orchestra members on their albums. The orchestra isn't just backing the guys up; on the contrary the songs are really written for the orchestra and band together. There are excellent moments of grandeur and magnificence where the orchestra is really leading the way, you can hear parts with the flutes as the most important instrument ("Nihil Morari"), and then you have the clarinets, and all of a sudden, you have the band with Kristoffer's amazing (fretless) bass, Johan Hallgren's heavy electric guitar riffing along with his pastoral acoustic passages, and needless to say Langell's fiery drum work. BE is a myriad of them all and it's really beautiful. Daniel Gildenlow experiments with a wide range of vocal stylings going from his cold, almost dry, yet immsensely emotional delivery on "Nauticus" to the powerful "Iter Impius" and tragic "Martius Nauticus II". I hate to pick any favourites on POS albums but I think these two songs showcase Daniel's most hypnotizing and heartwrenching singing styles on the record therefore leading us to a perfect finale.

I agree BE is not a good starting point to get into Pain of Salvation. Actually it is like a dividing line in the band's catalog, just like the difference between Entropia/OHBTCL and TPE1/RL. With BE, they are onto somewhere different to explore other music, and all we need is more time to fully digest it. Daniel Gildenlow simply thinks big and thankfully success agrees with him.

» Reader Comments:

Pain Of Salvation : Be
Posted by Max on 2023-06-19 14:54:45
My Score:

This post is very simple to read and appreciate without leaving any details out. Great work! Animation soirée casino

Pain Of Salvation : Be
Posted by Random Name on 2011-08-29 04:33:27
My Score:

An amazing album and without any kind of doubt one of their best. Imago is definetely up there with another folkish tune by them "Chain Sling" if not better by a mile.
The interludes doesn´t really bothers me cause they mostly creates a perfect intro to the songs they leads up to, some of them can definetely drag but i somehow dig most of them after all and actually listens to them to create the full experience. Thou some parts can drag a bit like the end of "Dea Pecunia" and at the end of the beautifull "Iter Impius" It´s overall so good that if you really don´t want to listen Dea Pecunia all ways through you can skip it, and it´s not like it sounds awefull. You can argue that it may sound "overambitious" and may ask why the **** all these interludes are there when there could have been actual songs, well, they did albums with mostly just songs, like "Remedy Lane" ect. This album would not be what it is without some breathe moments of silence before the storms which is the interludes so there you go.
Not pretentious at all, it´s prog, and the music fits so well with the concept and is so wellwritten so you can´t anything else but getting drawned into it.
Definetely worth atleast a check if you´re a fan of any music, a must buy if you´re a fan of POS and Gildenlows voice.

Pain Of Salvation : Be
Posted by Carlos Canales Vega on 2007-06-28 12:11:21
My Score:

This is a very atmospheric work and only as of now i can judge it well.The veredict:
This is excellent! Great production values, great concept and lyrics and great, varied songs.Different styles of music are employed here, but always with the omnipressence orchestra behind, making subtle accents to the songs, with great arrangements.
Highly recommended.

Pain Of Salvation : Be
Posted by Taufik Purnomosidi on 2005-06-09 22:31:51
My Score:

First I must admit that I really don't like this album at all when I was listening for the first time. I chose to listen to Symphony-X's Odysey and Dream Theater's Train of Thought. After a few months of Symphony-X and DT, I was really curious with 'Be'. So I played it back for the second time.

This time, I was blown away completely by the music only. I found that "Be" is much, much, more heavier, complex, but at the same time, enjoyable and brings a lot of enlightment. I couldn't stop playing it over and over again. Then I started to read the lyrics, the concepts, and it's kinda dragging me deeper into the album...

"Be" contains the most beautiful music ever from POS. It's far from boring. I also found that DT and Symphony-X sounds and music structure a little less heavy, after listening to "Be" for 3 months in a row. And what I mean by "heavy" here is not the distorted sound of guitars, but the complexity of the music's structures and layers.

This is one f***ing awesome album!

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