Pain of Salvation - 12:5
InsideOut Music
Acoustic Progressive Rock
16 songs ()
Release year: 2004
Pain of Salvation, InsideOut Music
Reviewed by Keegan
Album of the month

Following the shadow of Opeth’s fantastic adventure into the realm of acoustic psychedelic rock, progressive metallers Pain of Salvation have joined the ranks of their Swedish countrymen and released their own exploration into the softer side of progressive rock. However, 12:5 is no mere copycat release, nor is it simply the band unplugged. Singer/guitarist Daniel Gildenlow and company has created one of the first sprawling, epic and eclectically atmospheric compositions of 2004.

The first interesting note about this album is the fact that while most material is new, 12:5 was recorded, and is to be released only as a live album. Despite the fact that the band’s studio albums are far from technological breakthroughs, everything on 12:5 comes through loud and clear, from the twin acoustic guitars of Gildenlow and Johan Hallgred to Fredrik Hermansson’s piano. While the album contains 14 tracks, they are divided into 3 books, Genesis, Genesister, and Genesinister. Besides Genesister, a grouping of older songs from the Entropia, The Perfect Element, and Remedy Lane albums, which are all played excellently and come across well as acoustic songs, the separation of tracks seems to serve only to allow skipping to certain sections of the first and final books. Besides the occasional applause, there is no reason to believe that this album was recorded live. The instruments are all locked perfectly and Gildenlow’s voice sounds even better than it does on Remedy Lane. There is even a reference to the Imperial March Theme of The Empire Strikes Back during Reconciliation.

The sound of Genesis comes rather unexpected, being very blues/folk-inspired, both in terms of vocal style and guitar playing. The band explore jazz, soul, and traditional South American melodies to create a style that is just as unique as any of their previous releases. This doesn’t mean that Pain of Salvation have abandoned their progressive roots altogether, as there are many moments of technically baffling interlocking acoustic guitar lines that are reminiscent of the California Guitar Trio, or Robert Fripp’s work with Guitarcraft.

The final chapter of the 12:5 story begins off much more progressive, and heavier than the first. The pace of the album picks up greatly in it’s final minutes. In fact, the first 2 tracks of Genesinister are played faster than much of the band’s electric albums, and is probably one of the first times that double bass drumming has been heavily used on an acoustic album. The book eventually turns more in the direction of Genesis, with less of a world music feel.

I can’t help but recommend this album to not only every progressive rock fan, but also anyone who enjoys listening to something completely different. This is one progressive metal band that everyone can get into, regardless of taste in music. Pain of Salvation have done it again.

Killing Songs :
V, Reconciliation, VII
Keegan quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Pain of Salvation that we have reviewed:
Pain of Salvation - Panther reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Pain of Salvation - In the Passing Light of Day reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Pain of Salvation - Road Salt Two reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Pain of Salvation - Road Salt One reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Pain of Salvation - One Hour by the Concrete Lake reviewed by Thomas and quoted 95 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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