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With One Hour By The Concrete Lake, Swedish prog-rockers “Pain of Salvation” contemplate humanity, raping of the land, weapons and destruction; hence, - we have a concept album. Fronted by Daniel Gildenlow’s often roaring and passionate vocals, these musicians blend heavy-handed crunch chords with swirling keys and cyclic themes while toggling between haunting motifs, tinges of dissonance and melodic interludes although the cumulative presentation could be viewed upon as being rather dark and foreboding.
Pieces such as “Inside” and “The Big Machine” boast robust and quite spirited interplay along with tricky time signatures and the at times gruff and groaning vocals of Mr. Gildenlow, yet these Swedes do know how to handle their respective instruments while also possessing a flair for the dramatic! The composition, “A Handful of Nothing” boasts driving rhythms, eerie textures and gloomy or ominous lyricism yet “Home” skirts the fringes of 70’s style Canterbury prog-rock complete with whimsical melodies, delightful keyboard work by Frederik Hermannson, and Johan Hallgren’s ripping lead guitar lines.
Throughout, the musicians display technical proficiency while providing a noticeable degree of sentiment and conviction even though this writer could not desist pondering Jethro Tull’s abysmal and extremely superfluous “Passion Play”, which was a magnum opus theme piece marked by an entanglement of meaningless time changes and overwrought dramatizations. Thankfully, One Hour By The Concrete Lake is not of that ilk; however, at times the overabundance of doom, gloom and eerie dissonance along with rapid shifts in – compositional strategy – conjured up notions of history repeating itself. However, One Hour By The Concrete Lake escapes these proverbial traps by a fairly decent margin. Overall, this recording does provide a good level of interest and exhibits strong potential from a group of like-minded musicians who appear to be on the right track as they pursue their dreams and goals in acute and somewhat convincing fashion.