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The Perfect Element Part 1

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 15, 2012
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Used
  2. In The Flesh
  3. Ashes
  4. Morning On Earth
  5. Idioglossia
  6. Her Voices
  7. Dedication
  8. King Of Loss
  9. Reconciliation
  10. Song Of The Innocent
  11. Falling
  12. The Perfect Element


Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 15, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: November 14, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Inside Out Music
  • ASIN: B00005085N
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,945 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The astounding thing about Swedish prog/metal whiz-kids Pain of Salvation is simple: You NEVER know what you are going to hear next. The Perfect Element is a crystal-clear example of their diversity. This was my third PoS purchase, behind Entropia and One Hour by the Concrete Lake. Let me say at the outset of this review, TPE is a radical departure from those aforementioned masterpieces.
After hearing this release, I quickly purchased Remedy Lane and the astounding 12:5, but looking at the entire PoS catalogue, TPE stands above all others as their crowning moment. Some have complained about the chunky/rap vocals on the opening track Used, some have bemoaned the fact that this release is not "proggy" enough.
I say, hrm. I have listened to this CD solid for a couple of months and can honestly say that I have yet to tire, and I continue to find wonder buried deep inside each and every song on the album. As far as I am concerned, and I know that I may be in the minority here, Daniel Gildenlow is one of the greatest vocalists to ever grace the music scene. There are moments when he lapses in operatic, saccharine-sweet mode, but this listener can only say that it adds to the quality of his vocal performances.
Musically I can honestly say that I believe PoS stand heads above the rest. Daniel Gildenlow is an amazing lyricist, as well as being a stylish guitarist. From the stunning "In the Flesh," which I feel is their finest recording, to the haunting "Ashes," and the phenomenal "Idioglossia," this album is a must have title.
HIGHLY recommended.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Pain of Salvation is one of progressive metal's most promising bands. While I consider myself a pretty big fan, I think The Perfect Element (Part I) is their only album that deserves five stars. Entropia was extremely original and mostly solid, but much the album's experimentation was too esoteric for its own good. One Hour By The Concrete Lake was an improvement, with better songs overall, but it was more straightforward progressive metal and it lacked the striking originality of Entropia. Clearly, a balance had to be achieved.
With The Perfect Element, PoS has refined their sound, synthesizing the remarkable uniqueness of Entropia and the stronger songcraft of One Hour. Gone are the awkward herky-jerky musical passages, the needlessly embellished vocals, and turgid lyrics. Here, everything works. No, it's not perfect. But it's damn good.
The band's nature is very eclectic, for they change musical bearing unpredictably. The first tract, "Used," best exemplifies this. It begins with the harrowing coupling of heavy guitars and synths, with vocalist Daniel Gildenlow's dark, fierce intonations. With the chorus, the song undergoes a complete change as it suddenly shifts into a harmonious melody with sharply contrasting "lighter" vocals. (Sound familiar, PoS fans? It's like "!" from Entropia, but better.) "Used" is a pretty extreme example, for the rest of the album is more cohesive from song to song, but the fundaments of this versatile approach remain intact. For those who are new to PoS, this might sound almost annoying. Let me aver that the polarizing course of the music is one of its greatest merits. Why? Because the they does it incredibly well. When a band can blend so many musical ideas so seamlessly and naturally, it's definitely stunning.
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Format: Audio CD
Progressive metal was blessed when Pain of Salvation entered the limelight. On their third studio album, Daniel Gildenlow and company have mastered the art of the morose-slash-hopeful song. Each piece is ripe with despair without departing from the melodies that keep the album alive. A concept album whose themes revolve around childhood and growing up, The Perfect Element I never reaches a significant level of intensity to be considered "metal" (in the broadest sense of the word).

The most intense song on the album, the harrowing and wonderful "Idioglossia" remains reasonably accessible throughout it's 8-minute run. As a concept album it is also very successful, aided by a cohesive conceptual theme, and recurring musical lines - "Reconciliation" is, in a nutshell, "Morning on Earth" on steroids. The guitars range from simple chord arrangements to stunning solos, always eerie and unsettling. The stand-out characteristic of this album, however, is Gildenlow's vocal range. It is difficult to believe that the intimate, almost womanly voice in "Song for the Innocent" can conjure the deep, angry grunts in "Idioglossia".

Musically, the album is neither too spontaneous nor easily predictable. Dark throughout (save certain idyllic songs) and often disturbing both lyrically and musically, the album is as beautiful as it is unnerving. The standout track, "Her Voices" has absolutely everything: memorable choruses, an amazing progressive middle-part, and a triumphant choir of voices (and a violin) bringing the song to its brilliant end. From the lyrics to "Used", reminiscent of a raving sex-offender; to those of "Ashes", whose visual portrayal of personified filth is unmatched; to the heavenly violins in "Morning on Earth", the album showcases the beauty in despair.
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