Pain Of Salvation- Be (Inside Out Music)
review by Jim Clark

Track Listing

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

It’s not necessary to have an advanced degree in history or creationism to understand Pain Of Salvation’s latest disc, BE, but it might help.

As my college degree was in journalism, I’ll just hit the basics as I’m sure someone smarter could easily shoot down my elaborate take on the lyrics.  So simply said, BE is a concept album that appears to be about the history of mankind and man’s use of God in trying to explain that history.

Instead of lyrics, BE’s lengthy booklet contains Pain Of Salvation leader Daniel Gildenlow’s explanation of how this musical endeavor came to be, including detailed historical and sociopolitical theories; tables charting the population history of the world; and a reading list that includes authors as diverse as Plato, A.A. Milne and Carl Sagan.

So with all of this being said, there is no hope for the listener to grasp this disc on the first or even second listens. But given time, BE is quite a remarkable and bold statement from this metal band from Sweden.

The disc starts with “Animae Partus,” a sample of a male/female God speaking. This leads into the short “Deus Nova,” where Gildenlow recites the human population from 10,000 BC to the present. The music for this track is highly effective, starting with piano, strings and harpsichord before some crunching guitars begin. The “God” samples return before the disc’s first real song, “Imago,” begins. For a metal band, Pain Of Salvation perform this traditional Irish sounding song wonderfully. The beautiful “Pluvius Aestivus” follows and gives keyboardist Fredrik Hermansson a chance to shine on the piano.

And finally, five tracks into the disc, the first heavy song, “Lilium Cruentus.” But even at that, it’s two minutes into the track before it really starts to get into headbanging territory. In between those hard moments on this number, Pain Of Salvation make excellent use of a 9-piece orchestra dubbed the Orchestra of Eternity. 

Next up is a bizarre, southern black, chain gang song, “Nauticus.” Only acoustic guitar backs the singing here, which is incredibly effective. Quite honestly, this is quite a hard track to pull off, but Gildenlow and company make quite an incredible song here.

A humorous sample kicks in before the funky “Dea Pecuniae,” which even incorporates some ELO moments and some biting guitar.

The disc’s emotional highlight, “Vocari Dei,” follows. This track includes various samples of people talking to God’s answering machine, asking various questions, such as “where are you, and where have you been when we needed you the most.” Some beautiful piano, strings and acoustic guitar back these samples, which concludes with God replying that he’s “so, so sorry.” A stellar piece of music.

Completely changing the tone are the bludgeoning guitar riffs and repeated high piano notes of “Diffidentia.” Gildenlow mixes up his vocal delivery on this song, doing a sort of pseudo-rap in addition to some growls. There’s a brief piano/vocal break that serves as a calm before the storm as the smashing music that starts the track repeats. But things turn sweet again towards the end of the song as the orchestra takes over.

Another heavy song, “ Nihil Morari,” follows. In true concept album style, this song incorporates music from an earlier track – “Deus Nova.” And again, the Orchestra of Eternity soothes the listener after the heavy stuff with another lovely orchestral coda.

Reversing the pattern of the last two tracks, the brief “Latericius Valete” starts off with the orchestra before ending on a heavy note, leading into the church organ intro of “Omni.” Samples of newscasters reporting terrible news from the world backs the organ playing before Gildenlow launches into an almost gospel-like vocal.

Hermansson’s piano and the Orchestra of Eternity accompany Gildenlow’s singing on “Iter Impius.” Other instruments are slowly added to the mix and the number soon becomes a solid mid-tempo rocker complete with a fine guitar solo.

Beginning with military drumming, “Martius/Nauticus II” acts as sort of a seven-minute album review. Various musical themes from throughout BE help round off this track’s music, and the song even includes Johan Langell delivering a lengthy drum solo.

The male/female God sample returns very briefly to close out the disc on “Animae Partus II.”

BE is definitely one of 2004’s better releases. But beware, this disc will take a lot of time and effort to get in to. But trust me, it will all be worth the effort.


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