Pain Of Salvation's newest album is a calm, cool and collected acoustic album performed and recorded in front of eighty hometown fans. In recent years, the Swedish band has attracted as much attention for its albums as for the extracurricular activities of main man Daniel Gildenlow. The band is impressive musically though and the sound excellent for the setting. Quite obviously, 12:5 (pronounced 'twelve to five') is a soft album and not a heavy prog metal release. It is a one-off and a special performance similar in format to what Mr Big and Tesla have done in the past. There is a mixture of newer material and reworked older stuff here all of which is divided into three books or chapters. As for what the title refers to... write in and tell me! - Ali "The Metallian"

An unusual, clever and satirical copyright warning sets the stage for this DVD, one that is full of contrasts, but comes up short on the musical side of things. BE is a professionally produced performance complete with a nine-piece orchestra where Pain Of Salvation uses everything from jazz elements to progressive rock and pop to illustrate the concept of the DVD. The band must have felt all those musical elements are required when talking about mankind, God and science and their effect on humanity. Of all the musical contrasts the most striking is Dea Pecuniae which would easily be a strong contender for a Eurovision or Idol competition and features images of sports cars and many other pop clichés. Vocari Dei, musically incorporating something straight out of ELO’s Time album, is also noteworthy as it is a sort of compilation of various complaints, questions and requests left for God on a cellular phone.
Seventy minutes of live footage plus many extras like commentary, photos, a section with 'more messages to God' and plenty of hidden menus and secret messages make this a fascinating DVD; musically however this is nothing ground breaking. The concept is central to BE and one that necessitates the images. - Anna Tergel

To start, Pain Of Salvation’s new album cover and album title will make any black metal band white with envy. With that out of the way, Scarsick is an offbeat, abnormal, original and certainly an odd piece of music. The album that is billed as the follow-up as 2000’s The Perfect Element I is partly hardly metal, although in all probability most people would know this by now. Pain Of Salvation, fresh off an important line-up change, is truly the essence of progressive rock considering how the term was meant to apply to bands which change, meander and introduce newer elements - as opposed to the modern usage which has come to apply to a set certain sound. Pain Of Salvation is probably the world’s most believable art rock band.
The album kicks off with the title track and Daniel Gildenlow’s very matter-of-fact rap. Did someone mention Rage Against The Machine? America, like much of the album is poignant and topical, but it is the pure disco tune Disco Queen that comes across as the biggest shocker. In comparison, the later AOR and Pink Floyd-esque tunes come across as standard fare (for POS), but it is difficult to get past a song that might very well have been a Boney M song in the discotheque’s heyday.
So, why the high mark? Is it the originality, the feeling that the band does what it does because it wants to and not because it cares or perhaps the fact that it all somehow works so well for the quartet? Not really sure, and again this is partly unmetal, but Pain Of Salvation shames bands and critics who bandy about the 'progressive rock' term with abandon. Failing that, the lyrics actually mean something. That does count for something. - Ali “The Metallian”


Pain Of Salvation