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Not the best, not the worst - 82%

hyper22, January 4th, 2007

Scarsick, Pain of Salvation’s recent follow-up to 2004’s BE, has been an album I have been looking forward to for months now. Ever since the very first details of the album were revealed I have been patiently waiting to hear what I presumed to be this band’s latest masterpiece. As the first, title track started to play, I was excited for what was to come. Perhaps I set my expectations a tad too high.

Don’t get me wrong: Scarsick is an excellent album. Gildenlow’s genius shines through vividly as he leads the album straight through various genre barriers and pulls each off with absolute ease. Unfortunately, this album might be a tad too diverse, if possible. While it is indeed progressive metal at the heart, each track has a distinctly different sound that will catch you off guard. That may not be a bad thing, per se, though when you couple the genres represented with the progressive formula of odd rhythms and lengthy songs, you end up with something that is somewhat boring and only occasionally shows some flair.

That said, Scarsick has its gems. Spitfall, a song that mixes electronic hip-hop beats with rapped verses and a nicely done chorus, pulls off the hybridization and puts Anthrax’s rap-metal to shame. Gildenlow’s aggressive side is obvious in tracks such as Cribcaged, a semi-ballad with emotions represented on both extremes – the sounds of a newborn baby and the curses of an angry man. America is another song that stuck out to me. It’s the most upbeat on the album with a poppy overtone and lyrics criticizing the U.S.A.

Die-hard Pain of Salvation fans will probably have many more criticisms of this album than I do. Scarsick is definitely worth buying, though it would not be my first choice when recommending an album to a wishful PoS-fan-to-be.