Scarsick review by Pain of Salvation

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Jan 30, 2007
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (11 votes)
Pain of Salvation: Scarsick

Sound — 8
The album starts off in a different way compared to other Pain of Salvation albums. For the first two tracks, the vocals (sung by Daniel Gildenlw), for the majority, are in a rap style. The tracks "Scarsick" and "Spitfall" resemble the genre nu-metal, but still maintain the essence of progressive metal. The third track "Cribcaged" brings back the Pain of Salvation that is known. Most of the introduction consists of piano. The band goes into some peculiar style again on the track "Disco Queen". The music for the track is very upbeat and pulse oriented. It definitely differs from any other track on the album. This album is a concept album. It is part II of a three part series of albums by the band. Compared to part I, this album has a much darker sound and does not share many similarities. With the exception of "Disco Queen", there is little falsetto used on this album compared to part I. Also, unlike part I, Scarsick provides a much harsher and rougher sound to the listener.

Lyrics — 9
As stated previously, the album is a concept album. The album focuses on a character simply known as "he". He is a male character, but on this album, "he" represents something metaphorically on this album. "He" is seen as America as a nation. Each track on Scarsick represents something literal (something that is happening or being thought by "he") and something figurative (something relating to America and its culture, people, beliefs, etc). Many issues are expressed on this album: the idea of patriotism, exploitation, religious prosperity and self-delusion to name a few. Unlike part I, which focused on more personal issue and tragedy, this album focuses on America and American society. The album does an adequate job at expressing the feelings of the musicians and telling the story of "he." The lyrics seem to mirror the sound of the album. The lyrics are dark and harsh. The music seem to follow the same idea. The music is more darker than on previous albums. The use of rap style vocals on the first two tracks and limited piano throughout the album, give it a darker feel. In addition, the final two tracks have a more mellow and depressing sound to them. The lyrics seem to follow, as the lyrics focus on collapse and despair.

Overall Impression — 8
When the album was first played, there was mixed emotions about it. It did not sound like "The Perfect Element" (which is part I in the three part concept album series). It did not receive as well as a reception The Perfect Element received. However, after a few plays and more attention to the lyrics were being paid, the album began to gain admiration. It began being played more and began being liked more. The Perfect Element is still perceived as a better album than Scarsick, however Scarsick is seen as a real well done album. The concept and lyrics of the album is what really drew me to the album. The way that the lyrics were written and the dark nature and concept they represent made me fall in love with the album. Daniel did an excellent job in creating a dark atmosphere and creating a metaphoric character. The use of "he" to address criticisms the band holds, has been executed marvelously. The main problem I originally had with the album was its sound. The first two tracks were turn offs. I did not like the rap style the album was taking. However, Scarsick did redeem itself with tracks like "Cribcaged" and "Enter Rain". Those tracks were two of the tracks that I found the vocals to be impressive. Overall, this album is enjoyable to listen to. There are very few times where I can not sit through the entire album. It is proper, well executed progressive metal.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    scarsick it's ****ing rocking album and it'suppose to be like the previous be cause pain are very artistic and they won't do what people like they so maybe it i not prog but it's still one o the greatest album
    When i first listened pos Scarsick was the first one.I thought it was the best album of the band but when i heard the old ones I thought this album was a crap compared to others, but still good album ,I hope next pos album could be as experimented as the old ones
    Scarsick is their poorest effort yet for sure. BE however, is possibly my favourite album EVER. I dispute those who say the album was too absorbed in the concept - It's one of the most diverse modern progressive metal albums I've ever heard. Scarsick, however, with all the nu-metal and rap influences, simply takes progressive metal too far in the WRONG direction... Hope they pick up with future albums, I don't wanna see a band that hasn't been around for that long turn to shit like say... Queensryche did
    Agree with a7xsoad, those who complain about BE simply don't understand it. It's not all about the music, that's the point of it. Anyway, Scarsick has some awesome points, but a lot of lows aswell. My fav so far though is Perfect Element, from a strictly musical viewpoint.
    POS is one of the most original "prog-metal" bands, and making controversy is one of their strong points. (Look at their webpage "the end?"), and as a7xsoad and Aziraphale say, Scarsick is not at the level of BE, but i will say that it is one of the best POS albums. The music, the lyrics, the artwork... for me, it is just amazing.
    I think the thing with Scarsick, the reason why so many dislike it, is that it is such a different album, compared to the previous ones. I was recently on a PoS- gig (very small, got to meet them end all that shit! ), and on my way home i listened to Scarsick, with the lyrics (wich i believe are very important to fully enjoy this album ). The thing was, then I heard the album for what it really was, without comparing it to the others, and I found it simply amazing. You really need to get below the surface on this one, which takes quite a while. But once you do, it truly is an amazing album.