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.