Technique with Soul and Passion
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to one of the most impressive debuts I have ever encountered: Entropia by Pain of Salvation. Despite being a debut, Entropia sounds very mature and pretty much shows what Pain of Salvation stands for as a band. Moreover, I would consider this one of the essential progressive metal albums, especially for introduction to the genre. Seriously, all the elements are there and at the highest level.
Not only do we have complex song structures, with all the stamps of prog like shifting heavy and acoustic parts, odd time and changing signatures, syncopation, polyrhythms, a concept story told (sung) by one of the most emotive voices in metal, but also simply great riffs and solos that one will remember. This means that Pain of Salvation are able show their musical proficiency without going into self-indulgent show-off. What more can ask from a prog band? How about some jazz and funk? Yes, sir, and it sounds great.
In fact, Entropia is very diverse. Crushing juggernauts like the opener are followed by drum-and-sample-based interlude "Welcome to Entropia" or a fully acoustic song like "Oblivion Ocean" and the closer "Leaving Entropia" or how about the bass-driven intro into the short "Circles?" The vocals here are lacking absolutely nothing and range from sentimental calm singing and emotional utterances to deep low notes to aggressive or even high-pitched desperate bellows. What really matters though is that Daniel Gidenlow, it seems, puts his whole soul into both his music and singing, and that is why Entropia, despite being a debut, sounds so impressive: because it is daring and sincere in addition to being a piece of well-composed and -performed music. The obvious Dream Theater influences are heard, but if there was a great way to incorporate them into one's music, Pain of Salvation just did it right on Entropia.
If this is your introduction to Pain of Salvation or maybe even progressive metal, by all means start your further acquaintance by listening to this very album.