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Pain of Salvation: In the Passing Light of Day

Highly influential Swedish progressive metal act Pain of Salvation haven't had it easy over the last ten years; after unleashing such landmark albums as Remedy Lane, One Hour By the Concrete Lake, Be, and The Perfect Element, Part 1, the band had it's share of line-up changes, dove into '90s alternative rock, acoustic music, '70s hard rock, and seemed to be losing their way somewhat. That's not the case here with their latest InsideOut release, In the Passing Light of Day, as the group have firmly realized their progressive metal roots once again. The current 2017 line-up of Pain of Salvation looks like this:

Daniel Gildenlöw – lead vocals, lead guitar
Ragnar Zolberg – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Gustaf Hielm – bass, backing vocals
Daniel Karlsson – keyboards, backing vocals
Léo Margarit – drums, backing vocals

Of course, Pain of Salvation has always been the baby of Gildenlow, the talented singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, and he's once again front and center here on In the Passing Light of Day, but thankfully he's steered the band back to a direction that their legions of fans will be most pleased with. Opening epic "On a Tuesday" contains all the elements that made Pain of Salvation so unique; the deft vintage '70s prog touches, the crushing metal riffs, loads of atmosphere & catchy melodies punctuated by piano & Mellotron, and Gildenlow's emotional vocals. "Tongue of God" unleashes plenty of metallic fury, while the more somber "Meaningless" sees Karlsson's electric piano play off beefy riffing and wonderful lead & backing vocals. Fans of Katatonia or Anathema will love this tune.

The vocalist does his best Peter Gabriel impression on the heart tugging "Silent Gold", a lovely little pop tune featuring mostly piano & voice, while the 9-minute "Full Throttle Tribe" harkens back to vintage PoS with its clever instrumentation and multi-faceted vocal attack. The bands ability to pop back and forth between pastoral, Genesis styled prog, technical metal, and atmospheric rock all within one song is breathtaking. For "Reasons" , they mix Gentle Giant/Spock's Beard styled vocal sections with staccato riffing and groove laden dreamy passages, another tremendous track that hits hard yet offers the listener plenty to digest. Some of the riffs here on this tune are clearly influenced by fellow Swedes Meshuggah, and Gildenlow & the rest of the band really put some fascinating vocals layers here. The melancholy "Angels of Broken Things" has a somewhat bluesy feel, and highlighted by a scorching guitar solo, while "The Taming of a Beast" again sees electric piano working alongside the guitars quite successfully, with Margarit's tricky drum fills impressing underneath it all. The band mixes folk with groove laden metal on "If This Is the End" before the 15-minute title cut drops in your lap, the band opting for a slow build rather than complete bombast as the song creeps along with gorgeous acoustic guitars, pained vocals, and keyboards, the heavy riffs and pounding rhythms eventually coming to the surface around the halfway mark, before it all quiets down again for a tranquil finale with Mellotron flutes & strings and Gildenlow's poignant vocal.

In the Passing Light of Day is a remarkable return to form from Pain of Salvation, an album that announces its arrival here in the early part of 2017 and is sure to be looked at when it's all said and done as one of the best of the year. Welcome back guys!!

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1. "On a Tuesday" 10:22
2. "Tongue of God" 4:53
3. "Meaningless" 4:47
4. "Silent Gold" 3:23
5. "Full Throttle Tribe" 9:05
6. "Reasons" 4:45
7. "Angels of Broken Things" 6:24
8. "The Taming of a Beast" 6:33
9. "If This Is the End" 6:03
10. "The Passing Light of Day" 15:31

Added: February 6th 2017
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2471
Language: english

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Pain of Salvation: In the Passing Light of Day
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2017-02-06 22:15:06
My Score:

Ok, so the new Pain Of Salvation is upon us. The question is what does Mr. Gildenlöw offer us progheads this time? More on that in a bit. For those of you unfamiliar with the band, of course if you listen to progressive music and I assume you do given the nature of this site, you are already at least a little familiar with the man and his band. For me, POS was part of my reintroduction to progressive rock after hearing the outstanding A Perfect Element Part 1 (2000). Then it was on to my personal favourite Remedy Lane (2002), the diverse first album Entropia (1987) and the equally outstanding One Hour By The Concrete Lake (1998). By the time the controversial Scarsick (2007) came out I was caught up with the band's discography. Their most recent output of new material Road Salt One (2010) and Road Salt Two (2011) served to alienate more than a few fans; the sound had more in common with '70s retro hard rock than their earlier metal leanings. I thought both of those albums were solid efforts and I appreciated the band's change in direction, even if the music wasn't quite as strong as their earlier recordings. That brings us to their brand new disc In The Passing Light Of Day.

This, my friends, is Pain Of Salvation delving into their dark and heavy past with their heaviest album in an awfully long time. The album's theme seems to examine the coming to terms with one's own mortality, perhaps influenced by Gildenlöw's diagnosis of flesh eating disease. Very scary to say the least.

Now on to the music. The first track "On A Tuesday" is absolutely stunning and is truly epic in stature. Everything I like about Pain Of Salvation is here; syncopated riffs, stabbing blasts of guitar, incredibly varied vocals (this has always been a high point for me) and heavy and more atmospheric parts with cool use of keyboards and orchestrations. "Tongue Of God" is slower with a stark piano intro and lush strings for backing. Some really cool riff progressions in this one as well and the vocals are classic Gildenlöw. When he whispers "I cry in the shower, I scream in my head" the emotion is almost palpable. After the intensity of the first few tracks "Silent Gold" allows the listener to relax just a little as gorgeous piano, violin and heart wrenching vocals will leave you breathless. There is an undercurrent of electronics in the second epic "Full Throttle Tribe". You get a huge off kilter drum rhythm with winding keys, strong chunky guitar riffs and another unique vocal performance. The mellower parts effectively give some reprieve to the crushingly heavy guitar riffs and drum beats. The last track is the massive fifteen plus minute "The Passing Light Of Day". Effects, samples and an off kilter drum pattern with meandering keyboards keep the interest level high. The undercurrent of electronics maintains the classic POS sound and Gildenlöw's half speaking, half singing approach packs an emotional punch that only adds to the album's dark underpinnings.

My version of the album contains a bonus disc of intros and demos which the hard core fan will certainly appreciate. These tunes add insight to the creation process and how these songs evolved over time with the help of Gildenlöw's introductory notes and thoughtful insight. Good stuff for sure.

Pain Of Salvation has always been a vehicle for Gildenlöw's darker side and with The Passing Light Of Day this is taken to another level. It's an emotionally draining experience that settles on the listener like a heavy blanket, almost suffocating in its intensity. Gildenlöw has never hesitated to wear his heart on his sleeve, fully exposed to the ravages of real life. His honesty and integrity is refreshing and the excellent music on The Passing Light Of Day is a testament to this.

Track Listing:
Bonus CD
1. Introduction (1:45)
2. Tongue Of God (Intro) (0:48)
3. Tongue Of God (Demo) (5:00)
4. Meaningless (Intro) (0:44)
5. Meaningless (Demo) (5:48)
6. Silent Gold (Intro) (0:48)
7. Silent Gold (Demo) (3:12)
8. Full Throttle Tribe (Intro) (0:49)
9. Reasons (Intro) (0:52)
10. Reasons (Demo) (4:32)
11. Angels of Broken Things (Intro) (0:42)
12. Angels Of Broken Things (Demo) (6:56)
13. Bloopers (2:32)

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