Pain Of Salvation are a Swedish progressive rock band that have existed for well over 30 years (they were known as Reality between 1984-1991), formed by vocalist and guitarist Daniel Gildenlöw at the tender age of just eleven years old. Although it took the band 13 years to release their first studio record, ‘Entropia’, they’ve consistently released new music every few years, culminating in their tenth album, ‘In The Passing Light Of Day’.
Gildenlöw had previously stated that this new record would be a return to slightly heavier territory for the band, with the last few releases bordering on the artier side of progressive rock. This may have, in part, been down to the fact that he almost died in 2014 due to contracting a streptococcal infection (a nasty flesh eating bacteria). What’s occurred as a result of this is ‘In The Passing Light Of Day’ being a dark and morose album with huge levels of rawness and grit, although perhaps not quite as heavy as first indicated.
10 minute sprawling effort ‘On A Tuesday’ kicks off the album, combining a slow-building intro with the melodic vocal delivery of Maynard James Kennan offset against anguished spoken word sections and hushed whispers. The chorus is a relatively stop/start affair with melodic wailing over the top, but what really hits hard is the overall morose and sombre nature of the song throughout. A moody, theatrical ending to the song really pulls on the heartstrings.
Some Eastern vibes are felt on ‘Tongue Of God’ through odd guitar sounds and shifting vocals, while first single from the album ‘Meaningless’ continues the ever changing dynamic by incorporating high pitched vocals and a hefty underlying grunt from Ragnor Zolberg‘s guitar. The sad tone of the record becomes apparent fairly quickly in the listening process, especially during this song.
Unfortunately, the momentum of the album is something that’s fairly inconsistent. One minute you’re admiring the catchy chorus and djenty low tuned guitars of ‘Full Throttle Tribe’, and the next you’re scratching your head at the seemingly lacklustre impact of ‘If This Is The End’. This is further compounded by ‘Silent Gold’ and ‘Angels Of Broken Things’; two songs which are totally directionless and struggle to get moving.
The emotional and gut-wrenching fuelled progressive rock this album contains, and there are definitely some leanings towards latter day Opeth material here, may provide contrasting views for the casual listener. It’s a little too reliant on the lighter side, especially considering the expectations that were set, but there’s no denying that ‘In The Passing Light Of Day’ is an impressive body of work that really channels into the inner self.
Written by Neil Criddle (@DJCriddz)