Pain Of Salvation
In The Passing Light Of Day
Back to the future with yet another great album from Pain Of Salvation
Pain Of Salvation’s course through time, based on the evolution of the music and Daniel Gildenlow’s decisions, can seem a bit chaotic to someone looking from afar. But if someone keeps a close an eye on what Daniel stands for and how his music reflects his life, it makes perfect sense.
But, I guess these are details that only matter to those of us who are sworn followers of the band’s music and Daniel’s personality. For the rest, the fact that the new album is great once again, is enough information. What’s interesting though is how it was formed and some key points that shaped it.
Flashback to ten years ago. It was a rather turbulent period for the band and musically Daniel felt he had to step away from the progressive metal field and move towards a more organic, '70s sound. This change in direction led to the two wonderful "Road Salt" albums and it seemed that the band would stick to this new territory for a while. But, hey, new changes occurred in the lineup and thus a new turbulent period.
Some may think that all this happened because Daniel rules the band with an iron fist, but that’s not the case. The proof is that since Ragnar Zolberg joined the band he’s become the wingman Daniel always wanted and never had since Daniel Magdic at the first two albums.
So, it’s pretty clear that the new, steady lineup plays a significant role to the shaping of the new album. Leo Margarit is now the "old guy" behind the drum kit, Ragnar contributes in guitar, but also in vocals and Daniel Karlsson moved to the keyboards for Gusta Hielm to handle the bass. It’s a pretty solid lineup providing great technical skills, but mostly a so much needed tranquility within the band.
The second factor that played a major role is Daniel’s flirt with... death. It was about three years ago that he was rushed to the hospital, underwent surgery and stayed there for some months with his future looking quite uncertain way beyond music. Finally, he got out of it stronger on many levels, but such an experience wouldn’t leave the lyrical content uninfluenced. In fact, it’s the lyrics that define the album’s character most of all.
The third factor has to do with an offer that the band got to perform the whole "Remedy Lane" album in ProgPower festival, in 2014, which they accepted. In addition the album was re-mixed, re-mastered and re-issued last year and probably this whole revival of "Remedy Lane" led the creative process towards the sound of the band’s golden era, that of the early '00s. Or so the members of the band claimed...
So, is "In The Passing Light Of Day" a return to the past? Well, yes... and no.
From the very beginning of "On A Tuesday" it’s made pretty clear that the heavy guitars and the complex playing are back. To put it simply, prog metal is back in Pain Of Salvation’s music. Yet, in the middle of the 10 minute long song, when things calm down a bit, you realize that the organic, '70s sound is still somewhere in there and it’s not been totally abandoned. In fact, it seems like two worlds have collided and created something new, which is the case during the whole album. Lyricwise, the personal stuff Daniel had to deal with has also returned and here he seeks the reasons that keeps us humans going on even though we know it’s all in vain in the end.
Moving on to "Tongue Of God" here’s a track that some fans might be dreaming of when they heard that the band would return to the prog metal roots. Heavy riffs, double vocals with Ragnar’s contribution and Daniel being more pissed off than ever against God. Just awesome.
Then, "Meaningless" is the catchy tune of the album that most fans must already know and "Silent God" comes straight out of the "Road Salt" sound providing a nice chance to breathe in the album flow. One of these ballads that Daniel knows how to make great, as he’s paying tribute to his wife.
On the other side, "Full Throttle Tribe" is another progressive metal masterpiece, full of odd time signatures and technical stuff going on during its nine minutes. It’s one of the strongest moments of the album, with a great chorus and lyrics that seem to be a declaration as for what Daniel stands for as a human being.
"Reasons" is maybe the most diverse track of the album, really proggy, with multi-layered vocals, heavy riffing and Daniel changing mood from being mild when answering questions on the verse, to being angry as hell when he talks about... the reasons.
The next three songs have a common sonic ground, which seems like a crossing of "Scarsick"'s rawness, "Road Salt"'s lean approach and some heavy elements. In the end it’s something different and on all these three songs Daniel pushes the knife even deeper with his lyrics.
On "Angel Of Broken Things" he talks about all these things that try to break us everyday, wondering maybe if what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger or broken instead. On the contrary, "Taming Of The Beast" is about his alter ego, the Icarus he hides inside and would like to go for the sun even if it means he’ll burn his wings. "If This Is The End" finds him ready to face death with dignity, with anger and with irony.
All these lead to the title track that lasts 15 minutes and is totally different to whatever this band has made up to now in its career. Changing from mild to heavy, it’s a hymn to life and love, letting a silver lining shine through in the end. In the end comes a reminder that even though life is full of pain, it’s up to us to reach the salvation we seek.
When Daniel formed Pain Of Salvation he aimed to make them the biggest band in the world. The child has grown and the dream may have gone, but he achieved something equally great. To make people connect with his music in a really special way, a unique one I can say. "In The Passing Light Of Day" may not be the new "Remedy Lane" or the new "The Perfect Element pt.I" but it managers to create this feeling of unique connection once again. Please excuse me if I can’t describe it better; I’m not sure that this feeling can be described.
Maybe people need some time to dive into the band’s music or understand Gildelow’s personality. Maybe people need to pay attention to the lyrics. Or maybe some people need none of the above. Whatever is needed though, it’s worth it. Pain Of Salvation’s music will give you back much more. And this album is no exception.