I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since they wrote an album, but they’re finally back. Pain Of Salvation is back….
Pain Of Salvation is a very special band to me. They are one of only few bands that are actually unpredictable in style and approach. When I started to listen to their albums, every time I thought I had a grasp of their creative choices, my whole view on the band would change after the next listen. Don’t get me wrong. There is a definite sound that defines this band, but they are able to twist it, expand upon that sound, and play with very differently on each of their albums. A great example can be easily found in their last two albums: Road Salt I and Road Salt II. These albums together can actually be considered as one creation since they were written as a concept that would span two albums.
The change of style was so drastic that when a friend of mine, who already got to hear a few Pain Of Salvation albums, heard “No Way” from Road Salt I playing in my car, he asked me: “what band are they covering?” I love the album, and respected the very bold move to experiment with different styles. I still think Road Salt is one of their most unique and special releases. In The Passing Light Of Day is Pain Of Salvation’s return to their “roots” – their classic heavy sound, but make no mistake, the creative direction of this album is in no way “predictable”.
In The Passing Light Of Day is the band’s 10th album if you count Road Salt as two separate albums and if you also count “Falling Home”. In The Passing Light Of Day marks the first time Daniel Gildenlow co-wrote songs with another artist – in this case, the band’s lead guitarist and backing vocalist Ragnar Zolberg. When I learned this, I was very curious on what would be the final result. Together, they created an amazing album. As you may know, each Pain Of Salvation album is actually a concept album telling a story. This album tells the story of Daniel Gildenlow’s battle with a flesh eating bacteria. Daniel underwent a series of surgeries after having contracted a serious infection (Necrotising Fasciitis, aka ‘flesh-eating bacteria’). I will now share with you my thoughts on the album, and go through a song by song description.
In The Passing Light Of Day is heavy, but very melody-driven. I don’t think this album is similar to any of their previous releases, but if I had to pick the album that is most similar to this one I would probably choose Entropia, maybe with a mixture of elements from “Remedy Lane”. But hey, that’s just me! The reason why this album reminds me of Entropia is because of the creative approach taken in this album. The melody is not carried off by all the instruments. Sometimes one can only hear the drums playing and minimal guitar playing through different verses where the only thing that carries the melody is basically the vocals. Something that can be found in songs like “Tongue Of God” (in the verses), or in “Revival” from Entropia. Folks might not agree since even this similarity is kind of loose.
With this album, Pain Of Salvation is cementing itself as one of the essential “must hear” bands for all Progressive Metal fans and lovers. It usually takes me some time to wrap my head around new music, and this was no exception. But after a few listens, the wait of so many years for the album to be released was worth it! This album is an amazing start to 2017. The whole mix sounds great, and Ragnar is doing a great job on vocals. In The Passing Light Of Day is definitely one of Pain Of Salvation’s best offerings, and it was, as I stated, worth the wait! I cannot wait for all of the fans to hear it.
Below is a song-by-song review, which hopefully will help describe the overall feel of the album:
1. “On A Tuesday”: WOW! this song starts off the album with a very heavy and rhythmic riff that gets the energy flowing right away. The melodies you hear make this song very unique. The chorus especially… throws you off. A very strong start to this album.
2. “Tongue Of God”: Very very cool song. It starts off with a beautiful piano intro, which segues into a very heavy riff. The verse has this really cool melody, with a cool drum beat. “Tongue Of God” is a very catchy song, that will probably be featured in every live performance. I believe the verse “I cry in the shower, I smile in the bed” really connects the listener with the concept and story of the album.
3. “Meaningless”: You are probably already familiar with this song since it has already been released. The opening riff really grabs you, and the melody of the verse is really unique. The ending verse is very moving and emotional: “this guilt is a hole but it’s mine”.
4. “Silent Gold”: This is a very soft and melodic song. The vocals and piano are the most dominant instruments on this song. I think it shows another side of Daniel’s soft voice that we haven’t heard before.
5. “Full Throttle Tribe”: this is the song you hear in the teaser video for the album. The song starts like a classic Pain Of Salvation song with the changing rhythm and weird melody coming off the keyboards. many key changes and emotional changes. This is one of the most dynamic songs on this album, and definitely one of the songs you instantly connect with when hearing this album for the first time.
6. “Reasons”: HOLY SH*T! This song is very Metal and very proggy. It reminds me a bit of “Stress” from Entropia since there are many key changes, and a really cool groove in the chorus and starting verse. The opening riff is very sudden and confusing! It’s (So cool!) “Reasons” is also very lyrically emotional song. I keep coming back to it because it so complex and has so many different emotional peaks.
7. “Angels Of Broken Things”: The song starts off with a clean melody on the guitar. The song’s intro builds an atmospheric melody that carries through the verses and choruses. The melody intensifies during the last minutes of the song with added distortion, and a beautiful guitar solo, only to return to the simple melody of the intro.
8. “The Taming Of The Beast”: The verses are very quiet with a great melody, building up to the heavy chorus: “I wanna taste it all!” The song helps to create an emotional peak in the story as we’re approach the end.
9. “If This Is The End”: The first half of this song is very soft, like any ballad. The second half is full with melody; softness at times, and heaviness at other times. All of this to intensify the story and the emotions right before the final song.
10. “In The Passing Light Of Day”: When i saw the track listing for the album and all the different run times, I imagined this to be a completely different song. At 15 minutes long (!), I thought this would be this epic, complicated Prog Metal song with many different turns and twists that would serve as the album’s conclusion. When you hear this song, you can tell it’s the end, even at the beginning. The start is very calm, kind of optimistic: “you’re watching this slowly slip away, like the passing light of day…” The song continues like this for 6-7 minutes or so, before building up to the very epic part of the song, intensifying the melody with the full band playing it. The song then returns to the soft melody, leaving us with this amazing feeling. A proper closure to an epic album, telling a very emotional story. It actually doesn’t feel like 15 minutes, it passes very quickly.
These are my thoughts on the album, I hope you enjoyed reading and that you’ll enjoy listening to the album as much as I did. It was definitely worth the wait.