Pain of Salvation – In the Passing Light of Day (InsideOut Music)

Wednesday, 4th January 2017
Rating: 9.5/10

Elevating themselves into an elite progressive rock/metal band rather quickly in the late 1990’s – early 2000’s through revered albums like One Hour by the Concrete Lake and Remedy Lane, Pain of Salvation thrive in duality for thought, output, and creative expression. Where others may have gone farther and further down the technical intricacies of the genre, these Swedes prefer to explore the many shades and colors that exist within – using quiet contrasts or surprising simplicity to advance the next brilliant movement. The tenth studio record In the Passing Light of Day contains ten tracks and over 71 minutes of music, which means plenty to absorb, digest, process, and assess – and after a few passes, rates very high in the ranks of their already upper tier consistency for discography.

The opener “On a Tuesday” sets an atmospheric, roller coaster picturesque scene for the first 10 minutes and change – featuring sections where the guitars, drumming, and vocal melodies can be alternating in off-time sequences, then quiet piano and distant, almost child-like wordplay comes in – the main heaviness mesmerizing as the tribal/exotic guitar trills and drumming build crescendos. A shorter, more radio-friendly arrangement gives the slower “Meaningless” a doom-like spirit throughout, the guitars dropping in and out while Daniel Gildenlow’s measured melodies have a Tool meets Pink Floyd-ish chill bump effect that works to intensify the dark emotional qualities against the awesome lead guitarist Ragnar Zolberg vocal collaboration. “Silent Gold” reaches back into a late 60’s/early 70’s archives of influence, a piano/low vocal affair for the most part riveting the aural landscape as we ‘run, run, run for the morning sun.’ Throughout you get explorations of off-time elements in the weirdest of combinations – the multi-tracked, a cappella vocal harmonies for “Reasons” recall Yes meets Faith No More, while a strong bass/drum backbone see-saws between alternative, semi nu-metal, and gothic layering for “If This Is the End”.

The poignant lyrics touch upon the prospects of death and passing of life as well as the hope of change and tomorrow that came to a head for Daniel personally in 2014 fighting off infection and illness. Spacing out the epic material for the beginning, middle, and end, Pain of Salvation understands the diversity necessary to give their listeners an original experience every time you take in this material. The title cut at 15:31 is another tale of two cities so to speak – cue the tumbleweeds and sand through for the first half as a bluesy, almost old-country vibe quietly gives chase to a Meshuggah meets Soundgarden-esque heaviness. An early contender for progressive rock/metal album of the year – In the Passing Light of Day makes you think, reflect, and push out deep seeded memories that help you live for the better. In a just world, Pain of Salvation will be headlining arenas for their music moves people to action, to joy, even to tears, speaking to the game changing power of music.

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