It was actually on this day for 10 years ago that I did my first review for Metal Revolution and it was the review of Pain Of Salvation’s Scarsick. Fast forward 10 years and the band is ready with an album that in many ways can be compared to Scarsick.
Band’s first album since Road Salt Two, which was released more than 5 years ago is marketed as the return to their roots and while this might be partially true, because of its heavier and more progressive approach, the case is that this is an album that combines aspects of Pain Of Salvation’s entire career. Much like any Pain Of Salvation album it also explores the unknown territories, but don’t expect the radical changes the likes of BE and Road Salt represent.
In the Passing Light of Day is not back to the roots album in the same sense as Megadeth’s Dystopia is, but it’s rather a retrospective that spans over the band’s entire career. At the same time band allows themselves to include few new aspects as well.
The new album also marks the first release of new music with the current line-up and first ever, which sees band’s mainman Daniel Gildenlöw as the only original member.
Thematically the album is heavily influenced by Gildenlöw’s near fatal illness in 2014 and as such this is a very dark album, both lyrically and musically. There are however some cracks of light in it too and overall the album’s approach comes across genuine and without filter. And that sincere vulnerable approach has been Gildenlöw’s strength throughout his career.
Musically album is complex and diverse. Gildenlöw has surrounded himself with a good team and especially drummer Léo Margarit and the guitarist/singer Ragnar Zolberg impress.
Gildenlöw’s performance is passionate, fragile and intense although fewer sighs and exhale/inhale combinations would serve his performance well. Margarit has over the years proven his qualities as the drummer and the new album is not an exception. What could’ve made it better is few more straight forward rhythms to take some of the weight from the endless line of irregular time signatures and polyrhythm debauchery.
Looking pass the eminent performance and nonetheless impressive arrangements, Pain Of Salvation’s strength has always been the very core of songs they write. That very essence that makes songs great even if you perform them on an acoustic guitar. In the Passing Light of Day is not an exception.
The opener “On a Tuesday” is a perfect example of combining different eras of Pain Of Salvation’s career into an emotional and tight song. Despite the running time of over ten minutes it’s a perfect opener, not only because it’s representative of the album (and the band) well, but also because it’s roller-coaster that never feels forced or excessive.
Album is co-produced with Daniel Bergstrand (Known for his work with Soilwork, Meshuggah, In Flames etc.) and the result is brilliantly balanced record that much like previous few releases draws inspiration from early 70’s (prog) rock records. At times it feels bit too dry, but overall it’s a very good sounding record.
In the Passing Light of Day has a smooth flow and it feels as a whole, despite its complexity, diversity and long running time. Like any other POS record it’s demanding and experimental, but less so then most of their other releases. As such it reminds me of Scarsick, because it too, is a look at all the previous work. Due to heavier and far more progressive approach many fans will see it as homecoming, but the truth is that yet another extremely skilled Pain Of Salvation release and much like the previous ones, it’s simply a damn good record.