Pain of Salvation is sort of a household name in the progressive metal world. With some of their older work they convinced a lot of people of their genius and they stood at the crib of the whole genre. With the Road Salt albums they seemed to be going away further and further from their metal roots, diving more into a vintage rock style. And the last album Falling Home went for the acoustic sound with revisions of some of their old songs and a few covers. After Daniel Gildenlöw‘s recovery from a nasty flesh-eating infection, there’s finally another album hitting the shelves: In The Passing Light of Day.
As it’s the case with almost all of Pain of Salvation‘s albums, it’s a concept album envisioned by Daniel. This time the inspiration came from his illness and near death experience. The overall sound definitely has a really dark feel to it and is not happy at all. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some positivism, but it’s well-hidden between all the gloom. Something that will make a lot of old-time fans happy, is that it seems like hints of the older sound have crept back into their music. Daringly opening with the 10-minute track On a Tuesday, you immediately get smashed in the face with a really cool and heavy piece of prog metal riffing. Being one of the longest tracks (besides the title track at the end of the album), it’s also one of the most impressive and it holds a great promise for greatness. Too bad that most of the shorter songs between those tracks lack the same kind of power and emotional epicness. There are some really cool riffs and moments in most songs, but they don’t hold up as well. One of the highlights of these songs for me definitely is Meaningless, which somehow holds almost a perfect blend of their old work and more recent work.
But for instance, the other single Reasons starts really cool with a heavy riff and very repetitive rhythms. But the repetitive part gets a bit annoying after a while with the “This are the reasons” bit in the chorus. The vocals are really strong throughout the album with Daniel going high and low and everything in between with shitloads of emotion crammed into the crooning and screaming. But some of the lyrics don’t captivate that emotion as well as the voice singing them in my humble opinion. That they actually can accomplish absolute greatness gets yet again proven in the highly emotional title track The Passing Light of Day. The 15-minute song is a wonderful piece of honest and pure vulnerability brought to the surface by Daniel and his band mates.
Pain of Salvation delivers again a really strong album nevertheless. It maybe doesn’t hold up as firmly as recent releases of similar bands, but there are some real treats on this disc again. If there’s one thing for sure, it will be that they have the capabilities to make great art. I’m just wondering how fitting the term “progressive” still is for them because most of their music sounds and feels a bit like it’s done before by someone else. In the Passing Light of Day is definitely still a release you have to check out yourself, it might be that it strikes a stronger chord with you and it’s not like you’ll be listening to utter crap…
Release date: January 13th, 2017
Label: Inside Out Music
1. On a Tuesday
2. Tongue of God
4. Silent Gold
5. Full Throttle Tribe
7. Angels of Broken Things
8. The Taming of a Beast
9. If This Is the End
10. The Passing Light of Day