Inside Out [Release date 13.01.17]
Breakneck, technically demanding and maybe even pretentious to some – a clear fusion between metal, folk and progressive rock that has introduced the genre to a contemporary audience.
Swedish progressive rock and metal band Pain of Salvation, formally ‘Reality’ (1984-1991) have had the torch passed on from masters of prog such as Pink Floyd, Yes and Genesis and added their own twist to create a new amalgamation that works perfectly. ‘In the Passing Light Day’ pursues their efforts to create additional concept albums like all that have come before it; from their 1997 studio album ‘Entropia’ to their 2014 studio album ‘Falling Home’. The bands undoubtedly sincerity when regarding their lyrics, which, are so vivid both in their connotation and in their structure, could only be described in many ways as both their downfall and ironically salvation. Being so faithful to their beliefs, the band are somewhat limited to the ability of only being able to personally reach a small and specific group of people, for their sound accompanies their hearts, with a complete absence of commercial appeal. Yet they still obtain the talent of creating and presenting new adaptions (as shown through the timeline of the discography) and this album demonstrates that.
Formed in 1984, by an eleven-year-old Daniel Gildenlöw as ‘Reality’ who partook in “Rock-SM” - A Swedish Annual Music Contests, the band have gone on to create their tenth studio album with numerous line-up changes on the way but for years running it has consisted of Daniel Gildenlöw – lead vocals, guitars, countless instruments, production (1984−present), Gustaf Hielm – bass guitars and backing vocals (1991-1994, 2011-present), Léo Margarit – drums, vocals (2007 – present), Daniel Karlsson – keyboards, backing vocals (2011–present), and Ragnar Zolberg – lead guitar, lead vocals (2012 – present).
In the Passing Light Day’s concept is inextricably connected to Daniel’s near fatal illness that he spent much of the first half of 2014, recovering from. He goes on to add ‘’I came there with the first snow, and when I left it was almost summer’’. Despite this downfall however, the band were able to produce an impressive album that portrayed his struggles through the medium of rock and roll. The album opens up with ‘On a Tuesday’’ which is a 10 minute, metal powered and energetic song that paints the picture and imagery of Daniel’s experiences while making it easy to head bang to despite the story behind it. Its spoken intros eeriness combined with its heavy guitars and pounding drums which fade into a softer and more meditative tone of melody, produce the perfect balance for an opening track.
The second track ‘Tongue of God’, my favourite track on the album, shows how well the fusion of metal and prog can work, with the piano introduction turning into hard rocking guitar riff which is able to help give each section of the song a different vibe – which oddly compliments the song very well. ‘Meaningless’ however is the track that has stood out for me in terms of lyrics in conjunction with the back story while its drum and guitar build up with emotion; the track is the most commercially appealing and I can see it becoming an anthem for them as it’s a pop folk roots are evident – which is not a bad thing at all. ‘Silent gold’ is where the bands progressive influence is clearest is what may make it hard for them to break into the metal scene completely. Its closer to Ed Sheeran than Metallica which may off put some, but despite that, it fits perfectly within the album; the question is are people listening for the concept or the individual songs?
The rest of the songs on the album bring back and maintain the fusion however from ‘Reasons’ which is the heaviest song on the album to ‘’If This Is the End’’ which is once again both progressive rock featured with inputs of heavy metal throughout; Pain of Salvation do what they say on the tin in that sense, they are a progressive rock band and therefore one can’t complain about them trying something new. The album ends of with ‘The Passing Light of Day’ which in rivalry with ‘Tongue of God’ could also arguably be one of my favourite tracks. Its placement at the end, closes the story with a sense of emotion and feeling that touches you, disregarding its genre, it’s a beautifully composed song which for me shows us, as the audience, just how devoted and talented this band really are and luckily the track is 15 minutes, giving us more time to enjoy its beauty. *****
Review by Mitchell Benjamin
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