Though remaining busy in the passing years, Pain Of Salvation hasn't had a new studio album with new songs in five years. The last one was 2011's Road Salt Two, where the band continued their interest and expression of lighter progressive sounds. With In The Passing Light Of Day, Pain Of Salvation returns to their more heavier, and some may say darker, progressive metal style, once more with leader and lyricist Daniel Gildenlow exploring the human condition.
But this time around that exploration became much more personal. In 2014, Gildenlow entered the hospital with an infection which quickly turned into a life threatening illness. That is to say, there came a point and the realization that he may be facing his own demise. So the album revolves, thematically, around that experience and all the thoughts and emotions that came with it. Which makes wish I had the lyrics for the songs with my digital press kit. Those of you who buy the CD will have an advantage over me.
Musically, In The Passing Light Of Day can be rather bracing, heavy, and intense, at times. This largely comes from the combination the riffage, which can range from raw to brisk to acerbic, and the rhythm section, being demanding and thundering. Good examples include Reasons (video below), Full Throttle Tribe, and Meaningless, where the deep and bracing bravado riffs and drums echoes the theme inherent in the songs title. Yet, In The Passing Light Of Day is not without more subtle and passive moments. There's Silent Gold which is mostly vocals over keyboards. Similarly, Angels Of Broken Things stays dialed back, with Gildenlow's voice lilting over a self-evident bass and drum line until about the four minute mark. There a blistering guitar solo is unleashed. Also, If This Is The End turns on a juxtaposition of melancholy musical introspection in the first half, then roaring in near angst and anguish in the latter half. Across the entire album, the songs are marked by Pain Of Salvation deliberate, yet not overly technical, arrangements. They still slip in melody and groove to add accessibility.
My conclusions after a few spins of In The Passing Light Of Day was two-fold. One, those fans who liked the character and progressiveness of the band in Remedy Lane should welcome this album with open arms and open wallets. Secondly, this album also affirms, once more, my usual ambivalence to a Pain Of Salvation album. As much as I appreciate their musical approach and experience, they don't always connect with me on either level. It's the akward combination of being musically challenging, a good thing, and not all that accessible. But that's just me. Otherwise, In The Passing Light Of Day is definitely recommended to their fans, and those up to listening to some challenging progressive metal.
With Pain Of Salvation's In The Passing Light Of Day, those fans who liked the character and progressiveness of the band in Remedy Lane should welcome this album with open arms and open wallets.
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