Another reason to thank the late great Geoff Banks is for his recommendation of Pain Of Salvation, ‘Remedy Lane‘ was my first introduction to them. When I was given the opportunity to review the new release, I bit Martin’s hands off.
On the first play through I was unsure, to be truthful it felt like Daniel Gildenlow was grasping for something with this album. I was hoping for another ‘Salt Road’ I suppose but then I read the press pack and realised that this is an album of recovery and loss. Looking at it through that prism, the album is deeply personal and reflects what I recognise as Daniel voicing his recent history, one of a near fatal illness and the slow recovery to full strength and vigour.
The album is full of light, shade and some very dark music with all you would expect from PoS, the heavy riffs, thundering drums; the sonic assaults all there in abundance.
There is also a goodly amount of experimentation, subtlety and sensitivity in there too. The album kicks off with “On A Tuesday”, this is a full on classic PoS track coming in at 10 minutes plus with a metallic introduction coming at the listener like a supercharged tank then dropping off into in almost acoustic piano synth combination and, at times, I can hear an Arthur Brown like quality to Daniel’s voice.
“Full Throttle Tribe” Instantly hits you more than any other track. The riff from the keys becomes the refrain that runs through the whole track. Here we have a song relating to the need to belong and have some kind of person or people to call your own. It hammers home only relenting occasionally for breaths of reflective stillness before ripping back into chaotic riffology. Then it vanishes to the electronic pings of hospital machinery and ends in an industrial dark melee.
“Angels Of Broken Things” is as near as this album has to a pop song. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t Justin Bieber territory but it is accessible and has a tension building bass line that drags you along seeking release when the spring is close to breaking. If Pink Floyd were young and still around this would their “One Of These Days”. It’s an ode to the angels on the wards and nod of thank you to them.
The Title track “The Passing Light Of Day” is a 15 minute epic that starts with pipe organ keyboards as if from a 60s BBC Children’s Programme then goes into an aching beautiful track describing loss, redemption and recovery. From the sound of the fingers sliding up and down the guitar strings to the plaintiff voice pleading against the inevitabilities of life you ache throughout the whole track. The band are restrained on this track and it shows their understanding of space and its importance in music.
This is not an album where you will instantly fall in love with whether you have been desperate for a new PoS album or not. It is worthy of the name of a good album. A classic? That is not for me to judge but it definitely is worth listening to if you like Progressive Music on the harder side. I’d say it will stand out in the genre in 2017. If you like Dream Theater or their ilk go here if you already haven’t done so. If you want to dip your toe in the water this may be a good introduction to this aspect of the genre. There is also a vinyl deluxe version for the collector and completists out there.
The album is littered with some great music and is a rebirth of the band as a force to be reckoned with. Worth the wait? I believe so.
Released 13th January 2017