Realisation can be an incredibly powerful tool. Often seen as a double edged sword, the understanding can be incredibly positive yet also detrimental. The fragility of life itself is often something humans forget, with work goals and all sorts of small picture ideals clouding our judgement to what truly matters. Thinking it was nothing, Pain of Salvation‘s Daniel Gildenlöw was brought to the hospital to be told he had contracted a flesh eating virus. In an instant, current ideas began to pale into comparison when faced with his own mortality. Triumphing over adversity Gildenlöw bested the virus. Pooling his creative energies into the long standing Pain of Salvation, the band have delivered one of the most honest and truly heartfelt records in recent years. Bringing their In The Passing Light Of Day tour to London, the band begin their triumphant new chapter at Islington’s Assembly Halls.
Nevertheless before we get to the meat and potatoes of the evening, Swedish rockers Port Noir are here to begin proceedings. A band, that for a three piece, make a serious amount of racket! Releasing their new album Any Way The Wind Carries last year, the band are an appropriate support act to the Prog legends. With riffs building into a mantra like state the band bring out material that you would expect to hear the band do a suitable job of getting people in the introspective mood.
As the lights dim once more and the heavily middle aged roars erupt, it is time for our headliners Pain of Salvation to emerge. With the subtle blinking lights and bleak din of guitars, the band erupt into opener “Full Throttle Tribe” which as the title suggests doesn’t hold back. Followed in quick succession by the acapella of “Reasons” which translates to be strangely, incredibly heavy live. Anchored by frontman Gildenlöw, the band work in perfect sync to deliver each of the lengthier tracks with ease. A testament to their ability as a band, all the while keeping the set interesting with various twists and turns.
A perfect compromise of light and dark, contrast here is Pain of Salvation‘s greatest strength. Throwing back to the nostalgia of Remedy Lane the band treat long standing fans to renditions of the album’s set pieces. “A Trace of Blood” being a definite highlight of the evening making for an upbeat tempo not to mention the showcasing the level of clarity coming from the band’s speakers a refreshing change from the more dour sections of the bands new material. There are also elements of the band’s softer side with the appearance of Road Salt material as well, nevertheless the majority of tonight’s material stems from the new album.
However undeniable in the room tonight the real man of the match is Gildenlöw. With a subject matter so close to home, the man delves into himself tonight. Tugging at the heart strings of everyone in the room aided no doubt by the man’s delivery and of course subtle caress of vocals makes for truly poignant and stirring reactions from the crowd towards the band. Yet just as delicate as the man can be so can the band be fierce! Performing a majority from new album In The Passing Light of Day, a treat to say the least being the Homeric “On A Tuesday“. The ten minute plus track vividly holds your attention throughout its performance. Not quite something every band can say they can do. With this being their twenty sixth year as a band, Pain of Salvation are a fantastic representation of duality. Returning to their heavier roots in their new record the band are just as at home with screaming in anguish and bawling in despair. As the band slowly finish on their finale of title track “In The Passing Light of Day” and the Prog tears soak the floor, tonight’s performance is one of poignancy that won’t soon be forgotten.