PAIN OF SALVATION
VENUE ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL, LONDON
Kingcrow’s inclusion on this tour gives the Italian prog metal veterans the opportunity to play to their own fans alongside much deserved exposure to a wider audience. Showcasing tracks from their recent The Persistence release as well as airing a couple of older tunes, they win over a fair swathe of a partisan Pain Of Salvation audience, closing with the minor epic If Only.
A suitably atmospheric intro ushers in the ferocious and tricksy First Tuesday as Pain Of Salvation gather, with Reasons and the heartrending Meaningless up next. For a man who nearly died of a horrible flesh-eating disease just a few years ago and then spent a long time in recovery, Daniel Gildenlöw’s voice is just as astounding as ever, and he looks gratifyingly healthy and full of beans tonight.
Striking images abound: Gildenlöw playing the whole of the beautiful guitar piece Falling on one knee, then silhouetted in piercing white light, arms outstretched, delivering
The Perfect Element (which also features wonderful four-part harmonies), or uplit in sombre hues on an otherwise darkened stage.
He leads his band through tracks from their most recent release, alongside songs from across their back catalogue (although interestingly, in what feels like a very definite decision, there’s nothing from either Remedy Lane or BE). How is it that a band who have been touring last year’s In The Passing Light Of Day on and off for about 18 months now still manage to bring such vitality and excitement to the songs?
Topless and intense, returned guitarist Johan Hallgren prowls like a caged animal, and very ably shares vocal duties with Gildenlöw. He demonstrates repeatedly, especially on tracks like Kingdom Of Loss and Ashes, that he can riff and shred brilliantly.
It’s not all earnest severity. A quirky gear change leads us into Disco Queen, with the lighting rig reflecting the music in a twisted take on garish, 70s nightclub primary colours, the crew on the desk getting in on the act by donning hats festooned with fairy lights.
The set concludes with the insane polyrhythms and metric modulation of Handful Of Nothing, the brutal yet lovely Inside Out and the stunning energy of Full Throttle Tribe.
Returning for the encores, Used and an emotionally charged and powerful In The Passing Light Of Day, Pain Of Salvation leave a rapturous audience. While their talent and utter commitment to what they do can’t be in question, Gildenlöw and his cohorts combine this with something other similarly labelled bands often miss – a raw, sometimes agonisingly honest humanity that bleeds through everything they do.
“THERE IS A RAW, SOMETIMES AGONISINGLY
HONEST HUMANITY THAT BLEEDS THROUGH EVERYTHING
PAIN OF SALVATION DO.”
LIGHT AND SHADOW: PAIN OF SALVATION DELIVER A NUANCED SET.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN: PAIN OF SALVATION’S DANIEL GILDENLÖW.