Pain of Salvation is a Swedish progressive metal band led by Daniel Gildenlöw, who is the band's main songwriter, lyricist, guitarist, and vocalist. Pain of Salvation's sound is characterised by riff-oriented guitar work, a broad vocal range, oscillation between heavy and calm passages, syncopation, and polyrhythms. Thus far, every album released by the band has been a concept album. Lyrically, the band tends to address contemporary issues, such as war, the environment, and the nature of God, humanity, and existence. The name Pain of Salvation was devised by Daniel Gildenlöw, who interpreted the name as having "the meaning of balance. Taking the good with the bad. It is also a good expression in everyday use: when something does not go the way you planned, the phrase 'pain of salvation' indicates that this is just a slight setback on an otherwise painless journey towards your goal".
In 1984, eleven year-old Daniel Gildenlöw founded the band Reality in Eskilstuna, Sweden. One of the early members was Daniel Magdic on guitar, who would remain with the band until after Entropia was recorded in 1997. In 1987, Reality participated in the Swedish Annual Music Contest, Rock-SM, and were the youngest competitors ever to enter the competition. Daniel Gildenlöw won the category of Best Vocalist. In 1990, drummer Johan Langell and bassist Gustaf Hielm joined the band. Daniel Gildenlöw renamed the band to Pain of Salvation in 1991, having reportedly conceived the band's name during math class. During the next 3 years, the band competed in contests and competitions while earning national recognition in the process. In 1994, Kristoffer Gildenlöw, Daniel’s younger brother, replaced Gustaf Hielm on bass. The line-up of the Gildenlöw brothers, Daniel Magdic on guitar and Johan Langell on drums entered a local studio and recorded the Hereafter demo, which the band actively shopped to record companies. Fredrik Hermansson successfully auditioned to become the band's keyboardist.
In early 1997, Pain of Salvation entered the Roasting House Studio to record their debut album, Entropia, which was released in Asia on Avalon Records. Entropia was described as "a well-needed breath of fresh air for a genre that was full of self-parody and self-indulgence," as it was "delivered with emotion, intelligence, integrity, passion, and poignancy". In 1999, the album was released in Europe by InsideOut Music and in South America by Hellion Records. Entropia can be easily considered as the band's most musically diverse release up to today, raging from mellow passages to crushingly heavy ones, from complex Gentle Giant influenced songs to funky/black music influenced songs, from thoughtful and calm passages to distressful and energetic passages. Unlike posterior releases, however, Entropia does not focus on one theme or one storyline, having three stories being developed at the same time in the album. At the time of Entropia's release, the band started to gain international attention.
Handful of nothing
The big machine
In late 2001, Pain of Salvation recorded their fourth album, Remedy Lane, which was almost entirely written during a two-month period from August to September 2001 by Daniel Gildenlöw. The album, which was described as the band's breakthrough, was recorded at Roasting House Studio in Sweden. Remedy Lane is Daniel Gildenlöw's semi-autobiographical meditation on love, lust, and life. The album was released in January 2002. It was received very well by the progressive rock and progressive metal community and is regarded as the band's best work so far. In 2002, during the Remedy Lane tour, the band was invited by Dream Theater to be a special guest opener for their European tour of the album Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. Remedy Lane is, along with all Pain of Salvation's albums, a concept album, but, unlike the other albums released by the band so far, the concept of Remedy Lane was both lighter (when compared with the other themes used in previous albums) and closer to the audience, since it treated about more earthly matters than previous albums (emotional feelings, human relationship, etc).
On 21 February 2006, Kristoffer Gildenlöw, unable to attend rehearsals due to his relocation to Holland, was asked to leave the band. After leaving the band, Kristoffer have been working on his own musical projects, being the 2007 album Synchronized, from the band Dial, the first to come to surface. Pain of Salvation's Scarsick was released on January 22, 2007. The album again met with mixed reviews. Daniel Gildenlöw said that Scarsick is a thematic continuation of The Perfect Element part I. Because of his brother's departure, Daniel Gildenlöw recorded the bass guitar parts for the album. Scarsick gets most of its base sound from the late 1990's and early 2000's new metal, a genre that, by the time the album was released, was already old news and endured a rather heavy amount of negative feedback. The album is mostly song-and-band oriented, something that the band had never fully done before and it met mixed reviews since it was released and still does over the years. After the album's release, the band toured Europe and played select international shows, including one in Egypt. Simon Andersson was recruited as touring bassist and, on 10 March 2007, he was made a full member of the band.
On April 29, 2007, the band announced that drummer Johan Langell would depart at the end of the tour due to family commitments. On 6 October 2007, at the Motstøy festival in Notodden, the band announced that Langell's replacement would be Léo Margarit. Both drummers performed during the show, with Margarit doing a three-minute solo at the end of Nightmist. Late in 2008, bassist Simon Andersson left the band to pursue his side projects and recover from the Scarsick tour. The band relied on touring musicians Per Schelander (2008-2010) and Daniel Karlsson (2011) for the next three years. On 13 February 2009, the band announced that they would take part in Dream Theater's Progressive Nation 2009 tour. However, the recent bankruptcy of SPV forced both Pain of Salvation and Beardfish to back out of the tour because of a lack of financial backing. The Ending Themes (On the Two Deaths of Pain of Salvation) DVD was released on 24 March 2009 and featured the band performing in Amsterdam. The DVD included a cover of the Leonard Cohen song, "Hallelujah". On 1 November 2008, the band debuted a new song, "Mortar Grind", from their upcoming studio album and EP. Pain of Salvation described its next project as a two album concept. However, the project was delayed due to the bankruptcy of SPV, subsidiary InsideOut Music was acquired by Century Media, which allowed the band to finish the albums. By the time that Daniel Gildenlöw returned to the album, he had re-evaluated the double album concept and ultimately decided to split the project into two separate releases. In December 2009, it was confirmed that the song "Road Salt" would be an entry in the 2010 edition of Melodifestivalen, Sweden's national final for the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest. The band performed during the first semi-final and qualified for the runners-up broadcast. That gave Pain of Salvation the biggest ever exposure to the Swedish public in their career; however, they lost to Pernilla Wahlgren by a slim margin and did not progress to the finals. Road Salt One was released on 17 May 2010 in most of Europe and on 8 June 2010 in North America, while Road Salt Two was released in September 2011. A music video for "Where It Hurts" was also released. The Road Salt albums featured a concept that was in sharp contrast to previous undertakings, as Daniel Gildenlöw discusses: "It’s not like a chronological story like the other albums. It’s like several parallel stories and once you look at them together they start vibrating at the same speed or frequency and that’s where you get the story... The whole idea is to compare situations or chains of events, compare them to roads and choose what roads you want to take and the roads will lead you to different places... Whatever road you are traveling down at different points in the movie they will be keyframes. At that position, you could see things from a different perspective than you normally would. Many of these songs are these key frames and sort of singularities and special points on the different roads from all these different people doing different things. That’s where everything connects."
Darkness of mine
1998 One Hour by the Concrete Lake
2000 The Perfect Element, Part I
2002 Remedy Lane
2010 Road Salt One
2011 Road Salt Two
Pain of Salvation official website: http://www.painofsalvation.com