2017’s ‘In The Passing Light of Day’ was seen by many PoS fans as possibly their best release since their heyday, and with the return of long-time guitarist Johan Hallgren to a band which had been incredibly stable in the previous six or so years, expectations were high. However, not for the first time, Daniel Gildenlöw decided to move in a very different direction indeed. He is someone who relishes in challenging his audience, and when he thinks of the term “progressive” he obviously treats it as a direction as opposed to a genre in its own right, the only question is whether or not his audience will travel the same road he is taking and whether they will keep returning if they find the music being delivered is not to their taste.
While Johan was with the band for their most important years, he has somehow been kept rather restrained in their latest album which is far more electronic and industrial than I would ever have expected from Pain of Salvation. It is hard to compare between this and ‘The Perfect Element, Pt I’ as they are totally different beasts, but during the nearly two decades between the two albums, the band, and Daniel in particular, have been through many challenges and they are no longer the same as they were. It is incredibly dark, with ‘Unfuture’ in particular being incredibly unsettling as it brings forth the images of a post-apocalyptic future where everything is in black and white. There is no doubt that Gildenlöw had a vision in his mind when he approached this recording, and he has achieved exactly what he wanted, and for both this and that he is always looking for a new direction must be lauded. He is an incredible musician and band leader, but I surely cannot be the only one hoping for more in the line of the “classic” years as opposed to the direction he is currently moving in.