Pain of Salvation
Sweden’s PAIN OF SALVATION are likely the very opposite of a predictable and standardized act. They once more prove their unmatched reputation as true artists and modern rock expressionists by delivering “Road Salt Two”, the twin-companion ”Road Salt One” (2010), as an album equally opulent in creativity and stylistic flirtation, as well as at the same time genuine, musically coherent and brave in its rich amount of texture. In that sense, “Road Salt Two” is another twelve tracks of sweaty gravel, asphalt butterflies, untrodden paths and brave decisions.
Meticulously anticipated, the sophomore part of the “Road Salt” double-album concept is now ready to make its overdue public appearance, after what can easily be called a very eventful last year for PAIN OF SALVATION: Several chart entries with “Road Salt One”, Russian train bombs, a successful appearance at the mainstream-oriented Swedish “Melodifestivalen” song-contest, the release and ban of a highly controversial video clip for the song “Where It Hurts” as well as acclaimed touring activity all over Europe, India and South America made the waiting time pass along quickly, even though the project seemed a bit of a “cliffhanger” for the listener…
“I notice that I find it difficult to talk about this second part specifically because it becomes obvious that, for me at least, it’s not possible to distinguish the journey of ‘Road Salt Two’ from that of ‘Road Salt One’ - it’s really the same journey,” comments PAIN OF SALVATION’s Daniel Gildenlöw, to further elaborate, “I guess for the audience and for the public it appears to be more like two separate products, especially with the time between the releases. But most of the music is actually material that started to be recorded at the same time, so I feel that I have to look at it as a ‘Road Salt journey’ altogether…one that has been very, very long for me, starting already back in 2005/2006 for me and some of the songs. But especially since the end of 2008 it has been like a main project that has been devouring me, like all projects do. So from that perspective it almost feels odd at this point to have it sort of behind me. It's like I say in "Of Dust" (off “Road Salt One”): when you've been walking down the road for a very long time you get to the point when you can’t distinguish yourself from the road. You and your journey become the same. You change the road and the road changes you. An all-in symbiosis, for good and bad."
“Road Salt Two” once again presents PAIN OF SALVATION at its most emotionally intense and stylistically colourful, with a predominant 70’s vibe, yet, in direct comparison to “Road Salt One”, it might strike the listener as being a bit darker. It basically serves as a perfect breed between ‘old’ and ‘new’ PAIN OF SALVATION, while also presenting a different and previously unheard PAIN OF SALVATION. “Road Salt” goes full circle historically for the band, and as Gildenlöw puts it, “the two ‘Road Salt’ albums together are earthy, grainy and gritty. And to me that was the whole main idea; to bury our fingers and feet deeply into that soil of emotions and intellectual analysis of contemporary society”, before adding: “Every album is like an organism. You live with it and you breathe with it, especially this one since it's a double-album, which means that as you change, as time passes by, you will get second, third and fourth perspectives on all the songs. You lose your objectivity pretty early-on in the game, which is in many ways a good thing because I think you can only make a lasting album by embracing subjectivity. That’s what makes albums that will become ‘something more’...”
Biographical re-cap: Since the foundation of his first significant band, Reality, in 1984, mastermind and bandleader Daniel Gildenlöw has consistently followed his own concept of diverse, technically accomplished and border-transcending progressive rock. He renamed the band to PAIN OF SALVATION in 1991 and has released six studio albums and one unplugged recording previous to the “Road Salt” opus, among them classics such as “Scarsick” (2007), “BE” (2004) and “Remedy Lane” (2002). Each of these releases has impressed as a multi-layered concept album, dealing with tough sociopolitical themes, while also manifesting very intimate, individualist views. Even though PAIN OF SALVATION’s albums might appear quite different from each other at first sight, all things considered, they are all similar in terms of lyrical depth as well as in how fairly broad and musically wide they are in themselves. These albums often grow on you with time, just like best quality wine…
Making no exception to this tradition, “Road Salt Two” (also referred to as “Ebony”) is not only made to compliment the “Road Salt One” offering. It also opens up a new chapter for PAIN OF SALVATION, promising to kick off an adventurous and lengthy journey for the band to bring their music to be heard in all corners of the world. Starting out with a headlining Eastern European tour in October, the band will then embark on a big European run together with Swedish comrades Opeth throughout November and December of 2011, with further international tour legs to follow in 2012.
In closing, asked where his creative road is heading, Gildenlöw replies honestly “The thing is I never know, do I? The only thing I can say for sure is that I am bound to change. For me that’s just what it’s all about – I keep redefining music for myself and I keep redefining myself and my relation to music. If that would stagnate I am not so sure that I would feel very pushed to move on with it, because to me music is still a lot about experimenting and expressing. If you lose that I don’t really see the point of it… After all, I’m not heavily into entertainment music”.