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Music / Pain of Salvation

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Pain of Salvation is a Progressive Metal band. The only consistent member is Daniel Gildenlow, the lead singer, guitarist, composer and lyricist. They are known for their emotional music, use of Uncommon Time, switching between heavy and soft passages and Daniel's wide vocal range. Unusually in Progressive Metal, they concentrate less on displays of instrumental technicality and more on emotion and precise execution.

They have released ten albums so far:

  • Entropia (1997)
  • One Hour by the Concrete Lake (1998)
  • The Perfect Element: Part I (2000)
  • Remedy Lane (2002)
  • "BE" (2004)
  • Scarsick (2007, Part II of The Perfect Element)
  • Road Salt One (2010)
  • Road Salt Two (2011)
  • Falling Home (2014, acoustic reworkings of previous material)
  • In the Passing Light of Day (2017)
  • Panther (2020)

This band provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Both of the protagonists of The Perfect Element had them. "Used" is partially sung from the viewpoint of He's abusive father.
  • Anachronic Order: The songs on Remedy Lane are presented out of chronological order.
    • Entropia is the same due to an error in the booklet printing - the songs were meant to have markers to indicate where they fit in the chronology of events, but these were lost, leaving it a case of anybody's guess.
      • Daniel Gildenlöw himself remarked to this troper that he "could (put the songs in chronological order)" but only if he had the booklet in his hands and some time to study it.
  • Break-Up Song: Basically all of Remedy Lane, and several songs from their other albums.
  • Canis Latinicus: The song titles on "BE".
  • Childhood Friend Romance: The protagonist of Remedy Lane tries to resume one. It doesn't really work out for him.
  • Child Popstar: Daniel started the band when he was eleven.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Cribcaged", especially compared to most of their other songs which very rarely contain cursing.
  • Concept Album: All of them (with one exception - the Road Salt albums have been said to be concept albums, but they don't have a cohesive storyline like all the others).
    • Entropia deals with a family torn apart by war.
    • One Hour by the Concrete Lake is about a weapon manufacturer who realizes the ramifications of his job.
    • The Perfect Element is about two mentally disturbed people who fall in love with each other. It doesn't end well.
    • Remedy Lane is about the reawakening of a childhood romance, loosely based on events in Daniel's life.
    • "BE" is (mainly) about God becoming disappointed with his human creation and leaving them to fend for themselves.
    • Scarsick is a follow-up to The Perfect Element, and concentrates on the male protagonist from the original becoming disillusioned with modern life and celebrity culture.
    • In the Passing Light of Day is about the experiences and emotions that Gildenlow was going through during a year-long hospital stay, when a severe staph infection had formed a hole in his back that exposed his spine.
    • Panther is about how society at large views people with autism.
  • Creator Backlash: Daniel has reluctantly stated that One Hour by the Concrete Lake is his least favorite Pain of Salvation album.
  • Creator Breakdown: Quite a lot of Remedy Lane deals with Daniel's past. The most obvious is "A Trace of Blood", which is about Daniel's wife having a miscarriage.
  • Downer Ending: Both parts of The Perfect Element. Part I ends with He killing his mother, being rejected by She and considering suicide. Scarsick ups the ante by having it end with the implication that He has committed suicide.
  • Double Entendre: "Sleeping Under the Stars"
  • Driven to Suicide: "Rope Ends", and He at the end of Scarsick.
  • Epic Rocking: Unusually for a Progressive Metal band, they barely ever go over ten minutes, though they still do this all the time. Their longest song is "The Passing Light of Day" (off In the Passing Light of Day) at 15:31, followed by Panther closing track "Icon" (at 13:30) and "Inside Out" (off One Hour by the Concrete Lake) at 13:20.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Daniel is credited for playing "eggs" and "floors" in "BE".
  • From Bad to Worse: Both parts of The Perfect Element. Have some tissues ready.
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: Track five on their album Scarsick is called "Disco Queen". It's a bizarre 7/8 grooving Disco song. With falsetto vocals. Which go "You're my DISCO QUEEN! Let's Disco! Ooh-ooh oo-ee oo-ee, AHHHHH!" Although this is, of course, ming-mong Kryptonite, it's actually pretty good. They used it as an encore for the entire tour. It is extremely entertaining to watch the big, hairy, tattooed metalheads do the John Travolta-dance from Saturday Night Fever during said song.
  • Green Aesop: One Hour by the Concrete Lake.
  • Guyliner: Daniel in the video for "Linoleum".
    • Ragnar in most of recent videos and live performances.
  • Heroic BSoD: He, for the entirety of Scarsick.
  • Human Popsicle: Mr. Money turns himself into one in "BE". He wakes up having become immortal... but it's After the End and he is the last man alive.
  • I Am the Band: Daniel is very much this, although new vocalist and guitarist Ragnar Zolberg has been getting more attention and space in songwriting as of late.
  • Intercourse with You: "Sleeping Under the Stars". Their other songs about sex generally have a darker edge to them which disqualify them for this trope.
  • Jerkass: Gildenlow has gained a reputation over the years for his arrogance and abrasive personality.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: One Hour by the Concrete Lake, The Perfect Element, Part I, Remedy Lane, Scarsick, Road Salt One, In the Passing Light of Day, and Panther all close out with their longest tracks.
  • Metal Scream: Daniel gets some high-pitched ones in.
  • Mind Screw: The entire concept of "BE".
  • New Sound Album: Basically all of them.
    • Entropia had a very eclectic progressive metal sound with funk influences in some tracks.
    • One Hour by the Concrete Lake is somewhat more streamlined and has some slight industrial leanings.
    • The Perfect Element had a darker and more complex style of progressive metal, which was continued on Remedy Lane.
    • "BE" was the most experimental and conceptual album they had released; among much else, it contained a gospel track, folk songs, a ten-minute blues-rock song and "God's answering machine".
    • Scarsick had a more commercial, almost Nu Metal edge to it.
    • The Road Salt albums represent a general softening of the band's sound, sounding very much like 70's progressive rock and hard rock as opposed to metal. Or at least for the most part.
  • No Export for You: For a while, they refused to play in the U.S. as a means of protest against the Bush administration.
  • No Name Given: The protagonists of The Perfect Element are only referred to as "He" and "She".
  • The Pete Best: There were quite a few members who left the band before they recorded anything. There is a slight aversion, in that one of them, Gustaf Hielm, is now their touring bassist.
  • Physical God: Nauticus in "BE".
  • Piss-Take Rap: Used in "Spitfall" to comment on hip hop culture.
  • Precision F-Strike: Arguably all of Scarsick, given how profanity-laden it is compared to the band's previous output. However, there's also the extended version of the track "No Way" from Road Salt One - "There is no way that you can FUUUCK her like I can!"
  • Revolving Door Band: Daniel is the only consistent member. Though the lineup of Daniel, Johan Hallgren, Fredrik Hermansson, Johan Langell and Kristoffer Gildenlow did last for 9 years.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Mr. Money in "BE".
  • Signature Song: "Ashes"
  • Silly Love Songs: "This Heart of Mine (I Pledge)".
  • Spoken Word in Music: Several, but "Vocari Dei" is a very unusual example - fans from around the world sent in their messages to God, and the band edited them into a track.
  • Take That!: Scarsick is one big Take That! to modern popular culture and the Bush administration.
  • Unplugged Version: 12:5. A slightly unusual example, in that a lot of the songs were heavily rearranged instead of just being played acoustically.
    • A very clear example is the 12:5 version of "Ashes" - while it was a heavy, extremely emotional (and depressive) track, it has become a soft-spoken, optimistic, positively-charged ballad.