Pain of Salvation

Pain of Salvation
STYLE: ORIGIN: SwedenFORMED: 1984LABEL: InsideOut Records
  • Daniel Gildenlöw – lead vocals, guitars, lute, mandolin, bass, keyboards, piano, sampling, drums, percussion
  • Gustaf Hielm – bass guitar, double bass, vocals
  • Johan Hallgren – guitar, vocals, mandolin
  • Léo Margarit – drums, vocals, percussion, mandolin
  • Daniel "D2" Karlsson – keyboards, percussion, backing vocals

Overview of Pain of Salvation

Pain of Salvation has been different from its inception. “I wanted a name that meant something, a name that was more than a cool expression. For me, Pain of Salvation has the meaning of balance.” Daniel Gildenlöw’s words strike true for more than just the name of this renowned progressive metal band. Pain of Salvation has always been about more than just music; more than just the pleasure of the beat and groove. Their music has always been more about raw human experiences, riveting tumultuous stories, and shades of good and evil. These things are cloaked in dark, progressive polyrhythms and challenging syncopations, brilliantly darkened keys, percussive muscle, and conceptual album structures. The band has a sound that is completely and uniquely their own; a recipe that is recognizable from the very first note: a big serving of enigmatic metal, a side of alternative, a dash or two of progressive rock, and lyrics that will rip your heart from your chest.


Established in 1984 by the only remaining original member, Daniel Gildenlöw (lead vocals, lead guitar); Pain of Salvation is known far and wide as one of the most vital bands in the resurgence of progressive music. Boasting incredible musicianship, a wide variety of influences, and a darkly poetic approach; Pain of Salvation has a reputation for being unpredictable, outside the box, and willing to experiment with styles, and possibly even the hearts of fans. Having gone through some line-up changes through the years, for the past 4 years the band consists of Ragnar Zolberg (lead guitar, lead vocals), Léo Margarit (drums, vocals), Daniel Karlsson (keyboards, vocals), and Gustaf Hielm (bass, vocals).

Each and every release from the band has followed the same philosophy as their name: philosophical balance and gut-wrenching human experience.


The band’s first studio album “Entropia” was released in 1997 to the perked ears of many, but sophomore album “One Hour by the Concrete Lake” in 1998 was the record that really garnered the attention of the progressive metal community. This is the album that sparked the relationship between Pain of Salvation and InsideOutMusic, culminating in the band’s first direct release with the label in 2000, “The Perfect Element, Part 1”. The band is still with InsideOutMusic to this day.

From there, Pain of Salvation only grew bigger and more popular on the international stage. Released in 2002, “Remedy Lane” is perhaps the definitive album from the band, hailed as an absolute masterpiece by many. The album turned the personal level up to ten with an incredible look at grief and ruin, all in the guise of a damaged sexual affair. Switching gears in 2004, however, the band stepped outside the ordinary and released what is still one of their most controversial albums, “BE”. Examining the human experience in relation to God and our tendency towards ruin and destruction, the album was mathematically ambitious, leaned towards progressive rock, and contained almost none of the metal for which the band was known. The album was initially performed live in its entirety before the official studio album released.

Additionally, it was released as an ethereal and captivating live experience, which is still one of the most legendary progressive metal DVDs to this day. The last decade has seen Pain of Salvation in a very busy schedule; whether touring, releasing albums and live DVDs, or simply taking a bit of a break due to band members parting ways. They released the heavier “Scarsick” in 2007 to the praises of the progressive community, but decided to stretch themselves for the next two releases.

“Road Salt”

The band offered “Road Salt One” in 2010 and “Road Salt Two” in 2011, escaping their metal roots to more of a hard rock or progressive rock bent. Softer, folksier, and even a bit stranger, the successful “Road Salt” albums showed the band’s passionate desire to think outside the box and to try new things. Fans that are willing to stretch their own boundaries have found Pain of Salvation to assist in music maturation, and stretch one must in order to keep up with this band.

“Road Salt Two” was the last true studio album from the band. Outside of some EPs and an acoustic album of reimagined tracks and covers called “Falling Home” in 2014, the world has been left to wonder what is next for this dynamic, aspiring leader in progressive music. The community would never be the same without the band that helped carry the torch of progressive music through the 90’s and beyond. Pain of Salvation has answered that call with two new releases. Their new offering in July 2016 was an updated version of their classic album “Remedy Lane”. This time “Re:mixed” and “Re:lived”, denoting the remix of the original album and then a very special full-album live set from ProgPower USA 2014.

“In the Passing Light of Day”

The band has revealed their latest album “In the Passing Light of Day” to the world in January 2017, and its creation and atmosphere is inextricably linked to the near fatal illness that Daniel spent much of the first half of 2014 recovering from. He comments: “I came there with the first snow, and when I left it was almost summer. When I got out, I had to learn how to walk stairs. I did NOT, however, learn that I need to spend more time with my family. I did NOT learn that I should spend less time of my life worrying and stressing. I did NOT learn that life is precious and every second of it counts. No, I did not learn those things – simply because I already knew them by heart. We all do. Our priorities do not change in the face of death, they just intensify. We get reminded of them. Suddenly, painfully, honestly, we remember how to live.”

As a result, the new studio album, which was produced by Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah, Devin Townsend) at a.o. Dugout Studio and co-produced by Daniel Gildenlöw & Ragnar Zolberg, is an altogether darker and impassioned journey, and certainly one of the most ferocious collections of songs that have born the Pain of Salvation name to this day. Taking the hospital bed as a narrative hub, the lyrical and musical themes touch on all the conflicting feelings that run through a person’s mind when presented with the prospect of death and the passing of life. Daniel continues: “What started off as an annoying infection has, in just hours, suddenly pivoted into the very real possibility of my actual dying.” That’s not to say however that all this record presents is blackness. “This album also shows the beauty of the transition, of the inevitable. And of the hope of a tomorrow, the hope of change, no matter how frail and naive that hope may be.” In the past 6 years since the release of ‘Road Salt Two’, fans hope for a new Pain of Salvation has truly been tested.

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PANTHER / 2020

  • Album Info
  • 2020
  • InsideOutMusic

“PANTHER” is the eleventh album by the Swedish-progressive band Pain of Salvation.

“PANTHER”, the follow-up release to 2017’s “In The Passing Light Of Day” album, was recorded, mixed and produced by Daniel Gildenlöw with Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah, Devin Townsend) and comes with a comprehensive artwork-theme with illustrations made by André Meister.

“This album is for you, or someone you know.

It is for the restless, the shy, the motormouths, the passionate, the ones who go far beyond the point of reason for what you believe in, the outsiders, the diagnosed, the medicated, the hungry, the sad, the ones walking around daily trying to understand how to fit in with this species, with this era.

It’s for everyone who always had problems sitting still in the classroom, or who never really knew how to speak up. The daydreamers, the relentlessly curious, the comedians, the unexplainably angry.

This is your album. Because you, my friend, are a panther. And you are a valued member of the Full Throttle Tribe. Ladies and gentlemen, rev your engines, the world is about to get panthered!”

Taken from:

“The making of ‘PANTHER’ has taken over 2 years. I have felt the need to push boundaries, both musically and sonically. Approaching the music from more diverse angles, yet without losing the core identity of the band. Lyrically it coincidently fits more than ever into current times. When I look at the great artwork drawings that went into the concept, I can only say that I am extremely happy how everything turned out. I can’t wait to share this album with everybody.”
-Daniel Gildenlöw
6. FUR

In The Passing Light Of Day / 2017

In the Passing Light of Day
  • Album Info
  • 2017
  • InsideOut

1. On A Tuesday
2. Tongue Of God
3. Meaningless
4. Silent Gold
5. Full Throttle Tribe
6. Reasons
7. Angels of Broken Things
8. The Taming Of A Beast
9. If This Is The End
10. The Passing Light of Day

In the Passing Light of Day is the tenth studio album by Swedish band Pain of Salvation and was released on 13 January 2017 by InsideOut. The album was conceived in 2014 when bandleader Daniel Gildenlöw contracted a life threatening flesh eating bacteria. Hospitalized in Uppsala, Sweden, he was forced to sit out of Transatlantic’s KaLIVEoscope tour. While receiving treatment Gildenlöw wrote the songs that became the basic premise of the album, including the 15 minute title track. A concept album like every other by the band, the lyrics focus on mortality, death and the joys and angers of life.

Falling Home / 2014

Falling Home
  • Album Info
  • 2014
  • InsideOut

1. Stress
2. Linoleum
3. To The Shoreline
4. Holy Diver (Dio)
5. 1979
6. Chain Sling
7. Perfect Day (Lou Reed)
8. Mrs. Modern Mother Mary
9. Flame To The Moth
10. Spitfall
11. Falling Home (Gildenlöw/Zolberg)

Falling Home is the ninth studio album by Swedish band Pain of Salvation, released on November 10, 2014, by InsideOut. Falling Home is an acoustic album, featuring acoustic versions of previous work, covers of Dio and Lou Reed and the self-titled track.

Road Salt Two / 2011

Road Salt Two
  • Album Info
  • 2011
  • InsideOut

1. Road Salt Theme
2. Softly She Cries
3. Conditioned
4. Healing Now
5. To The Shoreline
6. Eleven
7. 1979
8. The Deeper Cut
9. Mortar Grind
10. Through The Distance
11. The Physics Of Gridlock
12. Ending Credits

Road Salt Two is the eighth studio album by Swedish band Pain of Salvation, released on 26 September 2011, by InsideOut. Around the inside lips of the back cover is the following sentence: “This album, however, is NOT a part of The Perfect Element concept…but for what it’s worth, it easily COULD have been, right? Right?”

Road Salt One / 2010

Road Salt One
  • Album Info
  • 2010
  • InsideOut

1. No Way
2. She Likes To Hide
3. Sisters
4. Of Dust
5. Tell Me You Don’t Know
6. Sleeping Under the Stars
7. Darkness Of Mine
8. Linoleum
9. Curiosity
10. Where It Hurts
11. Road Salt
12. Innocence

Road Salt One is the seventh studio album by Swedish band Pain of Salvation, released 17 May 2010 on InsideOut. While a concept album in keeping with all previous Pain of Salvation albums, the album was more song-oriented and streamlined in its production values.

Daniel Gildenlöw has described the album in interviews as sounding more “jam oriented” with tracks that sound like they have been “recorded live in the rehearsal room”. He indicated that the intent of the album was to go “back to letting the song be the focal point” by having the album feature “just us. Playing a song meant to touch your heart. Stripped down. Naked. Brave. Old school”.

Gildenlöw described the concept of Road Salt One as being many parallel stories:

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 the different things. That’s where everything connects.[2] Gildenlöw has also compared the album’s plot to the film Magnolia in interviews.

Around the inside lips of the back cover is the following sentence: “This album, however, is NOT a part of The Perfect Element concept…but for what it’s worth, it easily COULD have been, right? Right?”

Scarsick / 2007

  • Album Info
  • 2007
  • InsideOut Music

1. Scarsick
2. Spitfall
3. Cribcaged
4. America
5. Disco Queen
6. Kingdom Of Loss
7. Mrs. Modern Mother Mary
8. Idiocracy
9. Flame to the Moth
10. Enter Rain

Scarsick is the sixth studio album by Swedish progressive metal band Pain of Salvation, released on 22 January 2007. It is a concept album focusing on contemporary issues including capitalism, materialism, and consumerism. Scarsick is the last album to feature Johan Langell on drums.

According to Daniel Gildenlöw, “Scarsick is much more band oriented and down to the core. Threatening and disturbing”.
The liner notes reveal that Scarsick is actually The Perfect Element, part II – “he”. The album is divided into two chapters: side A and side B.

Scarsick is the second part of a planned, three-piece concept and the follow-up to The Perfect Element, part I. It continues the story of the male character from the latter album. Unlike its predecessor, Scarsick is a politically charged social commentary, and deals with a number of topics, including:

Frustration (with society in general, and most of the things listed below)
Consumer culture
American imperialism
Idolization of celebrities
Collectivist nature of religion
Decline of civilization

Daniel Gildenlow has revealed in interviews that the life of “He” is an allegory for all of mankind; that in him we see the problems of society on an intimate, personal level. Thus as The Perfect Element, part I deals with the subject of dysfunction in a psychological context that deals with the individual, Scarsick deals with them in a sociological sense and explores the relationship between the two. Just as the final song on the first part of the concept (“The Perfect Element”) witnesses the falling of “He” on a mental level, the final song on Scarsick (“Enter Rain”) sees him fall on a physical level.

Be / 2004

  • Album Info
  • 2004
  • InsideOut Music

1. Animae Partus
2. Deus Nova
3. Imago
4. Pluvius Aestivus
5. Lilium Cruentus
6. Nauticus
7. Dea Pecuniae
8. Vocari Dei
9. Diffidentia
10. Nihil Morari
11. Laterticius Valette
12. Omni
13. Iter Impius
14. Martius/Nauticus II
15. Animae Partus II

BE is Pain of Salvation’s fifth studio album, released by InsideOutMusic in September 2004. It is a concept album focusing on the existence of God and humankind. Along with the band it features a nine-part orchestra, The Orchestra of Eternity, which features prominently throughout the album. This is the last album to feature Kristoffer Gildenlöw on bass. The album is the first Pain of Salvation album to be divided into more than three chapters.

The band performed it live as a rock opera. It was released as “BE” (Original Stage Production).

BE attempts to explore the many facets of human existence. It begins with the narration of Animae, someone or something who/that has existed for as long as he/she/it can remember and contemplates the nature of his/her/its existence and then begins a journey of understanding with the words: “I will call myself GOD and I will spend the rest of forever trying to figure out who I am”. The story continues from there. The characters that appear and disappear throughout the story are as follows:

Animae: Animae is the album’s representation of God, or a Godhead.
Nauticus: Nauticus is the name of a fictional space probe that is, according to the album, the most intelligent space probe ever to be created. In reference to the marine ‘neighborhood’, Nauticus ‘drifts’ throughout space, searching for answers to save Earth from itself.
Imago: Imago is the image of humanity in its most natural form. Combined, Imago is the reflection of Animae.
Dea Pecuniae: Dea Pecuniae can be seen as a feminine version of Mr. Money, and the Eve of humanity’s dark side. In a way, she represents sin.
Mr. Money: Mr. Money is the main character of the story; a man with the most wealth on Earth, who spends most of it on cryogenics in order to fulfill his wish – to be frozen, and not to be awakened until he is made immortal. He represents the darker side of humanity, being the Adam for Dea Pecuniae.
The sound and style are somewhat more varied than previous Pain of Salvation albums, but at the same time, calling upon those previous albums as influences. The album includes: narrative passages; a folk-like song; a gospel-prayer-like song; a church-hymn-like song; progressive metal songs; a classical piano/strings piece; a conversation with a radio in the background; news readings; and even a song that would not be out of place in a Broadway musical. Another song consists entirely of voice messages to be left on “God’s answering machine”. To approach this song, the band asks the subscribers of their newsletter to call a certain phone number and say what ever they would want to say to God.

In writing “BE”, Daniel Gildenlöw used many resources for information, insights and inspiration.

Remedy Lane / 2002

Remedy Lane
  • Album Info
  • 2002
  • InsideOut Music

1. Of Two Beginnings
2. Ending Theme
3. Fandango
4. A Trace Of Blood
5. This Heart of Mine (I Pledge)
6. Undertow
7. Rope Ends
8. Chain Sling
9. Dryad of the Woods
10. Remedy Lane
11. Waking Every God
12. Second Love
13. Beyond the Pale

Remedy Lane is the fourth album by Swedish progressive rock band Pain of Salvation, released in Spring 2002. It is a concept albumfocusing on a character’s search for self-discovery. It was described by Allmusic as Pain of Salvation’s breakthrough album.

While both Remedy Lane and Pain of Salvation’s second album, One Hour by the Concrete Lake, feature a protagonist searching for self-discovery, Remedy Lane addresses a wider variety of themes, including love, loss, lust, sex and self-understanding. The album, written by guitarist and vocalist Daniel Gildenlöw, is semi-autobiographical in nature. The liner notes include poems and photos related to the concept as well as date markings to signify the chronological order of the album. Gildenlöw has said that the inspiration for Remedy Lane was an era of his life in which he wished to understand the nature of freedom.

The album’s production is similar to its predecessor, The Perfect Element, part I. While its mood is dark, there are some moments of happiness.

The Perfect Element Part I / 2000

The Perfect Element Part I
  • Album Info
  • 2000
  • InsideOut Music

1. Used
2. In The Flesh
3. Ashes
4. Morning On Earth
5. Idioglossia
6. Her Voices
7. Dedication
8. King Of Loss
9. Reconciliation
10. Song For The Innocent
11. Falling
12. The Perfect Element
13. Epilogue (Japanese Bonus Track)

The Perfect Element, Part I is Pain of Salvation’s third studio album, released in October 2000. It is a concept album that focuses on the forming of the individual, particularly on the events from one’s childhood and adolescence. It is the first segment of a planned three-part concept. The Perfect Element, Part II was released in 2007 under the title Scarsick.

“The album is in a way a blend of the two earlier albums, with the groove and originality of Entropia and the focus, thoroughness and production of One Hour by the Concrete Lake. However, it will be quite unique as an album.”

The Perfect Element, Part I is the first part of a planned, two-piece concept, and is divided into three chapters, each containing four tracks.

Part one of the concept is a story human development, which focuses specifically on the progression from childhood to adolescence. It contains many themes within its context; which include but are not limited to:

  • Child abuse (sexual and physical)
  • Sexuality
  • Tragedy
  • Drug abuse
  • Love
  • Pain
  • Anger
  • Loss (of life and innocence, among other things)
  • Shame
  • Regret
  • Despair
  • Inner struggles

All these themes are dealt with as the story explores the lives of two characters, one male and one female (known commonly as “He” and “She”) who are broken, dysfunctional people. They meet in the events of the song “Ashes” after the first two songs of the album present us with a depiction of their troubled pasts (“Used” for “He” and in “In the Flesh” for “She”). After that introduction, the concept focuses on the inner struggles and feelings of the characters after the events on “Ashes”, and we also have some memory flashes, telling us more about their pasts and revealing what events in their lives caused them to become what they are, finally ending with the “falling” of He on the last song, “The Perfect Element”.

One Hour By The Concrete Lake / 1998

One Hour By The Concrete Lake
  • Album Info
  • 1998
  • Avalon (later InsideOutMusic)

1. Spirit Of The Land
2. Inside
3. The Big Machine
4. New Year’s Eve
5. Handful Of Nothing
6. Water
7. Home
8. Black Hills
9. Pilgrim
10. Shore Serenity
11. Inside Out

One Hour by the Concrete Lake is Pain of Salvation’s second studio album. It is a concept album focusing on the issues of nuclear power and waste, displacement of indigenous peoples, the firearm industry, and human discovery.

One Hour by the Concrete Lake was first released by Avalon Records in Japan in July 1998. It was later released in Europe in January 1999 on InsideOut, in the USA in November 1999 on InsideOut America and in South America in November 1999 on Hellion.

One Hour by the Concrete Lake takes a more thorough and factual approach to its concept than its predecessor, Entropia. A number of facts are given in the album booklet, with a list of sources provided at the end. The chronological order of songs is the same as the track order (as opposed to Entropia) and a number of the events and places are real. For example, the Black Hills in North America and Lake Karachay in the former USSR. The sound is generally darker and more subdued than Entropia, with a harsh, industrial feel to the guitar tones.

Daniel Gildenlöw has personally, though reluctantly, stated that Concrete Lake is his least favorite Pain of Salvation album.

One Hour by the Concrete Lake follows the fictional tale of a man that works in the weapons industry. He begins to have doubts about the morality of his occupation, and realizes that he is just part of a big “machine” that controls his life. He makes a New Year’s resolution to discover what consequences his life and his work have on other parts of the world, and decides to break free of the machine.

In the second chapter, he travels around the world to many different places and sees what effects his weapons are actually having. He remembers being told that the weapons he helped to make would save human lives and preserve the peace, yet all he sees are weapons being used by people to kill other people—which is their designed purpose. Furthermore, he finds native people (specifically, Native American Indians) struggling to reclaim their sacred land from the colonizing white man, who have also taken uranium from the ground and dumped radioactive waste into the local rivers.

In the third chapter, he arrives at shores of Lake Karachay (in Kyshtym in the former USSR). There, so much nuclear waste had been dumped over the past fifty years that if one stood by the shore for one hour, the exposure to radiation would be such that death from physical injuries would inevitably occur within two weeks. Concrete blocks have been placed in the lake, falling to the bottom to help compress sediments down and prevent them from shifting. Still it would take tens of thousands of years for the deleterious effects of the radiation to subside. Unfortunately, after ten years, the concrete had already begun to crack and split open. The water in the lake has been decreasing steadily over the years and will eventually leave a dry lake bed. In addition, the lake connects to many underground rivers that go out to sea.

The man’s quest to leave the machine ends as he realizes that it is impossible for anyone to truly leave the machine. Outside one machine there are merely more machines. However, he also realizes that the “machine” is only made of its “wheels,” so the only thing he can do is choose which machine he wants to be part of and take some responsibility for its direction.

The album ends with the idea that anyone could easily come to understand the significance and immorality of the issues raised in the album; it would only require them to stand for one hour by the concrete lake.

Entropia / 1997

  • Album Info
  • 1997
  • Avalon (later InsideOutMusic)

1. ! (Foreword)
2. Welcome to Entropia
3. Winning A War
4. People Passing By
5. Oblivion Ocean
6. Stress
7. Revival
8. Void Of Her
9. To The End
10. Circles
11. Nightmist
12. Plains Of Dawn
13. Leaving Entropia (Epilogue)

Entropia is Pain of Salvation’s first studio album. It is a concept album concerning the story of a family in a fictional society that is torn apart by a war. The title is a portmanteau of Entropy (from thermodynamics, the measure of disorder present in a system), and Utopia (the ideal society). This is the only album to feature Daniel Magdic on guitar.

Entropia was first released by the Japanese company Marquee on their Avalon label in August 1997. Following favourable reviews and positive fan reactions in the progressive rock/metal world, Marquee decided to fly Daniel over to Tokyo a week in October 1997 to promote the album. While in Tokyo, Daniel featured in various TV and radio shows, did interviews for the Japanese metal press, and performed in selected record stores. Around this time, purchasing albums through online record stores was commonplace, and fans from around the world began to do so with Entropia.

It was subsequently released in Romania (1998 on Rocris Discs), in Europe (September 1999 on InsideOut Music), in South America (September 1999 on Hellion), and in the USA (2000 on InsideOut America). The release of an album by different labels in different countries is characteristic of an emerging band’s first album, and their lack of a long-term contract with a major record label.

“This album is a very complex concept that is pretty hard to grasp. It is about a family in a war situation, about a father that fails to protect his family, about a child who needs a father and not a soldier, about a society that kills and excludes and then takes its hand away from the remains in shock of what it has become. It is about a world I have chosen to call Entropia, which is a combination of the two words “Entropy” and “Utopia”. Entropia is suspiciously similar to our world.”

— Daniel Gildenlöw

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