Pain of Salvation at Scout Bar, Houston, 2/14/2017

When my fiance and I first started dating, we came up with this question game in an attempt to get to know each other.  One of the questions that came up was, “What band that you haven’t had the chance to see perform live would you like to see?”  My answer was Pain of Salvation.

I have been a been fan of these guys since I first heard the album The Perfect Element, Part I, way back in the year 2000.  They were a perfect progressive metal machine.  Each album they release is something unique all to itself.  They never repeat themselves musically and lyrically, they have put out some of the most emotionally bare and philosophically deep songs produced in the metal realm.  They are just one of the top notch bands going.

Sadly, they just don’t tour the States very much.  They have played the Prog Power fest in Atlanta a couple of times and have had a couple of limited runs in connection with those appearances, but I was never in a position to make an extended road trip to see them play.  Finally, with the release of their new album In the Passing Light of Day earlier this year, they announced another small tour of the States and actually set some dates in Texas.  I managed to get time off from work to make the drive to Houston to finally see them do their thing live.

The only negative thing I can say about this show is that three members of the core of the band, guitarist Johan Hallgren, drummer Johan Langell and keyboardist Fredrik Hermansson, all left the band within the past few years.  All three of these guys were instrumental to the classic Pain of Salvation sound.  The only founding member remaining is vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter, Daniel Gildenlow.  It was just a little bittersweet not being able to see the “classic” version of the band.  The members that he has brought on to fill out the current Pain of Salvation lineup were all capable musicians, but it did feel as though I was seeing a bit of an imitation of the actual band.

As far as the show itself, it was pretty cool.  The setlist focused primarily on the latest album with a sprinkling of classics culled primarily from the Remedy Lane and The Perfect Element albums.  The club maybe had around 100 people at most, so it was an intimate show.  The sound was great and the songs came across very well in the live setting.

So, I can take these guys off of the list.  I think next up on the list of bands I’ve never seen live has to be Amorphis.  And those dudes are coming to San Antonio in April.

Here are some snippets of songs from the show.

A Trace of Blood

Linoleum

Beyond the Pale

Meaningless

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