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Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 27, 2012    
 
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Pain Of Salvation - Captain's Rest, Glasgow (UK) - 10th February 2012

Things weren’t looking good as we ventured downstairs into the distinctly tiny Captain’s Rest venue, to discover a stage lit by three lights - two red and one blue, while being greeted by “background” music so intense in volume that I thought we’d stumbled across a new version of drum and bass, simply called BASS.

The ‘Road Salt Theme’ heralded the arrival of Pain Of Salvation, although keyboard player Daniel Karlsson clonking his head off the venue’s ridiculously low ceiling made for a distinctly less than Rock ‘n’ Roll entrance. Unfortunately the sound in the hall (well, cupboard) hadn’t improved any, with bass and cymbals being the only instruments to really cut through, making ‘Softly She Cries’ almost indistinguishable. Things did improve vastly for the wonderful, beautiful ‘Ashes’, thankfully allowing this relatively new line-up of PoS to illustrate what a jaw dropping live force they already are.

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As the first date on the band’s European tour, band leader, singer and guitarist Daniel Gildenlow explained that it was in fact more like a final rehearsal - although with one notable exception, nobody in attendance could possibly have guessed so. He also went on to announce that tonight was a night of firsts for the band. It was their first ever headline show in Scotland and also the first time that Pain of Salvation had ever played on a stage so utterly miniscule (Leo Margarit’s punished drums took up literally half the space available!). Not that any of this seemed to bother the quintet, with Gildenlow giving a master-class in guitar and crazed vocals, while new axe-master Ragnar Z Solberg has already fitted into the band perfectly, adding, along with the rest of the band, some sublime backing vocals. However it was his scintillating fret-work that really impressed. Gustaf Hielm, who recently returned to the band, offered up superb, expansive bass lines, while ex-bass player and now current keyboard whizz Karlsson added dextrous, tasteful, yet expansive playing to an already potent mix.

The set was strongly focused on the ‘Road Salt 1’ & ‘2’, releases as well as ‘The Perfect Element Pt1’, with ‘1979’ being a glorious highlight. However we were also treated to first ever live renditions of ‘Stress’ from the ‘Entropia’ album and ‘Enter Rain’ from ‘Scarsick’, the latter of which caused the “notable exception” I mentioned earlier, when Gildenlow needed three attempts to remember the words to the fourth verse (although that didn’t stop it being the best song of the night), before the set closed with another debut-song performance, this time in the shape of ‘Sisters’. They may have tested their fan’s patience with some of their releases, but live Pain Of Salvation hit the spot with every song, delighting, amazing and captivating in equal measure. The venue may have sucked, the sound man may well have been cloth eared, but Pain Of Salvation were simply superb! Miss them at your peril!

Steven Reid

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