Pain Of Salvation - Setting Straight The Periodic Table
by Martin Popoff

Headlining Chicago's Prog Power Festival on February 24th, winning seven awards at the prestigious, high traffic Perpetual Motion progressive rock discussion site (including best vocalist and best song) these are just a couple of clues that Sweden's Pain Of Salvation, and their third album The Perfect Element, are together rewriting the rules of prog, simply by throwing out all the rules and letting fly with cross-genre tactics that are leaving their cohorts in the proverbial dust.

The Perfect Element (following '97's Entropia and '98's One Hour By The Concrete Lake) has been hailed as a masterpiece of the genre, a new beacon of virtuoso accomplishment. It is indeed an imposing work, both lyrically and musically, and is the result of a long, exploratory eleven weeks in the studio. It is elaborately conceptual and a musical tangle of incredible width and breadth (think Dream Theater bombarded with Marillion, Faith No More, and a jazzy version of Yngwie), a stylistic conundrum which quite logically falls out of the band's no-holds-barred writing process.

Vocalist Daniel Gildenlow underscores this healthy emphasis on unbridled creativity. "What people usually tell us is that we have a really good mix between emotion and technique," Daniel answers when asked to define the band's particularly challenging, dense form of progressive metal. "I don't know, people tend to think that the progressive metal genre is more about technique. I'm really not listening to much progressive metal, to be honest (laughs). But I think we are progressive in the sense that we are not afraid to try on different musical styles, and not just for the sake of it. If I get an idea, if I make a song, and suddenly I just have this really strange idea about how to continue it, I think many people would think, 'no, I don't think this would fit our particular genre very well.' I try not to think that way. I mean, I'm not trying to have weird ideas. I'm not trying to surprise everybody all the time. I just think to have a verse then a chorus then a huge, fast guitar solo, we're not into that. Let's just say the music has a will of its own and I'm trying to listen to it and smoothly arrange it and put it in position."

Pain Of Salvation - Setting Straight The Periodic Table Page 2