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Andy Rawll
3rd May 2017

pain of salvation
Pain Of Salvation just before the line-up change...

Icelandic musician Ragnar Zolberg has confirmed on social media that he has left popular Swedish prog Metal band Pain Of Salvation by mutual consent. This was confirmed by band leader Daniel Gildenlow on the Pain Of Salvation Facebook page.

Zolberg joined the band in 2012, following the departure of original guitarist Johan Hallgren for family reasons. His charismatic stage presence, guitar skills and vocal range were widely appreciated.

In 2014, when Daniel's health was severely compromised by a potentially life threatening infection, Ragnar stood-in as lead vocalist at the Prog Nation at Sea festival. Most significantly, he co-wrote the music for the recent 'In The Passing Light Of Day' album that many recognise as a strong return to form following a series of lack-lustre releases.

The extent of his contribution is apparent from the melodic themes on songs like 'On A Tuesday' and 'Meaningless', which appear fully formed on early versions with his previous band. When combined with Daniel's haunting lyrics, the expert arrangements and exquisite performances from the band, it's no surprise that the album has garnered such acclaim.

As ever, there are two sides to the story and sadly, it appears that the root cause relates to Ragnar's dissatisfaction with the artistic and financial recognition of his work with the band. This is also a reflection of the harsh commercial realities of the Metal scene, where even successful bands struggle to break even after the costs of recording and touring are taken into consideration.

It would be a great shame if the great momentum, achieved by the band with the new album and scintillating recent live performances, cannot be maintained.

Johan Hallgren has agreed to rejoin the band after a five year absence. Not only does this allow the band to complete forthcoming tour dates, it also stabilises the line-up. However, during Hallgren's previous tenure, Daniel was the sole songwriter on the large majority of albums like 'Remedy Lane'.

It remains to be seen whether the lack of a writing partner will spur Daniel on to further creative highs or whether he need to seek contributors from outside the band to ensure strong follow-up to 'In The Passing Light Of Day'. What we do know, from his brush with death in 2014, is that Daniel is a fighter and a survivor and will take the band forward, whatever the adversity.

As for Ragnar, the profile and respect of his musical gifts that he gained during his time with the band are invaluable. As a result, many will be looking forward to whatever project he embarks upon during the next phase in his career.


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