Pain of Salvation - Panther (2020)Release ID: 23267
This long running Swedish Prog Metal band has had some pretty incredible highs and some very forgettable lows. Pain of Salvation began in the 1980s and their initial output wasn’t much to write home about. Then the turn of the millennium hit and the band found new life with albums such as The Perfect Element I and Remedy Lane. Unfortunately, this band has returned back into safe territory since Road Salt One. And the band has begun incorporating djent tendencies that are all groove and no substance.
Their most recent album In the Passing Light of Day was a consistent album, but beyond a couple of decent singles, I found very little memorable about the album, even despite being overly generous three years ago. And now we have PANTHER, a more consistent album than In the Passing Light of Day, but less interesting.
For starters, since the band is loosely affiliated with Alternative Metal, I have a feeling that Pain of Salvation have become very tentative with their progressive tendencies in recent years. Beyond some odd time signatures and extended song structures, PANTHER does not stick out all that much. Sure, songs such as “UNFUTURE”, “WAIT”, “KEEN TO A FAULT” and “ICON” sound really nice, but what makes them stand out in comparison to the rest of Pain of Salvation’s discography?
The tracks that do stand out though are “RESTLESS BOY” and “PANTHER”. Unfortunately that is not a good thing. These are the worst tunes on the album as the former is the most blatant in its djent influence, and the later has rap verses that are poorly delivered and almost cringe-worthy in execution. They also have electronic elements as well and they sound forced in to create a more unique Pain of Salvation experience. I think that the album has some decent electronic elements, but they are few and far between.
Overall, I’m surprised by this new Pain of Salvation album. I wanted to like it more than I do, but Pain of Salvation is much less experimental than this album would suggest. And being accessible is not the problem; this could have worked.But I lose it with the faux rapping, djent breakdowns, and scattered production that has been consistent in Pain of Salvation albums for the last ten years.