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Label: InsideOut Music

Date: August 28th, 2020

Knowing my musical preferences, this could end up a regular spit fest. But, since it is almost a profanity to speak ill of the fames Swedes, I should note that I will not. Imagine my surprise upon learning that Pain of Salvation has found a way to make their music quite appealing to me. However, it did come at a cost of shifting their sound hard aboard.

Primarily, ever since the opening track there is a noticeable amount of electronics involved. The “Accelerator” is swarming with it, but it tones down as we progress (pun intended) through the record, only to violently erupt in the title track, making it a nu metal worship. Still, a tad of Pain of Salvation was maintained in there too.

Along the similar lines, there’s a lot of prevalent US alternative rock or metal influences too. Some late grunge flows in and out occasionally. Staind or Creed, for instance. Disturbed also finds a way out of the speakers.

However, the point of triumph for “Panther” is that Pain of Salvation has managed to make the album sound like their own. They have apparently just used a different formula for achieving their goal, but they still achieved it. The record remains a progressive metal one. There’s a whole lot of musicianship magic waiting to be found. There’s no real need to stress out how good musicians are actually behind Pain of Salvation. Furthermore, they are quite good at songwriting, so that there is a definite flow to “Panther”. It is not easy to swallow, but once you do, you should get a warm feeling inside. Though the topics covered must leave a bone stuck in your throat. Melancholia that surrounds the album is all-consuming. Almost doom-like lyrics of sorrow, feelings of not belonging to the world we found ourselves in, ever-present sense of change for the worse and somewhat claustrophobic view of our surroundings, paint the record. Still, there is a light in the pitch-black “Panther”. A sort of optimism that gives a lighter shade to the whole.

The aura of the record itself is the crucial segment that makes “Panther” an album worth your while. I’m sure fans of progressive rock or metal are not too interested in memorable radio hits. So they won’t have any here. Yet, the things that make a progressive record stand its ground are all here. Hence, this is another strong outing for Pain of Salvation, keeping their reputation of one of the originators of the genre. Perhaps a bit different (or should I say upgraded), but still on the front row of the entire genre.

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