Pain Of Salvation - Panther - Inside Out Music 2020

When I heard PoS will release a new album I was very happy because the previous album “In The Passing Light of Day” was enjoyable and a returning to the “Remedy Lane” sound. Well, with the latest release Daniel Gildenlow will keep the prog-metal fans talking and arguing with pros and cons at least for few months. Starting with the subject, the difference between autist people (panthers) and the “normal” ones (dogs) and how a special child with special needs can adapt in the world that wasn’t meant for him or her in the first place. This is a deviation from the life-death theme on the previous albums.

Starting with the opening track’s riffs it is clear that Daniel changed again everything and the murky and dark “Accelerator” kicks you in the face. My reaction was “Wow, I just hope the other songs are in the same direction”. Not a chance. A linear album from PoS is not in the sight soon, so if you like challenges, Panther is the opus for you. The second track, “Unfuture” is a mixture of “what it would have been if” and “let’s try this” and though is a powerful track with a bit of headbanging-concert-like vibe, it fails in my opinion to bring up the force in D.G.’s voice. And the next one “Restless Boy” is another failure. It starts with a Nine Inch Nails industrial-electronic rhythm and continues with this dark, no hope in sight-ish atmosphere, but the whole riff/drums combination at the end cannot save a song which seems incomplete/unfinished.

But then, OMG, ladies and gents let’s hear a warm welcome and applause for the Swedish mastermind ! One of the best PoS songs ever in my humble opinion, “Wait” is wiping off the mediocracy of the previous two tracks with a haunting keyboard theme that followed me around for days. Like in a horror movie Daniel’s voice is waiting over the corner to grab you and the result is absolutely wonderful. “Keen To A Fault” is a lesson in 7/8 of what progressive metal is, and even it doesn’t raise to its predecessor it is a good track with the guitars being a little bit overrun in production by keyboards but with the total coming out as an outstanding song well placed in the middle of the album.

After an oriental-acoustic intro, “Fur” we are presented the next track, the title one. What should have been the cherry on the cake, “Panther” is ruined by Daniel’s rapping. Dude, you’re not Eminem. Not even Fred Durst. So just please do a favor to our ears and quit this BS before it’s too late. It’s too bad because the bridge and chorus are very good and the structure of the song is not bad in general. But too much is too much, even for a genius like DG. The next song, “Species” is a psychedelic song with a touch of Alice in Chains/Stone Temple Pilots and a verse I am totally in the same boat with PoS “Sometimes I hate my fucking species”, but again nothing to be remembered later.

As usual the album is closed by another masterpiece, the 13 minutes song “Icon” which reminds me on the rhythmic part of an album from the 90’s era, Tiamat’s Wildhoney. Keyboards are again in front, sound effects on, voice is at the highest level possible and if you think it’s too long, think again. I didn’t get bored, on contrary, through the song we are again brought in the “special” child’s life. Lyrics are again at the standard Daniel was using back in the days and believe me, even the album is not what I expected from PoS, “Icon” is bringing back the atmosphere of the golden Remedy Lane/The Perfect Element. And the Pink Floyd-ish solo is well placed and just before the haunting end loop with which they are saving a “long-time-to-be-debated” album.

8/10

Highlights : Accelerator/Wait/Keen To A Fault/Icon