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Pain Of Salvation

Progressive Metal

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Pain Of Salvation Panther album cover
3.68 | 217 ratings | 11 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Accelerator (5:31)
2. Unfuture (6:46)
3. Restless Boy (3:34)
4. Wait (7:05)
5. Keen to a Fault (6:01)
6. Fur (1:34)
7. Panther (4:12)
8. Species (5:18) *
9. Icon (13:31) *

Total Time 53:32

* on CD & digital editions only, not on LP

Limited mediabook edition bonus CD:
1. Panther (demo) (4:09)
2. Keen to a Fault (demo) (5:31)
3. Fifi Gruffi (3:32)
4. Unforever (2:27)

Total Time 15:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Daniel Gildenl÷w / lead vocals, guitars, drums (2 & bonus 1), basses, pianos, keyboards, cellos, banjos, percussion, noises, programming
- Johan Hallgren / guitars, vocals
- Daniel Karlsson / keyboards, guitars, vocals
- Gustaf Hielm / bass, vocals
- LÚo Margarit / drums (all tracks except 2 & bonus 1), vocals

Releases information

Label: Inside Out
Formats: CD, double LP with CD, limited 2CD mediabook edition, digital
August 28, 2020

Thanks to projeKct for the addition
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PAIN OF SALVATION Panther ratings distribution

(217 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

PAIN OF SALVATION Panther reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by JJLehto
4 stars Perhaps the most jarring and unusual album yet from this band's eclectic discography, but it works.

Pain of Salvation is no stranger to making changes in musical direction and is seemingly undeterred by fan opinion, though I would argue all their post Remedy Lane output while eclectic is still rock based. Not all of these albums have been as successful as others the band deserves credit for going there. After a partial return to their original form with "In the Passing Light of Day" Pain of Salvation has done it again: they pulled the rug out from under us. "Panther" is their most unusual work yet however. Unlike all their prior rock based albums, "Panther" takes a turn in the electronic direction. Given this comes directly after the bands return to heavy, more aggressive metal that had so many long turned off fans almost excited again, this truly is a bold effort.

When I first listened to this album I was bewildered. It's light on the rock, heavy on the electronics. On some songs I was struggling to tell if guitar was even present! When it was there, it was often simply just another sound, a piece of the soundscape. The drums are fine, but that's it...just fine, certainly nothing spectacular. It was an electronic and Daniel driven effort. It was weird and jarring, but not terrible upon first listen. Daniel's vocals are superb, as would be expected. There were some cool riffs and melodies, and a few songs that really struck me even upon first listen.

After giving "Panther" some time and a few spins, I can say it's a pretty good album. The music is different, no doubt there, and it may take some getting used to but it's really quite solid. The soundscape that is created is quite rich, and don't be fooled by my use of electronic. This is not some energetic upbeat album you can dance to, no it's fairly ambient, I'd say even somber and dark. Some of the hard edge that we have come to expect and love from Pain of Salvation is very much here in my opinion. The instruments all work together in a wonderful way, Daniel is piercing and driving and his voice has not lost even an ounce of its beauty, power, or nuance.

"Accelerator" kicks off the album with a pretty driving drum rhythm throughout, "Unfuture" is one of the more standard Pain of Salvation style songs, "Wait" features some great keyboard and guitar melodies, interesting passages and sections as it traverses the song, "Keen to a Fault" is a brilliant song that is one of the more energetic and musically interesting on the album, and I think should appeal to most Pain of Salvation fans. "Panther" is an interesting song that sounds a lot like Linkin Park, filled with electronic flourishes and sounds that sound straight from well, Linkin Park, and even Daniel rapping though thankfully it seems he's improved from his attempts on "Scarsick" (granted that was a more tongue in cheek and satiric effort). There are some rockin drums and it's all interspaced with quite piano and Daniel sections. Many may shudder at seeing Linkin Park in a Pain of Salvation review but frankly, it's one of my favorite songs, possibly favorite, on the album. "Species" is a good, slow burn and the 13 minute finale "Icon" is a straight up prog rock epic. It ebbs and flows through its well crafted song structure and is filled with beauty and passion. After writing all this I realized I have covered most of the album. That's how "Panther" was for me. Listening, listening, not super sure then it was over and I realized wow, I enjoyed that.

Is "Panther" different? Yes. Does it reach the highs of the bands first four albums? No. Though come one fellow prog fans, we pat ourselves on the backs for our open mindedness and pride in deviating from the mean! I was quite perplexed, weirded out and immensely unsure about this album when I first heard it. That said, I quite like it. I would encourage all Pain of Salvation fans to give it a try, maybe a few, and keep an open mind. Like myself, you may be surprised! If you are a fan of just rock based music perhaps this will be a difficult listen, though I would consider myself a fan of rock based music and still was gripped enough from the first listen to keep going with it, I ask you to do the same. For those who simply can't get past the band's post Remedy Lane output and just itch for those days, then yeah this probably won't be worth the time. I for one am glad to see Pain of Salvation has not just avoided the trap of spinning their wheels for over a decade as happens to many bands, but manages to come up with new sounds and pulls them off.


bump: Four Stars

Review by The Crow
3 stars After the surprisingly good "In the Passing Light of Day", Pain of Salvation are back with this strange, daring and dark "Panther".

This time, Gildenlow and colleagues bring back the experimentation of albums like "BE" and "Scarsick" in contradiction to the more traditional previous record, in the form of electronic and industrial influences which sometimes work like in Accelerator and sometimes are a bit too much like in Restless Boy.

Nevertheless, there is also some glimpses of the old (and missed) Pain of Salvation in tracks like the piano-driven Wait, which also contains a beautiful acoustic guitar work and an excellent chorus, and the long and moody Icon.

So if you are hoping for a more traditional Pain of Salvation album like Remedy Lane or The Perfect Element, you will not find in here. But is also a tradition for this band to be innovative and always search for new ways to express their music and at this respect, "Panther" is a success.

So recognizing that this album is very good, and sometimes even excellent, I have to say that is just maybe not exactly my cup of tea.

Best Tracks: Wait (like I said before, a glimpse to the old Pain of Salvation sound), Panther (the hip-hop influences of "Scarsick" are back, but this time in the good way), Species (the best lyrics of the album) and Icon (the most progressive and emotional moment here)

My Rating: ***

Review by kev rowland
3 stars 2017's 'In The Passing Light of Day' was seen by many PoS fans as possibly their best release since their heyday, and with the return of long-time guitarist Johan Hallgren to a band which had been incredibly stable in the previous six or so years, expectations were high. However, not for the first time, Daniel Gildenl÷w decided to move in a very different direction indeed. He is someone who relishes in challenging his audience, and when he thinks of the term "progressive" he obviously treats it as a direction as opposed to a genre in its own right, the only question is whether or not his audience will travel the same road he is taking and whether they will keep returning if they find the music being delivered is not to their taste.

While Johan was with the band for their most important years, he has somehow been kept rather restrained in their latest album which is far more electronic and industrial than I would ever have expected from Pain of Salvation. It is hard to compare between this and 'The Perfect Element, Pt I' as they are totally different beasts, but during the nearly two decades between the two albums, the band, and Daniel in particular, have been through many challenges and they are no longer the same as they were. It is incredibly dark, with 'Unfuture' in particular being incredibly unsettling as it brings forth the images of a post-apocalyptic future where everything is in black and white. There is no doubt that Gildenl÷w had a vision in his mind when he approached this recording, and he has achieved exactly what he wanted, and for both this and that he is always looking for a new direction must be lauded. He is an incredible musician and band leader, but I surely cannot be the only one hoping for more in the line of the "classic" years as opposed to the direction he is currently moving in.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
3 stars Iconic art prog metal inventors Pain of Salvation released their eighth studio album 'Panther' in August 2020, as usual, through Inside Out Music, and this new recording serves as a successor to their absolutely brilliant 2017 offering 'In the Passing Light of Day'. The band present a collection of nine new songs spanning across some fifty minutes of playtime, giving the world of heavy music a real breath of fresh air - this album is quite unique in terms of how it sounds like when compared to the music of Pain of Salvation's peers, and while the listener will find the usual ingredients of a good PoS album - the peculiar approach to songwriting, the memorable choruses, the thoughtful lyrics, and the variety of sounds that the band members create - there is also something that sets this record apart from the rest of the band's catalogue; It is exquisitely personalized and sincere, it is almost like a shelter for all the wayward sons out there, and a very realistic reflection on the current condition of the human spirit.

'Panther' is just as dark as it is heavy, and the overall feel that this album leaves is of something comforting, a bit like a friend who is willing to listen to you when you most need it; This, however, does not mean that the record is uplifting - it is, in fact, engaging and reflective, and it demands your full attention, as is the case with most releases by this excellent Swedish band. The album kicks off with the powerful track 'Accelerator', accompanied by a very well-shot video, the song tells the story of the disappointments you could stumble upon in a relationship, and the angst is perfectly portrayed by Daniel Gildenl÷w's powerful singing. 'Unfuture' follows up, a song that builds up slowly and gradually unfolds into one of the most menacing choruses you could hear on a Pain of Salvation song. Then comes the single 'Restless Boy', a song that easily sums up what the whole thing is about. 'Wait' is a 7-minute emotional ride and a very unusually-sounding song for the band, with the ambient soundscapes and the vocal effects going on; Then there is 'Keen to a Fault', another powerful track on which Gildenl÷w is exquisite. 'Fur' is a daring little instrumental leading to the almost rap-metal title track that would have certainly fitted perfectly the track list of 'Scarsick'; 'Species' is a decent metal track that comments on the storyteller's disappointment with the society he is exposed to. And finally, the 13-minute 'Icon' is an interesting composition that kind of bottles up all the different aspects of the preceding songs but the songwriting is not necessarily among the band's strongest.

In a word, 'Panther' is a strong addition to the Pain of Salvation discography, an emotional and grim collection of very innovative prog metal mixed up with their art rock inclinations that gives us Daniel Gildenl÷w's pessimistic overview of the world we live in.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Actually "Pain of Symphony". How can you describe the emotions you hear? It's as if the crumbly potatoes have learned to roar like an old lion. Let's get serious now! They still have courage and good shape, despite the fact that the group is 31 years old! Oh gods, why do they still exist? After ... (read more)

Report this review (#2479338) | Posted by Devolvator | Monday, November 23, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This has been my introduction to Pain Of Salvation and I have to say, I'm very impressed and pleased with what's delivered here and at the time of writing this review, this album is on my 2020 podium. I love this very outside the box take on progressive metal. While the music is still very techn ... (read more)

Report this review (#2458443) | Posted by dougmcauliffe | Thursday, October 22, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars PAIN OF SALVATION hit me in 2000 with "The Perfect Element" essential and unique at the time. I am not going to list the following CDs, the personal problems of the group but it is sure that this translates into the musical notes given since, in the released atmosphere, in the innovation always ... (read more)

Report this review (#2450133) | Posted by alainPP | Tuesday, September 22, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 'Panther' is studio album #11 in the 23 year recording history of classic prog metal band Pain of Salvation. They have two top-10 albums in our Prog Metal subgenre chart - 'Remedy Lane' (2002) and 'The Perfect Element' (2000). Their debut 'Entropia' (1997), and 'Be' (2004) are also in the top 25. Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2448134) | Posted by Einwahn | Wednesday, September 16, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Goosebumps, pure body rattling goosebumps is exactly what I felt upon hearing "Unfuture," the second track on Panther, Pain of Salvation's 11th studio record. Across 53 minutes, Daniel Gildenl÷w and company employ menacing synths and somewhat muddied production to create an engrossing Blade Runn ... (read more)

Report this review (#2445425) | Posted by ssmarcus | Monday, September 7, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The glory days of 1997-2004 are definitely gone for Pain of Salvation. Yes, 2017's "In the Passing Light of Day" was a nice effort (almost a return-to-form) but 2020's "Panther" feels like an electronic solo album by Daniel Gildenlow. Most songs are "songs" in the traditional sense - they come ... (read more)

Report this review (#2442334) | Posted by uribreitman | Saturday, August 29, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Albums like Panther are the reason why I love progressive rock and metal music. Albums that, the first time you spin them, leave you confused and disoriented, unsure whether you have just listened to a masterpiece you do not yet fully understand, or to an album you'll end up loathing. And so you imm ... (read more)

Report this review (#2442139) | Posted by lukretio | Friday, August 28, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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