Every album of Pain Of Salvation (read: Daniel Gildenlow) is always a surprise and sometimes it even turns out to be a “nasty” surprise...Take for example the utterly boring album BE (2004) or the rather weird Scarsick and you'll know what I mean... Panther is the 11th studio release of Pain Of Salvation and I can tell you right away that it will not end up in my top 10 list of best albums of 2020! To be honest I only like two POS albums, being The Perfect Element Part 1 (2000) and Remedy Lane (2002), yes I know, sad but true for die hard Gildenlow fans...
Panther is again a concept album dealing with the differences between “normal” people and spectrum people and musically, there is obviously - sad but true - a great lack of guitars resulting in lots of melancholic vocals, electronics and walls of keys, making Panther really not accessible for the listener. But that of course is what Gildenlow wants to achieve, sadly it does not work for me! Panther kicks off with the first single of the album called Accelerator, a dark song, which is dominated by those before mentioned electronic sounds. Follow up Unfuture is probably the most classic POS song of the album, filled with heavy riffs and a gloomy melody. However the title track is probably one of the worst POS songs I have ever heard, as it features a rapping Gildenlow and that is something I do NOT want to hear; Panther is a complete and utter misstep on this album; so skip it if you can!! This album ends with a gripping closing track, like so many other POS albums, being the epic song Icon. It clocks over 13 minutes and it is an awesome Gildenlow song with exploding drums, layered excellent vocals and a glorious guitar passage. An almost superb ending to a rather mediocre album which is mostly filled with electronics, weird sounds and obscure melodies, making it a typical difficult accessible POS album.
Panther really is, again, an unusual album, as it is far more electronic than POS earlier albums, but you know that Gildenlow is always in for a surprise; then again for die hard prog rock fans there is still “enough” to enjoy! Listening tip: Icon.
*** Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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