Pain of Salvation have been firmly at the forefront of the progressive rock and metal scenes for nearly three decades now. Led by mercurial multi-instrumentalist Daniel Gildenlöw, the Swedish band have consistently demonstrated a sincere passion for moving their own extraordinary music forward, while always remaining lyrically enlightened and ferociously intelligent. The band returned this year having deftly weathered the departure of guitarist Ragnar Zolberg, discovering a newfound enthusiasm for what happens next in the process.The result of that sustained surge of creativity is ‘PANTHER’, the eleventh Pain of Salvation album and a very obvious landmark release in a career full of them. ‘PANTHER’ is a concept piece that delves into the conflicts and contradictions between so-called normal people and those who are wired entirely differently. This is an album full of creativity and power, a simmering melting pot of brooding desire and thunderous riffs that creates a body of work leviathan in scope and content. One of the highlights of the year and an album that could become a seminal progressive-metal release, Pain Of Salvation have created a piece of music that could well be their finest yet.