Review Summary: Signs of life
To assert that Pain of Salvation (POS) has endured a tumultuous period over the past few years would not be considered a bold statement. Two longtime members in Fredrik Hermansson, and Johan Langell departed after the release of Road Salt Two
, and more recently band leader Daniel Gildenlow suffered from a near fatal streptococcal infection (flesh eating bacteria) that saw him hospitalized. Thankfully he made a full recovery, and with Falling Home
it seems Daniel is not only announcing the latest incarnation of the band, but also making a statement regarding his return to health.
It’s certainly a relief to know that the band is still alive after losing every member from what I consider POS’ strongest era. Even though Daniel has been the primary composer since the band’s inception, the four other members played a strong role in giving the band its identity. So it was not going to be an easy task finding suitable replacements.
is similar to 12:5
in that it features acoustic re-interpretations of POS songs, with the exception of two covers and a brand new song. This album may not be as radical as 12:5
, but the warmth in the music cannot be denied. We get to hear very refreshing versions of songs such as “Stress,” “Linoleum,” and “Spitfall,” which shine in their new mellower arrangements compared to the much more aggressive originals. The jazzy cover of “Holy Diver” is especially good. For the style Falling Home
presents, the performances by the band members are really good. The band seems to effortlessly perform the several genres infused on the record. It’s amazing that Daniel has managed to recruit musicians that not only capable of playing POS’ complex music (as seen during the live performances), but also ones that have the vocals to cope with the elaborate supporting vocal requirements of POS music. While the backing vocals are terrific, main man Daniel’s performance is even better. He reminds us why he’s one of finest vocalists in the world of progressive music. His remarkable vocal abilities haven’t subsided, and the sprinkling of fresh vocal melodies throughout the record makes his performance all the more intriguing.
The largest drawback with Falling Home
is the track list. With such a rich back catalogue, there were so many songs that would have been better suited and been more refreshing with this acoustic treatment. 12:5
showed the band’s ability to give a new life to some of the heavier songs, and it was superb. Don’t get me wrong I love songs like “To the Shoreline” and “1979,” but these versions don’t sound thoroughly different from the original versions. In a way though, the track list makes sense since 12:5
was released after Be
and therefore it encapsulated that period of the band, while Falling Home
represents the subsequent material. I guess I just adore the earlier period more than the modern one.
Although the memory of my favourite POS incarnation still lingers, given that the band could have dissolved, I am just happy that the band is still breathing and in good health. I’m hopeful for the future and now one question remains. Where do we go from here"