Three years after 2011’s ‘Road Salt Two’, Pain of Salvation came back with ‘Falling Home’ which is basically an acoustic re-imagining of previous material plus a few covers and one new number. This was in many ways quite a different approach for the band, but it may have been driven by the changes in line-up as only bandleader Daniel Gildenlöw and drummer Léo Margarit were there from the previous release, with long-time members Johan Hallgren and Fredrik Hermansson both departing in the intervening years. ‘Road Salt Two’ also had many guests, but here the band operated as a quintet with just a single guest (Roger Öjersson) providing a solo on one song.
This is not a true acoustic album, as there is the use of organ and electric bass, but for a band known to frequent the metal scene the lack of electric guitars is interesting. However, there are too many times when this feels more like a self-indulgent experiment for fans only as opposed to being an album which many will seek out. The vocals are great, as one would expect, and the musicianship second to none, but there is no spark or vitality, while their covers of “Perfect Day” and particularly “Holy Diver” should have been left in the studio. If anyone came across this album first, I think it is probably unlikely they would check out the rest of their canon which is a shame, as to me this is not at all representative of their music.