Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden - (9/10)
Published on August 20, 2014
Label:Profound Lore Records
Thriving under pressure.
Formed in Arkansas in 2008, Pallbearer are a doom metal band that have been highly regarded since their debut demo in 2010. Their demo got the band signed to Profound Lore Records, who released their 2012 debut full length, the widely acclaimed Sorrow and Extinction. After some great tours and wide spread praise, the band return with their new full length, Foundations of Burden. Like their debut, this second helping has already earned similar, if not more, acclaim, and rightly so. This is a doom metal album for the ages, and one of the best the year has to offer.
From the get go, Pallbearer do not waste any time. Where the prior album has a two-plus minute acoustic intro, this album kicks off right away with the heavy guitars and Sabbath influence the band has come to be known for. The album grabs you by the hand and doesn’t let go for nearly an hour. The music is as heavy as before, but the band seems to be more confident. The songs progress well, and even with multiple songs reaching the 10-plus minute mark, nothing ever feels as if it drags on. The song writing is engaging, and the melodies and interplay with the instruments and vocals are expertly performed. The drums and the bass work well together and add some great catchy moments, while the guitars can be heavy and fuzzy, but at times also very bright and melancholic. As mentioned earlier, the songs do progress well, with their own peaks and valleys, making the songs feel alive, which really helps the listener feel engaged in the music and truly experience the emotion put forth.
However, the music is not the only means by which emotion is evoked. The vocals on the record are also incredible, and like the music, sound more confident and mature. The vocals tend to stay in the mid-range and higher range, but in a track like “Foundations,” they do get a bit deeper, and even in the lead off single “The Ghost I Used To Be,” there are some screamed vocals which bring a nice change and a welcome, additional energy to the album. As far as feeling, the vocals often range from being melancholic, warm, inviting, and pained, but always melodic and tasteful. The lyrics are, for lack of a better term, standard doom fare with songs about sorrow, loss, death, etcetera; however, they never feel overblown or clichéd.
Further, the production on the album is simply amazing. While the prior album sounded great as well, it did feel a bit muddy at times. However, any prior issues are washed away on this new release. The production is clearer, and every melodic guitar lead or little change and nuance in the songs can be heard without issue. The mix is perfect as well, as each instrument feels right, nothing drowning out anything else. This is one of the better sounding records to come out this year, and certainly in the genre. Personally, it hit me like Soma, the Windhand album in 2013, which was my favorite release of that year.
I feel there is nothing that can be overstated about this album. Many reviewers have already praised this record, and most likely many more will do the very same, however, there is no hyperbole in the case of Foundations of Burden. Pallbearer were already on the radar for a lot of people in the metal world, and this album proves they are no fluke. Truly an outstanding effort that any doom fan needs to pick up ASAP.
Listening to this now, reminds me a lot of Warning/40 Watt Sun.
It absolutely does. I got pretty hooked up in their first album since it came out, gotta be in the mood for it though.
"nothing ever feels as if it drags on" LOL
This is like a Warning for hipsters, so naturally I hated it.