Pallbearer | ‘Foundations Of Burden’
Album Of The Month September 2014
You’ll hear few Doom albums as lush, heavy and atmospheric as this latest from Pallbearer. There’s no argument to be had here – it’s a masterstroke.
Ten minute opener ‘Worlds Apart’ will, for many like myself, be a colossal and joyous introduction to this band.
The first thing you notice is the guitar tone that’s so Orange it might as well be the surface of the sun.
But this band don’t use mere amps. They use cauldrons, in which bubble the most imaginative and heady brews of melody and riffing you’re likely to hear for a while. They maintain sorrowed tunefulness without sacrificing weight, and if anything, the weaving lines lend the album an incredibly triste vibe.
When you think this opening song’s finished, the band do the opposite. There is another movement, where they slow it right down and get pure Skepticism on you. That slow, plucked, clean guitar over the top of those lugubrious, crashing chords is all the more affecting for not just hitting the expected notes – no, Pallbearer have different ones up their sleeves, and the kind that’ll bring you right back to ‘Farmakon’.
Pallbearer pack more into this track than most bands pack into whole careers – and you’ve still got lots to go. Through the moods, moments and mountainous riffs this album traverses, every second is pure quality.
I suppose a lot of credit has to go to vocalist Brett Campbell for his sublime Sabbath / Candlemass / Trouble vocals that are of one with the sacred orthodox doom line. But this is very much about a band, and not a personality.
Out of many musical highlights, they also have a knack for the spiritual atmosphere, with those almost Gregorian changing lines they do. Add that to the chorus’ed guitar and there is most certainly a hint of Type O Negative around ‘Haunted’ in here. A wonderful tonality.
Yet it’s less a case of guitar tones and more of guitar tonnes, and no matter what way you measure it, this album has them all. It is, admittedly, quite long, and quite a challenge for one sitting.
To which there is an obvious solution: it’s one for a long, long walk this autumn. So take it out with you, find a wood, and immerse yourself in its small-g gothic world of ivy, dirt, stone and iron.
It’ll bring you somewhere.
5/5 – Earl Grey ::: 01/09/14