Greetings to The Reader.
The last couple of weeks have been murder. I have tried to stick to my planned posting every two weeks, but unfortunately I could not post. Consistency is important for this format, and I will make a bigger effort in April.
For my second review I chose an album that I have listened to many, many times.
The band Pallbearer caught my attention in 2014 with their second album Foundations of Burden. At the time I was beginning to explore the slower side of Metal, and their brand of Doom Metal, harmony rich, rhythmically expressive and epic riffs appealed to me immediately. The album was released to critical acclaim. Even Pitchfork liked it…
In 2017 the band released their album Heartless.
Third albums can sometimes be a band’s most difficult release. The hype of the first two albums can be too much. You may be expected to do more of the same, or move away from your original sound for the sake of growth. No one is ever really satisfied with a third release.
But Pallbearer got it right. All three times. The aggression and melancholy of the first two albums have been replaced with groove and feel, two notions not often used when describing Doom Metal. Heartless still has a lot of depth and sadness lyrically, but there is a sense of hope in the harmonies, both vocally and from the duo (sometimes trio) of guitars. Tempo and time signature changes keep your ear listening for the next turn in the road, with much anticipation. There is so much more for the listener than just the slow and dreary plod of traditional Doom Metal. Not there is anything wrong with the Old School, but I feel that this new wave of Doom will be sticking around for a good while and fans of the genre will be challenged by these new ideas.
It’s difficult to choose the standout tracks on this album, as every track has it’s own strong points and merits. The opening track I Saw the End sets the tone and feel of the album. Mid point Dancing in Madness reminds us of the dangers of life unfulfilled. But album closer A Plea for Understanding brings us full circle to the reason for Doom Metal. It’s meant to be a catharsis, a cleansing of the mind, ego, emotions and the soul.
“Behind the eyes lies a truth
So deeply concealed
Somewhere inside is a place
Where the weary rest and heal
Anger, fear, and regret keep the darkness at hand
But these feelings are real
All I ask, won’t you please understand”
In conclusion, Heartless was one of the best albums of 2017, for good reason. It has the meat and potatoes sound of Doom Metal, but Pallbearer is taking the genre to new and exciting heights.
Have a listen to he album here, and feel free to share you thoughts in the comments section:
Thank you for being the Reader.