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Pallbearer Foundations of Burden Review + Footage

I can go on about the dreaded second album slump like many writers have done before me, however, let me be direct by assuaging any worry one may have regarding Pallbearer’s second full-length, Foundations of Burden, by saying that Pallbearer have proved once more that they are the read deal, creating works of sprawling, emotive and uncompromising doom metal, free of blackened-this and deathly-that. As much an homage as they are a redefinition in a traditionalist sense, Pallbearer craft their albums with a newness that belies a weathered genre that can trace itself to metal’s oldest alloys. Comparisons to early Black Sabbath have been leveled at this Arkansan outfit, rightfully so considering their aesthetics, though much lies beneath the mournful crush of Foundations of Burden.


Within the opening moments of “Worlds Apart,” I am reminded of Paradise Lost’s second full-length Gothic, an album hewn from a similar hide as Foundations of Burden, though harsher, lacking Brett Campbell’s operatic croon, a characteristic that drives Pallbearer’s sound deep into ear and heart. The collection, whether it means to or not, feels conceptual, telling an arduous journey besieged with severed spirits and beaten flesh. The sound moves with such fluidity, the whole work soars, wreathing itself in storm clouds that occasionally gleam with a peek from an elusive sun. In comparison with the heavenly dirge of their debut, Sorrow and Extinction, Foundations is a weighted triumph, a mighty Atlas weary from all of existence clinging to his back. Campbell and Devin Holt’s guitars echo over an ocean of emptiness, answering their own call like a whale pod aware of their impending erasure, crafting a swan ballad telling of their last days. Drums ripple like aquatic heartbeats thundering deeper into an already gaping abyss, swallowing you whole, letting you drift within its reverberations.

The vocals convene into a final judgment, a congregation of blinded angels barring heaven’s gate at the end of “Foundation,” sorrowful yet ascendant over an uncertain death. The aptly titled “The Ghost I Used to Be” is a monument to regret, enraptured in word and sound by the directionless fields we tread in life unto death. The guitars twinkle like distant stars, with Campbell’s vocabulary soaring to embrace them warmly as they descend into the cold reach of celestial bodies. “The Ghost I Used to Be” is as lively a track as anything the collection has to offer, replete with vibrant grays and dulled radiance. “Ashes” is a hill among mountains, a tender three minutes of bassist Joseph Rowland on keyboards in tandem with droning guitars, intermittent drum strikes, all glossed with towering yet soft vocals. The existential agony that underscores Foundations slows to a mesmerizing crawl by the end of “Vanished,” going out in much the same way, like a breath extinguished, with hardly a memory to keep it corporeal.

Pallbearer stirs the cauldron of doom in all the right directions: in an unhurried, downward spiral. As memorable as Sorrow and Extinction and crafted with the same aplomb, Foundations of Burden is a forging of unbreakable, heavy steel that reflects the dedication of master smiths. Pallbearer remain successful out of a desire not to break traditions or meld them anew, but to push forward, spiriting those concepts away to familiar yet untamed territories.

Foundations of Burden is available now from Profound Lore Records.




9/3 Utrecht, Netherlands – De Helling – ^

9/4 Bristol, UK – The Fleece – ^

9/5 Manchester, UK – The Roadhouse – *SOLD OUT* ^

9/6 Glasgow, UK – Audio – ^

9/7 Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club – ^

9/8 London, UK – The Underworld – *SOLD OUT* ^

9/10 Dortmund, GER – FZW – ^

9/11 Groningen, NL – Vera ^

9/12 Arhus, DK – Atlas – ^

9/13 Gothenburg, SE – Truckstop Alaska ^

9/14 Oslo, NO – Hostabbat @ Betong – ^

9/16 Helsinki, FI – Tavastia – ^

9/17 Stockholm, SE – SLAKTHUSET ^

9/18 Copenhagen, DK – Loppen ^

9/19 Leipzig, DE – UT Connewitz ^

9/20 Wroclaw, PL – Firlej – ^

9/21 Berlin, DE – Bi Nuu – ^

9/23 Prague, CZ @ Klub 007 ^

9/24 Vienna, AUT @ Arena – ^

9/25 Innsbruck, AUT – PMK ^

9/26 Winterthur, CH @ Gaswerk – ^

9/27 Milan, IT @ Lo-Fi Club – ^

9/29 Lausanne, CH @ Le Romandie – ^

10/2 Barcelona, ES @ Razzmatazz3 ^

10/3 Madrid, ES @ VillaManuela Festival – ^

10/4 Porto, PT @ Amplifest – ^

10/5 Erandio, ES @ Sonora ^

10/6 Toulouse, FR @ La Dynamo – ^

10/10 Athens, GR @ KYTTARO Club ^

10/11 Antwerp, BE@ Desert Fest – ^



10/17 Nashville, TN @ Exit/In – %

10/18 Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlie’s – %

10/19 Champaign, IL @ High Dive – %

10/20 Madison, WI @ The Frequency – %

10/21 Detroit, MI @ The Magic Stick – %

10/23 Cleveland, OH @ The Grog Shop – %

10/24 Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace – %

10/25 Montreal, QC @ Il Motore – %

10/26 Boston, MA @ Great Scott – %

10/27 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus – *SOLD OUT* %

10/28 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus – *SOLD OUT* %

10/29 Philadelphia, PA @ Black Box at Underground Arts – %

10/30 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery – %

10/31 Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 – %

11/1 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl – %

11/2 Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum – %

11/4 New Orleans, LA @ Siberia %

11/5 Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s – %

11/7 Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Fest –

11/9 Dallas, TX @ There Links – %

^ With YOB

% With Tombs & Vatnett Viskar


West Coast dates (with Sólstafir & Mortals):

Dec 2: Oklahoma City, OK – The Conservatory
Dec 3: Albuquerque, NM – Sister Bar
Dec 4: Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
Dec 5: Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy

Dec 6: San Diego, CA – Soda Bar

Dec 7: San Fransisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill

Dec 9: Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater

Dec 10: Vancouver, BA – Biltmore

Dec 11: Seattle, WA – Barboza

Dec 12: Boise, ID – The Shredder

Dec 13: Salt Lake City UT – Kilby Court

Dec 14: Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater

Dec 16: Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room

Dec 17: Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock

Dec 18: Chicago, IL – Subterranean

Dec 19: St. Louis, MO – Firebird

Written By

slowdive followed me on twitter for a week once.

Relapse DF 92123
Sentient 51423

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