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Albums of 2014 #12: Pallbearer: Foundations Of Burden

Far from being the somber, suffocating listen one might reasonably expect, Pallbearer’s Foundations Of Burden was packed with killer hooks and melodic upswings, albeit played out at an unhurried pace more suited to exaggerated head-banging and air guitar theatrics than to bouncing around a moshpit; majestic, multi-tracked guitars roared and soared and spiralled back down into passages of uneasy calm, the group deftly shifting up and down through the gears, propelling songs past the ten minute mark into territories more commonly associated with prog-rock dinosaurs of old, but if there was a definite whiff of “fantasy epic” about the album, at least it had the decency to shun gentle, Tolkeinesque meandering in favour of more R-rated Game Of Thrones-style fare. One of the year’s most enjoyably intense musical experiences, Foundations felt like a huge leap forward for the group, and whilst some of that was surely down to the presence behind the boards of veteran metal producer Billy Anderson, it certainly helped that Pallbearer circa 2014 are a noticeably better band than they were two years ago. Part of the appeal of debut Sorrow & Extinction was that it felt like the unique and perfectly realised vision of a band that had arrived fully formed and at the height of their powers; the improvements on show here – the refinement of Brett Campbell’s once pitchy vocals into a proper BBQ-glazed-gravel metaller’s croon, his twin lead interplay with fellow guitarist Devin Holt, the three-part harmonies with bassist Joseph D. Rowland, newbie Mark Lierly’s loose-limbed drumming – revealed that wasn’t the case, and if this growth spurt wasn’t thrilling enough in its own right the possibility that they may well continue to evolve makes for a pretty exciting prospect.


About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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