Pallbearer – Foundations Of Burden (2014 SPOTLIGHT) – The sophomore effort from promising Arkansas doom outfit Pallbearer has finally come and there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s nothing less than amazing. Reviewers are absolutely split right down the middle on this one, from doom purists saying “it’s too watered down and needs to sound like classic doom” to others who are calling it a “perfect album” and “truly original.” So there’s definitely been some hefty debate over this one. But while I’ll admit that Pallbearer are definitely doing something new to the doom genre, that can’t be all that bad, can it? I mean, there are always those bands like Witch Mountain and Ogre who make impressive classic doom, but this is clearly an effort at a modern doom sound that seems to rub black metal fans the same way when they hear the name Deafheaven mentioned. Of its six tracks, the quartet certainly makes their presence known, especially in Devin Holt and Brett Campbell’s riffscapes. As from what I remember; doom metal is all about the atmosphere, which is exactly what I’m getting here in spades. Not to mention Brett’s sorrowful howls, which definitely remind me of Englanders 40 Watt Sun, albeit with more structure and melody than they have offered (at least on their latest release.) I don’t believe these gentlemen are nearly as pained in real life as they sound here, but it certainly creates a believable sort of aura that can be easily grasped by the listener and lightens things up a gargantuan amount than what the “old doom guys” are used to. Trust me, when I read a comment that says “stay away from this is you truly love doom metal” then I just have to take a moment to let out a hearty guffaw and see that some of us are truly elitist and self-centered when it comes to music in general. I’ve even heard this called “light doom” or “doom lite” but that really seems to be a great way to describe it. Perhaps Pallbearer didn’t want to continue in the same direction, allowing some of their other influences to pervade into the doom they make here. After all, “Foundations 8:41” is just as much Candlemass as it is current era Anathema, or even Pink Floyd. Though to be honest, I’ve heard plenty of progressive influences in doom metal since the very beginning, even Sabbath incorporated it in the very beginning. Through and through, Foundations Of Burden is a wonderful exercise in a new school of doom metal and with anything new, you will always have an army of naysayer’s. Though not as perfect as Sorrow And Extinction, there is plenty of sorrow and melody to be found within this expression of what Arkansas doom scene is and always has been. I’ve always loved doom and Pallbearer makes me love it even more. Foundations Of Burden is an essential record to grab this year, so make sure you’ve got it.
(6 Tracks, 54:00)