Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden

Written by Calen Henry.

Artwork by Sean Williams

Foundations of Burden, Pallbearer’s sophomore album is the perfect follow up to Sorrow and Extinction. In contrast to some other opinions, though, I don’t think it’s a better record. Instead, it’s the perfect follow up because it’s a fantastic record, that shows the band’s growth, but complements the first record, rather than superseding it.

Pallbearer play a very traditional style of doom, but their strong sense of structure and melody is what really sucked me into their music. That’s gotten even better on their second record. The layered guitars are even more intricate, but not self indulgently so, and Brett Campbell’s vocals are stronger and more up front.

Billy Anderson’s production has subtly changed the band’s recorded sound making a different feeling record than before. Sorrow and Extinction sounds very vintage-heavy, almost like it could be a record from the ‘70s. In contrast, Foundations of Burden’s mix sounds thoroughly modern and HUGE.

Pallbearer 2012. Photos © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

The opening tracks of both albums (“Worlds Apart” for Foundations of Burden, and “Foreigner” for Sorrow and Extinction) act as microcosms of this difference. “Foreigner” starts with a lengthy acoustic intro, before dropping the DOOM with a wonderful vintage sound leaving lots of space in the music. The airy vintage sound continues through the album and is the perfect fit for the composition and arrangements.

“Worlds Apart”, on the other hand, gets right into riffs, with thick layered guitars and vocals and a huge sound, more in keeping with modern North American doom bands. The whole album is much more full and almost lush, with the exception of the keyboard interlude “Ashes”. The fuller sound complements the intricacies and scope of the new songs.

So, while I love Foundations of Burden, I especially love that it made me re-appreciate Sorrow and Extinction, rather than replacing it in my music library. Time will tell if one album will become more classic than the other, but for now they are both totally essential.

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Tagged with 2014, Calen Henry, doom metal, John Mourlas, Pallbearer, Profound Lore Records
  1. Nice work! I for you think FoB is better than S&E but really they are both flawless. I almost can't believe how much I like this band sometimes.

    1. I'm still leaning toward S&E as my favorite, but I've only gotten the chance to give the new one a couple of spins so far. It's very good, regardless of whether it edges S&E out or not.