Friday, March 24, 2017

Pallbearer "Heartless"

Country: USA
Genre(s): Progressive Doom Rock/Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast, Profound Lore Records
Format: CD, vinyl, digital
Release date: March 24, 2017
1. I Saw The End (6:21)
2. Thorns (5:24)
3. Lie Of Survival (8:25)
4. Dancing In Madness (11:47)
5. Cruel Road (7:13)
6. Heartless (8:09)
7. A Plea For Understanding (12:40)

Total time 59:59

Joseph D. Rowland - Bass, Vocals, Synthesizers
Devin Holt - Guitars, Vocals
Brett Campbell - Guitars, Vocals, Synthesizers
Mark Lierly - Drums

Pallbearer’s third album, Heartless, is an inspired collection of monumental rock music. The band offers a complex sonic architecture that weaves together the spacious exploratory elements of classic prog, the raw anthemics of 90’s alt-rock, and stretches of black-lit proto-metal. From the gloriously complex, sky-lit opener “I Saw the End” to the earth-shaking (and heartbreaking) 13-minute closer “A Plea for Understanding,” the entire group puts forth the full realization of their vision: More than a doom band, Pallbearer is a rock group with a singular songwriting talent and emotional capacity. Heartless finds the group putting forth their strongest individual efforts to date: Campbell and Rowland, along with guitarist/vocalist Devin Holt and drummer Mark Lierly, turn in peak marathon performances. Both Campbell and Rowland also handle synthesizers alongside their normal duties, and there are plenty of gently strummed acoustic guitars amid the crunchy electric ones, adding a moody, ethereal spareness to the towering metal. The almost 12-minute “Dancing in Madness” opens with dark post-rock ambience and moves toward emotional blues before exploding into a sludgy psychedelic anthem. A number of the seven songs feature a humid rock swagger.

By fusing their widest musical palette to date, Pallbearer make the kind of heavy rock (the heavy moments are *heavy*) that will appeal to diehards, but could also find the group crossing over into newer territories and fanbases. After having helped revitalize doom metal, it almost feels like they’ve gone and set their sights on rock and roll itself. Which doesn’t seem at all impossible on the back of a record like Heartless.

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