Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Live Review: Bearer Of Bad News, Local H, Helmet, Filter. Thompson House, Newport, KY, USA. 13/8/2014



Heading back in time to 1994 when I was a mere pup in the 6th grade, Nirvana was everything and all I listened to UNTIL I stumbled on this record Meantime by a band called Helmet.  This was unlike anything I had heard during my few years on the planet, it wasn’t grunge, it wasn’t punk or plain old rock n’ roll, it was all of these things at once. Needless to say I was hooked. I didn’t get to see them until 1997, and they were playing with some band called Korn, whom I had never heard of and I remember thinking at the time, how does this no name band open for Helmet!?

Flash forward to August 13 2014 on route to see the beloved Helmet for the 5th time in my life.
I bought 2 tickets and hoped one of my friends would join me but nope, so I talked my 24 year old sister into going, hoping to convert her into a fan. I don’t know if I did, but I know my love and child like excitement to see these heroes still runs strong in my heart.

We head to the famous Thompson House (formerly Southgate), the mansion turned venue whose claim to fame is that John Thompson, the inventor of the Tommy gun lived there and invented said weapon in this mansion.

The line up for this event were Ohio locals Bearer Of Bad News, Local H , Helmet & Filter. I will start by saying I didn’t stay through Filter so I won’t be touching on them much.  My loyalty was to the rest if the line up so let’s get into it.

First up we have Dayton, OH based Bearer of Bad News, who’s blistering set was a perfect match to the line up.  With the song they called ‘Got the Least’ being the strong arm of their 30 minute noise fueled set. Think Helmet meets Quicksand & you have the idea.

Next up was the surprisingly excellent Local H. This two piece rock duo frankly owned the room for 45 minutes. I was only a fan in passing in my youth, but after this show I feel like I missed one hell of a time not seeing them live more. The band played through a variety of notable songs throughout their career such as ‘Bound for the Floor’, ‘Alright, Oh Yeah’ & an aggressive noise drenched cover of Lorde’s ‘Team’. Overall a great solid set from these 90’s rockers.

And now we will move on, likely the only reason you are reading this review and the main reason I went to this show to begin with, Helmet. Who’s 45 minutes set moved through various stages of their career aside from the AmRep material. While we didn’t hear anything from ‘Strap It On’ we did get to hear a selection from Monochrome like ‘Brand New’ & ‘Swallowing Everything’, both were priceless performances but I would be a liar if I said they were anywhere near as goose bump providing as the opening few seconds of ‘Wilma’s Rainbow’, the opening track to 1994’s ‘Betty’ which the band is presently touring in support of.

As a huge fan of this record and having read that on some of the dates they are performingBetty’ from beginning to end, I was ready to hear that but alas that wasn’t the case.  Instead, what we got was a selection, classics like ‘Milquetoast’ ‘Unsung’ & ‘Give It’.  For the most part a good portion of ‘Seeing Eye Dog’ filled any gaps in the set. There were a few funny moments with Page asking the lighting crew to cut the strobe lights out “That looks cool man but I can’t see anything I’m 50 years old!”  50 isn’t so bad if you are still able to throw down a performance like Helmet did in this riverfront venue.

As someone who has been a fan for years and seen the band a handful of times, I cannot say this was their best show & I am certain any old school fans might have been a tad let down by the lack of Am-Rep era material.  Still it was without question a fantastic performance that did hit most of the high points of their career.

Helmet held the crowd at bay until the last note and I even saw a fairly Eminem looking fella booty dancing with some hussy throughout some tunes, so it was an entertaining night!

Oh yeah and as mentioned previously Filter headlined this date & all the U.S dates on this tour.
While Filter was never my cup of tea per se, they did have a few songs in their career I enjoyed but they unbeknownst to them opened with what I feel is the benchmark of shitty songs in their career ‘Trip Like I do’.  The crowd had the distinct privilege of hearing the opening loop to said song for nearly 30 minutes while smoke machines and lighting were adjusted properly, this is after a 35 minute set up time between Helmet’s set to Filters. I could go on but only 2 songs in and Richard had tossed 2 wireless mics on the crowd, visibly complaining to the sound crew and frankly doing everything in his power to mimic Chino Moreno, which in my world is blasphemy.

Waffle House and beer started to sound really good at this point so I grabbed my clearly unimpressed sister and we headed out.

Moral of the story Helmet, Local H & Bearer of Bad News = Awesome night

Filter = Waffle House.

Cheers


Words by: Stephen T. Barton

Graves At Sea/Sourvein - Split EP (Review)


Album Type: EP
Date Released: 13/5/2014
Label: Seventh Rule Recordings

Graves at Sea/Sourvein Split EP CD/LP track listing

1.GRAVES AT SEA – Betting On Black 07:43
2. GRAVES AT SEA – Confession 07:34
3. SOURVEIN – Drifter 03:49
4. SOURVEIN – Equinox 03:06
5. SOURVEIN – Follow The Light 05:31

Bio:

Two of doom metal’s mightiest of feedback-laden riff worshippers – Portland’s GRAVES AT SEA and Cape Fear’s SOURVEIN – have united in sound, mind and spirit for the ultimate split of earth-smoldering amplifier worship.

GRAVES AT SEA, whose contributions leave an eerie aura complete with tortured vocals, foreboding composition, and a general sense of dread, occupy Side A. Recorded by Billy Anderson, (Melvins, Sleep, Neurosis) “Betting On Black” and “Confession” finds the all-consuming sludge for which the band is notorious, flooding in amongst the tortured howls and shrieks of vocalist Nathan Misterek.

SOURVEIN, who’ve now existed for two decades of distortion, damage and total doom, solidify Side B. With three songs produced and recorded by Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity, these odes of heavy combine toxic riffs, grooves and just the right amount of psychedelic appeal.

Both sides were mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Beastmilk, Nails) at Audiosiege Engineering and will be released via Seventh Rule Recordings on both CD and LP on May 13th, 2014 during the two bands’ duel conquest touring Europe and prior to their appearances at this year’s edition of the illustrious Maryland Deathfest. The first pressing of the LP will be limited to 1000 copies and come available on 160-gram black wax with an included download code. Recommended for fans of Eyehategod, Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, and all things loud and fuzzy.

Review:

Portland based doom/sludge metal-ers (yes another doom band from Portland, is there something in the water there?!) Graves at Sea have teamed with fuzz ridden Sourvein for this five track down tuned offering. Released on Seventh Rule Recordings, mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Beastmilk, Nails) and topped off with some incredible artwork, both bands amalgamate to lay down their distorted riffs and twisted doom stylings, resulting in a must have metal record.

After splitting in 2008 Graves at Sea thankfully reformed in 2012, and returned revitalized in 2013 with new bassist Jeff McGarrity and drummer Bryan Sours. With only a handful of releases, and their only album being a re-issue of their demo ‘Documents of Grief’ they have gained notable cult popularity. And it’s not difficult to see why, as within the first minute of ‘Betting on Black’ I’m hooked. Nathan’s raspy tortured vocals are something to behold, immersing a blackened tinge to the sludgy chug of the guitar. As pessimistic and bleak as it is, the lyric ‘You lose every time. You’re born into this world of shit and then you die’ is unforgettable and works perfectly with the grimness of the vocals. Graves at Sea are truly unique, and excel on the two tracks they offer to the split.

Sourvein are the more veteran of the two bands, with three full lengths, three EP’s and seven splits under their belts. Offering a more psychedelic approach to the doom metal paradigm, it perfectly complements the blackened rhythms of Graves at Sea. Reverb aplenty, particularly in ‘Equinox’, and some groove laden riffs, Sourvein showcase their doom/sludge/psychedelic hybrid to great effect. The frequent change in pace from slow dawdling riffs to the head banging rhythm sections injects a lively thrust to the distorted haze.

Both bands are no strangers to the recording of splits; therefore it was only a matter of time before these two put their musical prowess on to the same release. While splits are certainly not about whose input is better, Graves at Sea are a band I had vague familiarity with before this release, but I’m now scouring the internet for more material, a fantastic discovery.   

Words by: Heather Blewett   

You can pick up a copy here


Norilsk - Japetus EP (Review)


Album Type: EP
Date Released: 22/7/2014
Label: Self-Release/Bandcamp

“Japetus” CD/DD track Listing:

Japetus 08:14
Negatron (Voivod cover)
Potsdamn Glo 05:45

Bio:

Drawing inspiration from the canons of doom-death metal acts such as Thergothon, Saturnus, and early My Dying Bridge, while incorporating elements of sludge and post-metal. Named after Siberia's northernmost city, Norilsk's themes revolve around Northern identity, isolation, and world demise.


The Band:

Nicolas Miquelon | Bass, guitars, vocals
Nick Richaer | Drums and backup Vocals

Review:

A short but solid EP coming in at just under twenty minutes, Norilsk sets the excitement level high for their upcoming full-length. Per their press kit this EP has one song from their upcoming full-length (“Japetus”), one Voivod cover (“Negatron”), and one alternate version of the first track (“Potsdam Glo”). Although I would like to add calling “Potsdam Glo” an alternate version of the first track is a bit odd because they could not possibly sound any more different.

The first track “Japetus” begins with a rhythm figure reminiscent of some of the band Morne's intros on their last album Shadows with a simple Neurosis style lead. Once the verse hits it slides right into an icy groove evoking some serious head nodding. The dark black metal style vocals set an icy mood which Norilsk does not break from throughout the EP. Some of the post-bridge closing section reminds me of “Streetcleaner” era Godflesh particularly on the drums. The end of “Japetus” is my favorite part of the song bringing it to a good headbanging resolution.

The Voivod cover “Negatron” is pretty damn cool but it does not deviate substantially from the original for the first couple of minutes. Interestingly the bass tone is almost perfectly identical to the original. Where this cover differentiates from the original is the thrashy bridge section with the crazy guitar solo seems to not be present. That being said I do like the part they put in instead and it doesn't take away from the flow of the song. I also like the way Norilsk ends the song more then the way Voivod did on the original and there is some cool metallic reverb on the guitar at the end.

The final track “Potsdam Glo” begins with a fade in on a great lead line into some really cool harmonics over the verse. A much more minimalist track then the other two the extra space allows Norilsk to really set a mood more so then the other tracks. Boasting the best song writing on the album this was my personal favorite of the EP. A crushing slow extended bridge section over pounding drums leading into the final verse is the highlight of the album.

Really nice production abounds here as the mix is very clear and the drums sound pretty damn great. Overall a good effort and the range Norilsk shows on the two originals “Japetus” and “Potsdam Glo” are a great preview for their forthcoming full-length and are definitely worth a listen now not later.

Words By: Chris Tedor

You can get your free download here and pick up the CD for $5


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Panopticon - Roads To The North (Album Review)


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 1/8/2014
Label: Bindrune/Nordvis

‘Roads to the North’ CD/DD/LP track listing:

1.The Echoes of a Disharmonic Evensong (9:36)
2.Where Mountains pierce the sky (12:43)
3-5. The Long Road (in 3 movements)
I. One last fire (5:56)
II. Capricious Miles (7:53)
III.The Sigh Of Summer (9:39)
6.Norwegian Nights (3:20)
7. In Silence (9:46)
8.Chase the Grain (12:14)

Bio:

PANOPTICON has never been a typical black metal band. Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Austin Lunn's heartfelt, vitriolic blend of anarcho-crust, Appalachian folk, and atmospheric black metal is a unique entity, and his impressive recording history is a testament to his devotion. The band's previous effort, Kentucky, was rightly hailed as one of 2012's finest extreme metal albums, and now, with the imminent release ofRoads to the North, 2014 has better watch its back. Lunn’s latest effort and fourth full-length sees him break new ground for the project and explore Scandinavian death metal in all its melodic fury. It’s a dynamic, stirring album, and one that will completely enrapture all who stand in its way.
 
The album features a litany of guest talents and close comrades, including members of Waldgefluster, Celestiial, Blood and Sun, Obsequiae, Altar of Plagues, Vit, Austaras, and Vukari, and was engineered & produced by ever-prolific sound wizard Colin Marston. Lunn himself utilized a wide range of instrumentation to realize his vision, from dobro and banjo to mandolin, Native American flute, and keyboards as well as his customary guitars, bass, drums, and vocals. It’s an overwhelming musical work, and one that stands tall amidst Lunn’s untouchable discography.
 
Roads to the North marks a paradigm shift in Panopticon's sound, but also stands as the first collaborative action between like-minded partners Bindrune Recordings and Nordvis Produktion. The album will be available on deluxe 2XLP and CD; Bindrune will look after North American sales, with Nordvis handling the release in Scandinavia and Europe.

Album Credits:

A.Lunn | drums, guitar, bass, vocals,, Native American Flute, banjo, mandolin, resonator guitar, dobro, keyboards, samples, recording, art, lyrics and songs.
Johan Becker | violin, Moog, additional singing vocals
Winterherz | guest vocals on "...In Silence"
Ben Smith | guest Vvcals on "Capricious Miles" and "The Sigh of Summer"
Tanner Anderson | backing vocals on "Chase the Grain"
Dave Condon | guest Vocals on "Chase The Grain"
Spenser Morris | drum recording
Colin Marston | additional keys, orchestral arrangement, percussion, engineering and producing,

Review:

To get to the heart of the matter; Panopticon’s newest album ‘Roads to the North’ is fantastic. It even beats 2012’s classic ‘Kentucky’, which would seem impossible until you’ve listened to it. ‘Kentucky’ introduced the premise that bluegrass and black metal could coexist harmoniously on a single album, which was certainly a shock the first time I’d listened to it. The question that I had before listening to ‘Roads to the North’ was how much further the idea could be taken. There are certainly albums where a band or artist stumbles on to something special and they ultimately decide to just do that same thing again. That isn’t the case here.

The album kicks off with the sort of blasting combined with folk string instrumentation that Nokturnal Mortum has played with since Nechrist, and it works exceedingly well. In fact, all of the folk and bluegrass elements present on ‘Kentucky’ are factored in much more smoothly on this album. You might say the difference, if you’ll excuse the bizarre analogy, mirrors the changes in Luke Skywalker from ‘Empire Strikes Back’ to ‘Return of the Jedi’. In ‘Empire’, Luke was a wild-eyed hero with unlimited potential, but in desperate need of discipline to channel all of that talent. In ‘Jedi’, Luke was supremely confident, more restrained, but not without fits of passion. The same can be said of Austin Lunn’s growth from ‘Kentucky’ into ‘Roads to the North’, both as a song-writer and as a musician. Perhaps a more relevant comparison would be the change in Emperor and in Ihsahn in particular from ‘In the Nightside Eclipse’ to ‘Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk’.

The starkest shift in overall direction comes in the form of the inclusion of melodic death metal riffing; not unlike At the Gates circa Terminal Spirit Disease and Grand Grimoire era God Dethroned. It’s a new song-writing ingredient that actually may be a stroke of genius because it flows so well with the melodic black metal and it breaks up all of the open chords and folk elements with something that damn-near requires headbanging. It helps that the “Gothenburg style” has had some time to heal its wounds and catch its wind after scores of bands ran it into the ground ten-plus years ago.

As far as other new elements, “The Long Road Part 2: Capricious Miles” has an extended mid-section that swims the same waters as Damnation era Opeth (“Windowpane” and the quieter moments of “Deliverance” to be specific). Here to, the choice to spend several minutes in a softer dynamic, without utilizing the acoustic guitar/banjo/fiddle that makes up a healthy portion of the album’s softer sections gave me the sense that there’s still plenty of territory Lunn is willing to explore and that the best may not be behind us after all.

If you’d rather look at Panopticon 2014 in a macro sense; Austin Lunn is a song-writer worthy of adoration. He has found an ultra-unique voice within an ever-broadening black metal landscape. If you take a step back, you could probably make the case that Lunn is right at the top of the list of most talented metal musicians in the United States at this moment. I certainly wouldn’t argue against that. ‘Roads to the North’ is his finest album to date and despite my general distaste for albums longer than 50 minutes, this album warrants its seventy four minute run time. Only time can truly be the judge of things like this, but I see no reason why ‘Roads to the North’ won’t be seen as a classic album as the years go by.

Words by: Daniel Jackson


You can pick up a copy here and here



For more information:


Keitzer - The Last Defence (Album Review)


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 18/7/2014
Label: FDA Recotz/7Degree Records

‘The Last Defence’ CD/DD/LP track listing:

01). Bellum Indicere 01:36
02). Exist To Destroy 01:00
03). This Is The Only Solution 02:47
04). Forever War 03:17
05). Marching Forward To Victory 03:35
06). The Last Defence 03:10
07). Next Offensive 02:46
08). We Are The Serpents Of Doom 02:12
09). Fleshcrawl 04:20
10). Todgeweiht 01:10
11). Glorious Dead 03:21
12). Ausgelöscht 01:45
13). Crusade 03:38
14). ... Before Annihilation 01:58

The Band

Christian Silva Chaco | vocals
Nicolai Hinse | guitar
Michael Dölle | guitar
Simon Venig | bass
Tim Terhechte | drums

Review:

German death/grind destroyers Keitzer return with fourteen tracks of brutal carnage. The boxes are all ticked: instrumental to start, then straight into some speedy and expertly played grind with ‘Exist To Destroy’.This is The Only Solution’ keeps energy levels high and pedal mostly to the metal before the rather unexpected acoustic intro ofForever War’. Normal blasting duty resumes and the band play like Bolt Thrower on amphetamine.

‘Marching Forward To Victory’ starts with a rather foreboding riff and the band push for glory with time changes and double bass drums aplenty thereafter. The production is nice- boxy and compressed and heavier than that description makes it sound!

‘The Last Defence’ continues the war-like themes. Blasts contribute to a veritable maelstrom of noise before a classic breakdown rears its head. An excellent passage of guitar work follows and you can imagine the damage this assault would do to a live audience.

Overall, the tracks are relatively short and sweet- lots of ideas in each, mind and ‘Next Offensive’ is no exception. Different pacing means that the whole record is not just mired in hyper speed‘We Are The Serpents of Doom’ is not doom. It is very fast. It is also quite catchy and the riffing is excellent.

‘Fleshcrawl’ is the album's epic at 4.20 and delivers lots of changes and skull rattling bass in that time.  ‘Todgeweiht’ is just over a minute of aural bullying before ‘Glorious Dead’ brings an unusual ¾ feel to the riff.  ‘Ausgeloscht’ is furious but not all fast with nice guitar interplay in the middle section.

‘Crusade’ follows with a cool opening riff and that bass tone underpinning it all. The drums are very well played throughout- fast and accurate- which is no mean feat with this type of material. The dryness of the drum sound would have exposed lesser players' sloppiness- but there are no such problems here.  Indeed, the closing...Before Annihilation’ positively motors along with accurate and speedy blasts and picking the order of the day.

If you like this genre, you cannot fail to enjoy this record. Great sound, great riffs and a tight band playing at the top of their game, Keitzer is the real deal. If you enjoy anything from Bolt Thrower to Nails, you will find much up your strasse to like.

Words by: Richard Maw

You can pick up a copy here

For more information:


Live Review: Trudger, Swinelord. The Unicorn, Camden, London, UK. 20/08/2014


Many small bands stop off at The Unicorn on national tours. Its perfectly sized stage can accommodate the usual 5 members with plenty of space for movement, while its well above average sound system makes for quality shows.  Fully aware that the awesome Church Of Fuck band Trudger were playing I was unsure if I was going to make it due to tiredness, but went along anyway to support one of my current favourite bands.

They pulled in a great sized crowd for a Wednesday night. It seemed like a lot of people there were quite familiar with the material as well as people were nodding along and air guitaring to the particularly technical sections.

And really that’s what Trudger is about. It’s the flitterings of technicality amongst the barrage of brutality that make Trudger’s signature sound so recognisable. They perfectly place hard riffs into sludgy guitar work and end up with really solid, moving compositions. The songs progress and build up really well over their duration, while the vocals hold down that rhythmic death metal vibe. Having the secondary vocals over really heavy bits adds that edge to the sometimes-buried low register growl.

Sound wise these guys are probably the best I’ve heard at The Unicorn. A lot of time had obviously been spent perfecting the guitar tones to provide meaty chords with the ability to switch to precise single string work when the time called. The trance inducing sections of feedback and tribal like tom work from the drummer absolutely transported you away from your spot in the audience, a full body experience indeed.

A heavy contrast from the slower paced Trudger, Power Violence quartet Swinelord had the headlining slot of the evening. Made up of the bassist (now on guitar) and singer plus different bassist and drummer, these guys had quite the presence too them.

I have to say, Power Violence and Crust Punk/ Metal are not something I’m too familiar with. I’m all for noisy metal, but when there is no perceivable beat to follow, it all gets a bit lost on me. They seemed to be tight with each other, but it was the kind of tight that comes from vibing off each other as opposed to say, following the drummer. The people in the audience seemed to love it however and a pretty stoney drunk mosh pit started when they got going.

With so many fast transitions of really fast riffage going into heavy doom inspired drawn out sections, the music could be likened to Grindcore but with emphasis on the punk and hardcore side as opposed to the death metal side. The lack of a tight beat to follow just threw me though, especially as we had just watched a band who’s meticulously planned compositions were on the absolute other end of the scale.

All in all though I had a great time at the show. Swinelord were the perfect marriage of fun chaotic music with awesome presence and attitude while Trudger as polar opposites were serene and thought provoking. Thank for reading Y’all!

Words by: Asher G. Alexander.

Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden (Album Review)



Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 25/8/2014
Label: Profound Lore Records

“Foundations of Burden” CD/DD/LP tracklisting

1.Worlds Apart 10:16
2.Foundations 8:41
3.Watcher In The Dark 10:40
4.The Ghost I Used To Be 10:17
5.Ashes 3:19
6.Vanished 11:41

Bio:

Pallbearer is a metal band from Central Arkansas, formed in 2008 after spending time playing in various bands around the Little Rock underground metal scene. Paying homage to doom metal of old while still looking wholly forward, the band built upon the underground success of their initial demo offering in 2010 and their debut full length "Sorrow and Extinction" was released in February, 2012 to virtually universal critical acclaim. Now the band slowly marches onward to deliver its progressively-tinged beautiful gloom on a global scale.


The Band:

Brett Campbell | Lead vocals, guitar
Devin Holt | Guitar, vocals on songs 1 & 3
Joseph D. Rowland | Bass guitar, piano/Rhodes/analog synthesizer, vocals on songs 1, 4, 5
Mark Lierly | Drums

Review:

Pallbearer hails from the small southern city of Little Rock, Arkansas, a town known for its historic desegregation battles, its rampant gang violence, and for being the birthplace of former U.S. President, Bill Clinton. Arkansas is one of those states that is often overlooked in the United States, even by its fellow southern neighbors. Generally the only time it receives any attention is when it’s launched into the national spotlight for something negative, like racism, intolerance, or injustice.

Anyone remember the West Memphis Three?

In learning that Pallbearer comes from Arkansas, it occurred to me that I’ve never really heard of very many bands or musicians coming from there, (Johnny Cash is one notable exception, as are Pallbearer’s fellow doomsters, Rwake.) This got me wondering what it’s like to grow up in a place that gets such a bad rep, particularly if you’re a young guy in a heavy band. In the case of Pallbearer, it would appear that writing loud, pummelling music with an underlying melancholy would be the natural inclination.

The band’s latest album, the aptly named “Foundations of Burden,” is a six song, hour-long journey into some rather depressive territory, but the band’s penchant for heaviness and intensity keeps the record from being excessively mopey. As soon as the opening track, “Worlds Apart,” kicks in with a heavily reverbed, modal guitar riff, the first thing you’ll notice is the fantastic production. Whereas their debut release, “Sorrow and Extinction,” relied on more of a direct in-your-face production style, “Foundations of Burden” is an album where the sound is so deep it sounds like you could swim in it, live inside of it, or throw a rock down into it and have it fall forever. Significant shifts in production can often be a risky manoeuvre for bands, but Pallbearer seems like a group that is very self aware in terms of their sound and how it is translated to their listeners.

Credit must be given to singer/guitarist, Brett Campbell. He is a strong vocalist and his singing style is a considerable part of what makes Pallbearer stand apart from other groups of their ilk. Campbell keeps his vocals on the melodic side, which is a good accompaniment to the band’s funereal guitar tones. He soars distinctively over the thick riffing of “Foundations,” which may be the heaviest track on the album. Fans of rhythmic, low-tuned, palm muted guitars should really go for this one. As is the case with most of Pallbearer’s material, “Foundations” is a pretty lengthy tune, (although it is one of the shortest on the album.) It has a nice breakdown into a melodic bridge with some atmospheric guitar effects before the heaviness comes back into the foreground.

Perhaps the strongest moment on the album, or even arguably the best moment of Pallbearer’s career, is “The Ghost I Used to Be.” This song will surely be a fan favorite and will more than likely find its way on to many a playlist. The title alone grabs one’s attention. It begins with a fierce riff and immediately segues into a downcast tone, creating a balance between the lumbering riffs and the quieter “starlight” guitar tones. It’s the kind of song that could be seen as a melancholic anthem, a similar formula that was utilized in a lot of strong releases from last year from groups like Beastmilk and In Solitude, (although Pallbearer’s approach is, naturally, much heavier.)

The loud/quiet/detuned/melodic aspects of “The Ghost I Used to Be” is also not dissimilar to what a lot of great bands used to do back in the ‘90s, but Pallbearer very much succeeds in keeping their style in the here and now, and doesn’t sound anything remotely like a throwback band.

All in all, “Foundations of Burden” is a fine offering from these fan favorites. Because the band is inclined to epic song structures, Pallbearer is probably a group that sufferers of short attention spans should avoid. They are also the sort of group who’d have a difficult time convincing extreme metal listeners to get behind what they do. However, it’s highly unlikely that those who favor a standard song format, or those who enjoy guttural abrasiveness, would seek out a band like Pallbearer. They may have come from humble beginnings in their home state of Arkansas, but with the amount of praise they’ve received, along with their ever increasing fan base, Pallbearer is a band who should enjoy reaping the rewards of the seeds they’ve sown, both at home and far away from those southern fields they’ve known.

Words by: Erik Sugg

You can pick up a copy here