Review : Pallbearer - Sorrow and Extinction
PitchforkDoom is a broad category, one of those descriptors that needs an extra word like "stoner," "funeral," "sludge," "death," or "drone" to help narrow things down a little. It can bring to mind the slower, low-tuned psychedelic metal of post-Sabbath American groups like Saint Vitus, Trouble, and Pentagram along with Sweden's Candlemass, UK act Cathedral, and descendants who are crustier (YOB, Asunder), more flatlining (Sunn O)))), seemingly suicidal (LOSS), and exceedingly smoked-up (Sleep). Then come the backward-glancing modern traditionalists like weathered North Carolina crew Hour of 13, Rhode Island upstarts Pilgrim, and now, even more gloriously, Pallbearer.
The Little Rock, Ark., quartet sounds much older than its years on its fantastic debut LP, Sorrow and Extinction. The band released a three-song demo in 2010, but reach greater heights here, due to both sharper songwriting and better production. Really, even though they end their Sorrow thank-you list with a blushing "and, of course, Black Sabbath," they go much deeper than that. You could throw in Saint Vitus and early Candlemass (1986's Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, especially), but it almost makes more sense to reference post-Sleep duo Om for the way each song insistently, specifically reaches for a focused transcendence. That said, there's more variation and catharsis here, despite the occasional Mick Barr/all-nighter riffing. It seems like a simple formula, and maybe it is, but the execution's flawless. It also shifts subtly and continually: They mix in psychedelia, 1970s prog melodies, clean vocal harmonies, and ambient keyboards without sacrificing a certain smoked-up genre purity.
We get five songs in just under 50 minutes, each mountain of slow, majestic chords bleeding into one glorious cathedral of riffs and soaring vocals. Here is where their insistence on an overall flow pays off. The longest and best piece is the scene-setting opener, "Foreigner". It starts with tentative, pretty nylon-stringed acoustic guitars that, after two minutes, are joined by carefully played, delicate drums until everything crashes with a huge distorted crescendo. The riffs are beautiful and memorable, somehow both gentle and crushing, but the real key here is vocalist (and guitarist) Brett Campbell, who I first heard via his soaring (and surprising) guest spot on LOSS' beautifully bleak 2011 collection, Despond, an album that more usually features a guttural vocal gargle....full text
SputnikmusicPallbearer hails from Little Rock, Arkansas and includes members of the bands SPORTS and Deadbird. Arkansas has created quite a scene over the past 10 years with the bands mentioned above as well as Rwake. These Arkansas doomsters started creating a lot of buzz when they were signed to Profound Lore last year, and the 2010 demo came to light for the rest of the world. The 2010 demo made doom fans excited for what was to come, and fans anxiously awaited their Profound Lore debut. Now, that we have Sorrow and Extinction within our grasp, the melancholy and sorrowful atmosphere presented will bring clarity and happiness into new life created.
Sorrow and Extinction starts off with, "Foreigner,"a 12:23 journey into sadness and death. The recording almost sounds like it was done in a church, or a hall. For example, the vocals have an adequate level of reverb mixed with a touch of delay to make them sound distant and disconnected with the music, but in a positive way. When you combine the distant and disconnected vocal recording with Brett Campbell's melodic and sorrowful cries, it sounds beautiful when mixed with the guitars, bass, and drums. Which brings us to the music, the guitars sound heavy and provide excellent textures between the harmonies and melodies. "The Legend" and "An Offering of Grief" are perfect songs to demonstrate the well-crafted melodies and harmonies that Pallbearer execute flawlessly. As far as the drums and bass, they are the backbone that supports the heaviness and power, the slow and dynamic of force of the melodies, the riffs, the song structures, and Brett Campbell's voice. Without them, the songs would not sound as organic or natural. With the journey coming to an end, "Given to the Grave" closes the casket to the Sorrow and Extinction. Literally, this song sounds like you are being put to rest indefinitely....full text
AmericanaftermathAnother review on a late night in San Antonio. And this is something I also happened to listen to. Something organic and something meaningful. The debut full length from Arkansas based Pallbearer is pretty much a doom metal album. But its a doom metal album that isn’t afraid to experiment outside of its comfort zone by adding elements of classic rock and progressive elements to its already crushing sound.
I first heard about this band when I heard the vocalist of this band do a guest spot on Loss‘ Despond debut album, and his surging clean vocals grabbed my attention. Then I heard the fine folks at Profound Lore Records signed these guys and now we have this titanous debut album.
Its only 5 tracks deep and it runs at almost 49 minutes in length. But you totally get the absolute best of what this band has to offer. Musically, it verges towards a blending of classic Black Sabbath and Candlemass, and my goodness is it destructive. The beautiful guitar leads wonderful solos, and crushing riffs do so much justice its pretty damn emotional at times. Bass is extremely sneaky and when it creeps up on you, its extremely well played and mixed. Drums are not flashy nor gimmicky, they are methodical and they are as hard hitting as can be. A great sort of tempo throughout. And Brett, their frontman has such a moving and powerful delivery when he sings, its gripping and makes you feel for him as he sings, probably one of 2012′s most meaningful vocal performances....full text
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