Friday, March 1, 2013
Pallbearer live @ the Earl 2013
It was a strange night, on average I would say for the size of the venue the Earl normally has superior sound to other clubs ... 529, the Masquerade and the Drunken Unicorn granted I can name the metal bands I have seen there on one hand ...Agalloch, Russian Circles, High on Fire and Kylesa so something with a delicate balance like Pallbearer's urgent but subdued vocals set against the wall of doom fuzz but I'm getting ahead of myself for the weird ness started with the odd mix of local bands that set the tone.
Halmos was up first, fairly run of the mill sludge oriented metal but with barked vocals that blurred into monotony within two songs. They were tight and the drummer was capable but songs lacked dynamics and the two guitarists doubled each other more often than not when layers might have provided a broader range of sound.
Manray the better of the two local bands seemed an odd choices they were closer to These Arms Are Snakes or Botch in their sinewy stab at math rock. They had more of a punk attitude to offset the Mathy riffing, the vocals the weak spot here as they took a more punk approach to what the first band did, more shouted though and doubled by the bass player who had a little more of a growl, while they had some really cool parts I wouldn't say they had good songs as how they crafted them together was done with little melodic intent and they worked off of just exploding out of sections and became formulaic. I'd be willing to give them another shot In hopes they build of the parts I liked.
The fact I had been anticipating seeing these guys for some time and the high regard I had for their full length which was one of the best albums to come out last year, so the bar was raised. I think their own only fault might have been not compromising on their stage volume which the venue was unprepared for. This would be the Earls fault for the vocals were inaudible for most of the set . It should have been worked out in sound check, isn't that what they are for, oh here this this loud band people we will paying ten bucks to see and they are the head liners who had a pretty decent draw so it would then be our job to ensure people get what they are paying for.
What we got was a four song set , the vocals non existent . The blood red chords of the singers neck stood out when he launched into the microphone, his lead channel sounded great and their playing kept everyone entertained despite this. It wasn't until the third song that I heard the ghost of his vocals so when I went to the back of the club which was the make out section as the couple by the trash can found that PDA means pallbearer display of affection, I mean they were at it for a good seven minutes and looked like a couple of librarians so their wasn't even any voyeuristic fullfillment from it.
The vocals I did hear in the last song were tuneful and had much better than what I heard when he check the mic when he took the stage it sounded it sounded like his voice might have been worn from the road as there was a rasp to it and it didn't sound like he was comfortable going into his upper range but this was not the case when I finally heard them . The band gets credit for trudging ahead and not letting it become a major set back to their preformance ,the drummer seemed to indicate he wasn't getting enough love in his monitors and the bassist had a glitch before the last song.
I have heard that there was too much jamming at the end but I think the more stoner nature of doom tends to lend itself to that and they should check out Sabbath Bootlegs from the Ozzy years or really the whole second side of the first album was a jam, so I can understand where Pallbearer was coming from here , though regular readers know my love for prog so I'm fine with jamming and wandering out into some looser playing, which I prefer to hear bands playing around and having fun with their songs as if I wanted a carbon copy of the album I'd listen to the cd.
I will wait to make my final judgement on how Pallbearer translates live when I can hear them in a more fitting venue that can accommodate their sound, the situation was more disappointing than the band who's only flaw was not turning down their stage volume, I might have even preferred them breaking out acoustics and hearing the singing than get the hyper metal fuzz shoved in my face and no vocals.