We think sometimes that if a band went back to sounding like what they were like when we first heard them every thing would be right in the world. But growth is important and the best bands take us along for that ride. Pallbearer has been so far from traditional doom now that when they return to it on the title track that opens their new album , it confuses me. I speed the first few minutes think wait this is way Sabbathy for them what happened to the shoegazing. They do have a melodic middle section that is more like something from "Heartless" . The production is much rougher around the edges. This album has a raw density to it. There are some of the newer more relaxed sides of the band amid this more doomy raw rock dynamic for "Riverbad" .It doesn't feel as inspired on the second listen I give this album. Before we go any further let me stress that this album should be heard with head phones.
Three songs in and it's clear this is going to be a heavier album than "Heartless" . There is a more rock swagger to some of the punches. They still have their angular puzzle of churning riffs. Brett Campbell's voice is more confident as it raises over the weight of the riffs. It also sits back more in the guitars . This allows the guitars to be more of a focal point thus adding to the weight of their riffs. The guitars sound great and really surround you with an organic warmth to their tone. "Silver Wings" is going to take more listens to fully absorb. The drums are going alot around it even though it's moving at a pace closer to funeral doom. At 12 minutes this is also the longest song. The first song that really grips me is "the Quicksand of Existing" it has a very powerful chug . Bret's vocals sound great against it .
The heaviness does not stop there. They pound at you going into "Vengence & Ruination" . It is just weird to hear them playing within the confines of what you expect from doom after they have wandered so far out of the box. I think it's Campbell's vocals that sell me on these songs. I like the effects on them going into "Rite of Passage" which is straight up heavy metal , but incredibly well done. He uses a more relaxed vocal tone on the verses of the last song. This works well as it provides a dynamic shift. There have been synths coloring the corners the songs, but they are more noticeable here. While this return to the "Sorrow & Extinction" days took some getting used to at the end of the days these are great songs and I will give this album a 9.5.
I could not wait and save this for the month of doom coming in just over a week, but if you are a fan of these guys check back with us for our November is Doom month.