Genre: Doom Metal
Hailing from Little Rock. Arkansas, the palpable presence known as Pallbearer continue their path of becoming one of the most creative forces in metal. With a mixed bag of influences that range from doom-metal, prog-rock, stoner-rock, and hard-rock. The band were critically acclaimed for their previous album Foundations Of Burden back in 2014, with rave reviews as one of the most well executed metal releases that year. So how have they done with Heartless in terms of following a special album such as that?
If you've never heard Pallbearer before, then you might not exactly get them straight away, or you might fall in love after hearing album opener 'I Saw The End', which is a wonderful introduction to the band and what they do best. Their sound is lush, rhythmic and at certain times beautifully mellow. The perfect setting for listening to this album for the first time would probably be somewhere quiet, lying down and with no interruptions, so you can take every single moment in.
The guitar tones that they use make you feel warm and fuzzy, whilst also being infectious and catchy. The music sludges along to the beat and in the same song the band can erupt into a dense, groove oriented heavy metal rhythm, perfectly demonstrated by the song 'Dancing In Madness.' Pallbearer never sound hurried in their approach nor do they become stagnant. There's no question that legendary and timeless bands like Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd have helped shape their sound. The lengthy but majestic album closer 'A Plea for Understanding' is extremely accessible and easy to digest for any listener, showcasing their melancholy musicianship and impressive vocals.
The enormous sounding production on Heartless might be one of the albums only downfalls, purely because at times it seems overpolished. Sometimes it's good to have a bit of grit and imperfection when it comes to this style of music, but the gloom and raw emotion you hear trumps any sort of second guessing. Pallbearer are heading towards big things with this third release, and as a band still early in their career it's definitely exciting to think of what they may achieve given they continue to make incredible music like this.
4 out 5 stars.
Hearltess is out now via Nuclear Blast Records, you can purchase on iTunes or stream on Spotify.