Label: Nuclear Blast/Profound Lore
Pallbearer from the exotic Little Rock, Arkansas which holds a tight underground scene, Rwake hails from the same place for that matter, are one of the best doom bands of this decade. They have proved that with two great records, “Sorrow And Extinction” (2012) and “Foundations Of Burden” (2014), numerous successful tours and festival appearances all over the world. What makes them so appealing is the unique approach they have to the genre, which is at the same dynamic and metal enough without losing its lyrical essence and maintaining the characteristics of what makes doom what it is by executing their great songs with efficiency.
In their third record “Heartless”, they show signs of evolution, internal evolution I would say, as the form has not changed, but the songwriting seems to slowly change priorities. They still deliver dynamic guitar based doom in long compositions, a bit looser this time, that take their time to develop and show their full potentials, but the weight seems to shift from the funeral elements towards the progressive side of their music. The riffs have become longer and more circular and there are less chaotic parts where psychedelia was omnipresent. There are also less heartrending parts, although in no sense their music became the background for a wonderful family evening and although the lyrics remain as desperate as one can make them. Pallbearer’s music can be still called funeral doom, especially in songs like “Lie Of Survival” or “Plea For Understanding” that are full of melodies and lyrics that existentialist would love while other songs have a more epic edge like “Cruel Road” with its chorus that give out this particular atmosphere. And they still can create tremendous soundscapes like in “Dancing In Madness”. But all of them have superb flow and a catchy essence that seduce the listeners and make them forget that they are listening to 10-minute long doom epics. So, with a sound range that goes from Warning to Atlantean Kodex, Pallbearer’s overall approach produces a fairly diverse artistic outcome rooted in the negative spectrum of feelings where doom duels. The cover depicts a sitting giant forming a mountain and is far more realistic and earthly than the futuristic ones of their previous two records and the production sounds tailor made for that sound, which is sturdy and heavy, supporting the lyricism of Brett Cambell’s vocals.
“Heartless” surely continues the streak of great releases for Pallbearer, it surely changes the plot a bit, yet it can still be considered another point in this linear continuation and the next steps of the band will reveal if this was a doom trilogy, or the definite sound of the band that will be enriched and enlarged as this record was compared its predecessors. In any case Pallbearer have established themselves even more with this release, a fine and fresh doom sound for the lost souls.