Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., Aug. 22, 2014
PallbearerFoundations of Burden (Profound Lore)
Dinosaur doom needn't sound the same all day, every day. Pallbearer gets this, calmly demonstrating its slow, mournful mastery on second slab Foundations of Burden. The Little Rock, Ark., quartet avoids the sinister reverberation of Black Sabbath and progeny, instead trucking in melancholic self-absorption, majestic tunesmithery, and guitar tones baked hot and fresh. "Watcher in the Dark" evokes the vast mysteries of space and time through a melody by turns somber and soaring, while "The Ghost I Used to Be" surrounds its solipsism with lush heaviness. "Vanished" dives stark naked into the epic prog pool. Brett Campbell and Devin Holt weave woolen tapestries of guitar licks as bassist Joseph D. Rowland and drummer Mark Lierly never stoop to mere thud. Campbell's croon lends unquestioned conviction to even the daftest lyrics he and Rowland concoct. The dolorous gloom of Foundations of Burden should be oppressive, but Pallbearer turns pain into beauty.