Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Review: Pallbearer - Sorrow And Extinction

 So far, 2012's offering of the newest names in doom metal has seen the highest amounts of praise go towards bands that believe in regression and so take the genre back to it's original roots of the 1970s and add their own sense of grandeur and sweeping performance to the mix. Misery Wizard, the debut from Rhode Island's Pilgrim has been the most effective example of this so far, although one cannot help but feel that it received a little more praise than it was really worth. A lot of the times the album felt a little hollow. That's my honest opinion there. And it is also in my opinion that a band that are much more worthy of praise are new American doomsters, Pallbearer.

 The Arkansas quartet have managed to take very traditional doom metal into their own hands and make it their very own as they make full use of the varying range of doom metal elements and take it to new emotional depths and the range of style found on their five track debut Sorrow And Extinction proves this with ease. The relentlessly somber The Legend and An Offering of Grief are much more suited in the realms of sludge doom in their relentlessly sluggish delivery which manage to capture the minds of listeners with the dazzling sensation of being dragged along with the gritty riffs from frontman Brett Campbell and Devin Holt which are soaked in distortion and scuzzy fury into otherworldly realms coated in phantasmagorical darkness. While there's little of a pick-up in pace throughout the album, there is more melody injected within Devoid of Redemption which gives it more of a stoner doom reminiscence. The heaviness provided in the dual guitar attacks with fuzz and phaser playing full effect which is vital in building up a mass atmosphere of constant extremity with a trippy edge which manages to be simultaneously thrilling through it's monolithic playing.
 The vocal performance of Campbell is one that truly epitomizes the group's emotional impact and the constant comparisons to a young Ozzy Osbourne couldn't be more accurate; perhaps without the double O's nasal style and Campbell's ability to execute the vocals with a much greater poetic charm which really heightens the sense of awe and hard-hitting tragedy that comes with the deathly impact which questions the type of outlook on life we ought to adopt.
 However, it's the emotional impact that Pallbearer unleash on this album that makes it such a special listening experience because musically and lyrically it sees the group doing so much more than simply lurking about in doom and gloom. Even when managing to create an atmosphere of absolute bleakness and despair, the band still manage to sail through with a sense of triumph; Sorrow and Extinction is an album that laughs in the face of death.

 Pallbearer's Sorrow And Extinction is out now via Profound Lore Records.

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