Arkansas' doom-metal quartet Pallbearer, led by
guitarist Devin Holt and vocalist Brett Campbell,
tried to revitalize a genre that was rapidly becoming a self-parody but
the double-LP Sorrow And Extinction (20 Buck Spin, 2012)
only yielded mixed results, with the
stately Foreigner (12:23) a bit too derivative of Black Sabbath
and the various attempts to mix folk and ambient elements a bit too
amateurish. What certainly stood out was the melodic and emotional skills,
something usually missing from the genre.
A cleaner, sharper and slicker sound on
Foundations Of Burden (Profound Lore Records, 2014), featuring
new drummer Mark Lierly, went for the mainstream.
The poppy pomp Worlds Apart has more in common with the worst excesses of Rush than with the doom classics;
and the second half of Watcher In The Dark is basically a slow-motion cover of your favorite pop-metal hit.
The problem is that the result is neither doom nor pop nor anything of substance, as the tedious litany Foundations amply proves.
To their credit, the way they develop and end the
funereal march of Vanished (something that we have heard a thousand
times) is original and moving.
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