Pallbearer
Heartless


4.5
superb

Review

by Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (187 Reviews)
March 28th, 2017 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Heartless" is a modern classic of its genre.

Unusually, in an age where bands can spend up to a decade gradually digging their way through underground obscurity, Arkansas’ sombre quartet Pallbearer promptly broke the hardened surface of mainstream familiarity after their passionately received debut album, “Sorrow and Extinction”, dropped in 2012. Blending enchantments of hope and optimism with grim solemnity, Pallbearer projects a sorrowful soundscape that has a simultaneously heart-warming and soul-destroying impact on people. Continuing this unique style, but ever evolving, Pallbearer now drives their reputation into newer realms with their third album, “Heartless”.

As well as creating a brilliant album, Pallbearer thwarts the dreaded expectation that followed 2014’s stellar “Foundations of Burden”. Rather than simply build on this foundation, making the subsequent album sound the same, only bigger and better, Pallbearer opts to broaden their creative minds even further. “Lie of Survival” is a delicate track where Devin Holt’s sparsely-decorated guitars drift around waves of subtle psychedelic synthesiser- even as the main riff kicks in, the pace retains a slow, contemplative tempo. The echoing effect that Brett Campbell’s vocals use throughout the album creates a churchlike quality to them, enhancing the comforting aura that Pallbearer establishes. This effect is most triumphant in the album closer: “A Plea for Understanding”. Standing at nearly 13 minutes, the song is dedicated to ending the album with an emotionally crushing climax. Hopeful melodies dance and twist around the melancholy riffs and, with Campbell’s isolated echoing voice and yearning lyrics, Pallbearer evokes a feeling of sincere adoration and suffered acceptance.

Despite these new attributes, this is still a doom record and Pallbearer proves that while they can be moving, they can also be monstrous. Zooming along at the speed of a milk float, “Cruel Road” offers the fastest pace that this album reaches. Lugubrious riffs distort into a thumping rhythm as Mark Lierly’s subtle drum fills and Joseph Rowland’s rumbling bass guide the band along an anchored journey through a brief solo, so fuzzy that it sounds like a dive-bombing Spitfire, and back out again. Opening the album and neatly balancing Pallbearer’s typical characteristics with their latest styles, “I Saw The End” fluctuates between pitter-patter prog rock interplay and slumped doom-ridden riffs. Fans of Pallbearer are even assured that “Heartless” is still truly a doom album before listening to it as “Heartless” is subtitled: “A long playing record by…” above the album art.

If there is one negative to pick from “Heartless”, it is that Pallbearer occasionally draws heavy influences from their peers and inject it into their own spacious sound. The structure and atmosphere of “Dancing in Madness” is reminiscent of the title track to My Dying Bride’s “The Dreadful Hours” from the innocent introduction to the deep, commanding grooves, all while maintaining the distraught, cavernous aura that My Dying Bride are renowned for. Furthermore, a murky Sleep/Electric Wizard quality emerges in the solos during “Thorns” and “Cruel Road” that contradict Pallbearer’s cleaner aesthetic. It’s interesting to hear these influences interpreted in Pallbearer’s dialect however for a band as imaginative as them, they don’t need to rely on influences from others.

“Heartless” is a modern classic for its genre. Pallbearer nail exactly what successful doom metal should be: the songs don’t drag along motionlessly and they’re drenched in atmosphere and wreathed in honest emotion. Additionally, the production is fantastic so all these attributes coexist synchronously. Doubtless, this album can only propel Pallbearer further in their primacy over the underground scene.



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user ratings (340)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (4)
I think Pallbearer may still be in my “appreciation” box but Heartless is the most engaging albu...

TrueVoice (4.5)
Endings, thorns, lies, madness, and cruelty. What's not to like?...

Dedes (4.5)
Lay to rest your troubled mind...

Phishstixxx (3.5)
For a doom metal record, Heartless is rich with moments of joy and triumph, however its emotional im...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Chamberbelain
Contributing Reviewer
March 28th 2017


94 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wasn’t going to write a review of this seeing as everyone has the same sort of view of it but hey ho here you go.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2017


7877 Comments


Heard only bits of the album opener; vocals are tremendously improved.

Digging: Sally Dige - Holding On

rockandmetaljunkie
March 28th 2017


7367 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ that's true, especially for Brett Campbell

Evok
March 28th 2017


7206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Another review for this damn thing. Jesus. At least your reviews are pretty well awesome every time!

Digging: Ritual Necromancy - Disinterred Horror

Chamberbelain
Contributing Reviewer
March 28th 2017


94 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If you think there are too many reviews for this, just wait till the new Mastodon drops... Thank you though!

Evok
March 28th 2017


7206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ahhahaha good point!! This is defs better than that hot topic swill though! Jk its not that bad, but its no better than anything else theyve done post-Crack The Skye thats for sure.

Dewinged
March 29th 2017


10431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You end up reviewing all my fave albums Chamber. Hard pos man, quality review as always.

Digging: Black Fast - Spectre of Ruin

EvoHavok
March 29th 2017


7566 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Loved the album. Nice review!

Chamberbelain
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2017


94 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Dewinged, you must have great taste too. Finishing my Mastodon one for Friday. Hopefully, you'll like it as much as the others. Cheers again!

rockandmetaljunkie
March 29th 2017


7367 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Another review for this damn thing"



there will be one more at least ;)

Dewinged
March 29th 2017


10431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Looking forward to it!

DungeonBoy
March 29th 2017


4273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Can't keep up with all of these reviews! this one's good though. Really digging this album. Might be my favorite, but gotta let it sink in a little more.

Digging: Prisoner - Beyond the Infinite

Dedes
March 29th 2017


5810 Comments


"Wasn’t going to write a review of this seeing as everyone has the same sort of view of it but hey ho here you go."

Dude it's fine your reviews are constantly on point. The milk float comparison was a little odd though lol. Really hope they flag your review dude, you did an awesome job!

Dedes
March 29th 2017


5810 Comments


Also that weird Tool-esque bridge off the first track might be one of my favorite parts of this record.

Lythelus
March 31st 2017


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Noice review man, album is the shit. pos

Flugmorph
March 31st 2017


18462 Comments


im finding this pretty boring for the most part sadly. Remember enjoying their music more in the past.

Digging: Minoru Muraoka - Bamboo

Evok
March 31st 2017


7206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Its better the second time around

JWT155
March 31st 2017


14063 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think a few of the songs are over drawn out a bit, but I kinda like it.

Flugmorph
March 31st 2017


18462 Comments


kinda like it
4.5

DungeonBoy
March 31st 2017


4273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's okay



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