Pallbearer
Forgotten Days


3.5
great

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (305 Reviews)
November 4th, 2020 | 49 replies


Release Date: 10/23/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Slightly lost, but never forgotten.

I have to admit, I was pretty sceptical back in the day when I'd first heard about Pallbearer. Reading in my local Metal Hammer magazine about the band's emotional and melancholic fusion of classic prog and doom led me to believe that even before hearing the album, Foundations of Burden wasn't exactly going to be up my alley. It was mostly my fault to be fair, considering the most I'd gotten out of the doom scene in the 21st Century was stoner doom at its most electrifying (Dopethrone), Satanic (Satan Worshipping Doom) or downright miserable (Songs of Darkness, Words of Light). Clearly, I had a lot more to explore in the sub-genre, because upon hearing Pallbearer's sophomore effort, I was guided to giving so many more doom metal releases a deeper focus to see what I could get.

Over the course of the last few months, Forgotten Days may not have resonated well with the masses, but then again isn't this just a sense of dej√°-vu from the initial hype of Heartless? I've seen comments berating the band for being boring, song previews sounding incomplete, even claims that Pallbearer are going through the motions. Whether or not you believe any of these statements from Youtube users, you have to admit that the band's latest full-length is heading for a different direction. In its first couple of minutes, the opening title track has more in common with Crack the Skye -era Mastodon than it does anything on Foundations of Burden. The melodic, heartfelt vocal work naturally reflects the rest of Pallbearer's discography, but something about "Forgotten Days" seems to render it a much more accessible song than at first thought. It doesn't really matter about the length: The song could have lasted 4 minutes and still done the same job. Lyrical focus is clearly key here too. The evocative bellow of "Is this Insanity?/Will They come to take me away?" doesn't exactly dress up its emotional turmoil, nor does the closing sorrow of "I no longer know myself". Such lyrics cut deep and run the course throughout the album, most songs demonstrating the same themes of loss, grief and dealing with the death of loved ones. I'll go as far as to say that this is Pallbearer's most raw and emotional album yet.

Instrumentally is where you may be turned away however. It's not so bad if you've listened to Pallbearer's previous releases and sort of expected the musicianship on display here, but it's definitely unfortunate if you came in expecting more of those golden, peak-hitting moments songs such as "The Ghost I used to Be" or "A Plea for Understanding" demonstrated in spades. And that's the point where I'll stop comparing, because the musicianship on Forgotten Days is sometimes heading for a different direction altogether. Take, for example, "Riverbed" and "Stasis", both of which are considerably shorter than you'd expect a "standard" doom metal song to be in this day and age. With an immediate on winding riff work and almost acoustic strumming in places, both songs seem to aim for an accessible focus which is guaranteed mainstream attention at some point down the line. But it just doesn't seem to fit in with Pallbearer's influences. There's still moments in both of these songs where it seems the band want to embark on a playful voyage into more progressive work, but then "Riverbed" carries on strumming as if to embed itself into your memory, and the synth work of "Stasis" is rendered ineffective. Things get a bit more complacent with the uninspired vocal work towards the end of that track, the unnecessary drone of "sta-a-a-a-a-a-a-sis" clearly intended for the listener to absorb but with little forethought for how the song would end. Indeed, the songwriting in some parts of Forgotten Days just seems incomplete.

Things get better and more cohesive in the second half however, and it's almost projected by the album's longest song by far, "Silver Wings". The song starts with this clearly hard rock-inspired sound, an opening riff which seems to be arguably the most simplistic riff Pallbearer have ever performed. Then things get slightly bizarre with a sudden depression into isolated bass work, and from that point onwards the slow, harmonic slumber evolves. Guitars grind, vocals sneer and soar with equal vigour, and tears are shed. Probably. I don't know about the latter exactly, but "Silver Wings" is definitely a highlight of the album, and it doesn't even do much to detract from those first few songs. Something about it just seems so complete and refined, and the magnetic instrumentation, whilst not anything out of the ordinary, flows so smoothly that the vocal work seems more absorbed into the instrumentation with every growing minute. It's ultimately a "collective" song, one which renders every component of the sound and shows them connecting rather than being placed and left to do the work. Funnily enough, the next song is the album's shortest. "The Quicksand of Existing" isn't as snappy as a sub-4 minute length would have you believe, and for a moment it seems as if the musical direction is to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor. Yet after half a minute, the heaviness picks up and Pallbearer embark on a pacier stomp through more doom-laden territory, complemented by a satisfying lyrical bellow of "Let your struggle go". Alas, if you wanted an impression of Pallbearer at their collective best on Forgotten Days, you'd do best to start with these two songs.

Forgotten Days may not give you the impression of a band at their creative peak, and comparing this album to the band's past also won't do you any favours. Yet the same emotional impact remains, the vocals are still harrowing in all the right ways, and somehow the musical direction still makes Pallbearer seem to stand in a field of their own. No Pallbearer album is for everyone, and the same can be said for the rest of their discography, but it does still deserve a solitary listen.



Recent reviews by this author
DorDeDuh HarAnneke van Giersbergen The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest
Cult of Luna The Raging RiverTherion Leviathan
Ricinn NereidJohn Petrucci Terminal Velocity
user ratings (146)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
November 4th 2020


2646 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

c/c welcome as always.



Trying to get back into a reviewing flow, but I enjoyed writing this one. A little longer than I originally intended, but I felt everything I wanted to say is said.

Digging: Yoo Doo Right - Don't Think You Can Escape Your Purpose

cloakanddagger
November 4th 2020


461 Comments


"Mastodon-era Crack the Skye"

This should say Crack the Skye-era Mastodon.

Other than that review is good. Definitely surprised by the negative reception this album got, I thought it sounded like a continuation of the direction they were going with on Heartless and it's still pretty good.

Archelirion
November 4th 2020


6275 Comments


yoooooooooooooo grats on the 300th review man
i'm sure this can't be too bad. It's Pallbearer, after all. Nice writeup :]

Slex
November 4th 2020


11506 Comments


Haven't listened to anything else from this band but I LOVE this album so if THIS is boring by their standards then I can't imagine how good the rest of their stuff is gonna be

Digging: The Raging Nathans - Waste My Heart

Azog
November 4th 2020


505 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Loved their previous stuff. This, however, just doesn't quite cut it.

Digging: Portal - Avow

DarkNoctus
November 5th 2020


11529 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

compositionally bland and produced like absolute shit

bigguytoo9
November 5th 2020


1048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this record personally. Randall Dunn did a good job on the mix IMO. I can see how others would be bored though.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2020


16217 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Congrats on your 300 review, that's a lot of writing ;)

Digging: Helloween - Helloween

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2020


14307 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Congrats on your 300 review, that's a lot of writing ;) [2]





This album didn't really hit me in the feels like i wanted it to.

Digging: Diskord - Degenerations

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2020


2646 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Congrats on your 300 review



Funnily enough I didn't notice this until I saw your guys' comments just now haha.

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2020


14307 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

#300's special, even by sput's standards. There's not too many who can boast the milestone.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2020


16217 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'll probably get there in 2035.

JeremiahBullfrog
November 5th 2020


1058 Comments


Pallsmoker

DDDeftoneDDD
November 5th 2020


17391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I came to like this album, but its a weird one fs



TKS for the rev. Gonna read it asap.

Digging: Seputus - Phantom Indigo

DDDeftoneDDD
November 5th 2020


17391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

300 revs WTF! congrats

DarkNoctus
November 5th 2020


11529 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

"Randall Dunn did a good job on the mix IMO."



sure if 'feels like you're listening under a pillow' is your game, it's brickwalled to death

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2020


8042 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

yo grats on the milestone



album was aight but kinda bleh at the same time

DDDeftoneDDD
November 5th 2020


17391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The opener, Silver Wings, the duo "The Quicksand of Existing+Vengeance&Ruination" and Caledonia are all sweet tunes imo...those tracks I really hold on to here, personally.

DarkNoctus
November 5th 2020


11529 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

riverside is the only one that really stuck with me. silver wings is a nice tune when it's on but man, that production destroys this record.

DDDeftoneDDD
November 5th 2020


17391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I kinda get what you are saying(?) is not a good album to defend in that matter...dig lot Pallbearer lately and this is prob my least fave ahah



" is a nice tune when it's on"

ahaha aaaight I felt the similarly on Bell Witch's colab, but oh boy I was floored.



I guess it depends on how you take those prod issues...cause this sure isn't no Gold&Grey, now that one is unlistenable



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy