Loading...
 

Pallbearer lets in the light

Arkansas metal band looks beyond doom on 'Foundations of Burden'

Thirty-five seconds into Pallbearer's sophomore album, Foundations of Burden, the Little Rock, Ark., metal quartet announces an aesthetic shift: "Without light, the dark encloses all," guitarist Brett Campbell sings in "Worlds Apart." The group's 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction, was an exceedingly dark album. Foundations of Burden reveals light at the end of the tunnel, while remaining burlier yet more graceful than its predecessor. This dichotomy simmers in the psychedelic middle passage of "Worlds Apart" and drips from Campbell's skyscraping vocals on "Watcher in the Dark." It's soaked into the somber lurch of "Vanished" and courses through the towering guitars of "The Ghost I Used to Be."

Bassist Joseph D. Rowland calls these moments "letting the light in" while explaining how Pallbearer has gravitated toward cleaner guitar tones that showcase the intricacies of the band's sound.

Portland-based producer Billy Anderson, known for his work with heavy titans such as Sleep, Neurosis, and the Melvins, along with more subtle indie acts such as Jawbreaker was an accomplice.

"Before we even went in to record, just over the past year, we've been working on stuff that would emphasize all the notes instead of it just being a sledgehammer power chord," Rowland says. "You want to hear all the layers in there. Billy immediately latched on to that."

Rowland continues: "Billy was emphatic about how much drama there was in the music we had written, and he wanted to emphasize that. I think he had an idea of what he wanted to do before he'd even heard the songs, and it turned out that what we had written fit really well with what he had hoped that he would get to do."

The result: More room for Pallbearer's other interests to bloom.

Rowland has cited an array of influences, from Black Sabbath, Camel, and Alice in Chains to Ennio Morricone, Popol Vuh, and Boston. Pallbearer's combination of musical acumen and faith in its own vision gives the band an opportunity to look beyond metal's ceiling. "I don't think anybody's pretending we're cult anymore," Rowland says. "It would be absurd to try to play ourselves off like that. I have no interest in the cult metal scene. It's just another spin on elitism. I have no shame in the fact that I love Boston. Good music is going to be what it is. Whether people think we're good or not, we're writing music that's at least good to us."

It's an enlightened view, and with enlightenment, the darkness fades, and the path to world domination is much easier to follow.



More By This Writer

Article

Wednesday November 13, 2019 12:20 pm EST
A selection of what to see in Atlanta this month | more...

Article

Tuesday January 8, 2019 09:40 am EST
Northwest Georgia’s latest country star is on the rise | more...

Article

Thursday December 6, 2018 09:38 am EST
The Whiskey Gentry bids farewell, Lauren Morrow goes solo | more...

Article

Friday August 24, 2018 03:24 pm EDT

In 2010, Rob Josephs was burnt out on living in New York City when he decided to visit some old college friends in Atlanta and catch a couple concerts by Wilco and My Morning Jacket. Soon after, he relocated permanently, with his car, his guitar and an idea for a band — and not much else.

“Rob shows up with a guitar and says, ‘We’re in a band,’” says Michael Barnhart, who lived down the hall...

| more...

Article

Tuesday March 6, 2018 11:51 am EST
Tal National celebrates the Nigerien sound | more...
Search for more by Ben Salmon

[Admin link: Pallbearer lets in the light]