Published Aug 15, 2014Few debut full-lengths generate the kind of response that Arkansas-based doom outfit Pallbearer were able to garner with 2012's Sorrow and Extinction, a towering and emotionally devastating tribute to inevitable mortality. With riffs like mountain chains and a heart full of tar, the record roiled in gigantic agony that somehow, despite itself, also managed to let in a few, tremulous moments of light. Their follow-up effort, Foundations of Burden has chosen to hone in on those moments of hope and illumination, in an effort that is even more emotionally ambitious an undertaking, and all the more wounding for its beauty.
Thanks to Billy Anderson's exquisite production and an unholy number of layered guitar tracks, the textural depth on the record is something to behold; it would be easy to get lost in these tracks if not for the clarity of the melodies and the mercilessness of the narratives and forward momentum. Brett Campbell's vocals have shown marked improvement, with a warmth and confidence that allows him to both comfort and ache. There's a golden loneliness in "World's Apart" that can cut or soothe, and the sobbing rawness they touch upon in "The Ghost I Used To Be" is at once magnificently painful and cathartic. Foundations of Burden is a record that lays the listener bare. (Profound Lore)