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Album Review: Pallbearer – Forgotten Days

Arkansas doom crew Pallbearer dig deeper on incredible fourth album, Forgotten Days

Anyone who thinks doom is all dirge and dragged-out riffs has clearly never heard Pallbearer. Over 12 years and three albums, the Arkansas quartet have risen as the leaders of left-field doom – their love of classic prog as strong as their Sabbath-soaked foundations. They also manage to add all manner of emotions into their music – from crushing gloom to soaring uplift. How many doom bands can say that? 

For fourth album Forgotten Days, the band worked with producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth), and the album is a darker, more aggressive beast than 2017’s Heartless. This is evident from the get-go with the dense, classic metal-style grooves that burst out from the opening title track, and the heaviness continues with the rumbling intensity of The Quicksand Of Existing and the jarring chug of Vengeance & Ruination. But this being Pallbearer, variety is key. Stasis’ rousing riffs meld with cosmic effects, the beautiful Riverbed is softly forlorn, and that aforementioned title track stretches out to include a sweeping guitar solo and gorgeous harmonies, with Brett Campbell’s expansive vocals beautifully capturing a wistful pain in the lyrics: Times have changed and so have I’. Forgotten Days examines the concept of family, honing in on themes of illness, loss and reflection, and a sense of wistful sadness spreads throughout the album. 

There’s nothing too out there on Forgotten Days – the 80s synth of the closing Caledonia probably the biggest surprise, but a welcome one: a playful take on the pain of the past – and all the tracks are solid, with any experimentation woven tightly around Pallbearer’s doom roots. This is the sound of a genre being refreshed, and of a band making it entirely their own. 

Verdict: 4/5

For Fans Of: Warning, Baroness, Kylesa

Forgotten Days is released on October 23 via Nuclear Blast.

Posted on October 20th 2020, 3:42p.m.
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