With Foundations of Burden, Pallbearer have crossed the Rubicon once again to create a stunning mixture of powerful, yet tranquil and enthralling music that cements them as one of the most inspiring and forward thinking bands of our time.
The lava starts bubbling from mount doom right away on Foundations of Burden with “Worlds Apart”. As the song develops and reaches the 7 minute mark, a combination of crushing riffs along with Agalloch-like ethereal sounds intertwine into one of the most outstanding moments on the album.
“Foundations” and “Watcher in the Dark” continue to push Foundations of Burden further into more adventurous territory. Pallbearer songs are somewhat difficult to contextualize and describe to people because of how unique and aesthetically diverse the band move the listener through their music.
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“The Ghost I Used to Be” is one of Pallbearer’s best songs and my personal favorite on the album. It starts and ends in two completely different places. A true voyage from its high pitched beginnings to its rhythmic and stirring center and its eventual glorious end. Brett Campbell’s vocals on this track are particularly outstanding and deeply stirring to listen to.
“Ashes” brings some quieter moments after being pummeled for the previous four tracks and fades into “Vanished”, the albums’s final track. Ceremonious and grand, “Vanished” builds slowly and begins boiling over before subsiding gently and fading away.
In 2012, Pallbearer released Sorrow and Extinction which blew minds and received high praise. Everything about Foundations of Burden stretches their sound out further and into new sonic places that they have not yet touched on. 2014 has been an amazing year for music, but I don’t think I have heard a better album than Foundations of Burden. It is an out and out masterpiece of the highest order. Highly recommended listening.
Paul McConaghy is a vinyl enthusiast and the founder of Bleeding Light Records in Mesa, Arizona. At a very early age, he was struck by sound and his fascination has only grown more with time.