Since their 2012 debut Pallbearer have stood out in the doom scene for their supreme grasp of melody and mature, intelligent songwriting… and the Arkansas band have never been tied to any Sabbathian clichés.
And if 2014’s Foundation of Burden was evidence that metal could have a very special act in its midst, Heartless confirms Pallbearer’s place at the top table.
Why? Because this is a glorious, shining monument to classic rock and metal, the work of men who’ve mined the richer seams of heavy music’s history and used the raw materials to build a dramatic, visionary record, a timeless body of work. Progressive doom, epic rock, call it what you will, but Heartless defiantly treads its own path.
Pallbearer’s third opus is complex affair, but as the melodies of I Saw The End or Lie Of Survival slowly wrap around your heart, you’ll be completely absorbed. It’s also an album of contrasts: the title track veers towards the apocalyptic sludge of Neurosis, while Dancing In Madness makes you feel like you’ve been cast adrift in space, with controls set for the heart of the sun.
Yes, the writing is exceptional, but Heartless is lifted towards the stratosphere by a majestic vocal performance by Brett Campbell, the kind that’s seldom heard in the heavier outposts of metal these days. He has clearly been refining his technique since Foundations of Burden, and his efforts have paid off here.
Make no mistake, Heartless is a huge achievement from the men from Little Rock, and will remind you of why you fell in love with heavy music in the first place. Outstanding.