There comes a time once a year when the musical world is rallied together for a unanimous decision on greatness. Recently signing to Nuclear Blast, Pallbearer unveil their third slab of quasi Doom Prog for our listening pleasure. Blurring the lines between the two genres Heartless is as much expansive as it is devastatingly heavy. Being back on UK Pallbearer make their musical pilgrimmage after longer than we would have liked along in a what looks like sold out Underworld.
Opening with the lumbering “Thorns” the band come out of the gates with this absolutely blistering track. Setting the tone perfectly it lays the concrete foundations for the evening’s poignant funerary dirge. As opposed to being packed to the rafters, there’s enough space for everyone to drink in the atmosphere tonight. Armed with an incredibly simplistic set up Pallbearer’s sound transcends that of the record. With almost all of their tracks well over the five minute mark there is an absolute feast for the ears here tonight.
Performing almost all of their brand new record it’s the perfect introduction for the uninitiated. A testament to their versatility, there are moments when the band coalesce to form an absolute wall of sound. Particularly when Joe Rowland kicks his bass into gear, you notice the subtle nuances needed in the likes of the Herculean “Dancing In Madness” that blow the top half of the audience away. Yet the band sound just as home with the pin drop quiet (at one point you can hear Rowland open a beer!) of “Lie Of Survival” whose doleful caress acts almost like a blanket over our mesmerised audience.
The jewel in the band’s crown as it were however is the cohesive understanding they all have together. Each knowing exactly when to dial back, particularly the titan that is Mark Lierly who is just as apt at kissing a ride as he is at practically tearing a whole through the Underworld. Coupled with the forelorn vocals of Brett Campbell create the perfect bed. Nevertheless stand out moments do occur, particularly on album opener “I Saw The End” as the band get to their Maiden-esque grand finale of harmonies.
Bewitching in their craft Pallbearer have the crowd under their spell tonight. Harking back to the older works with closer “Foreigner” the more studious fans are elated with happiness whilst us newbies are just as enraptured. Pallbearer have no doubt released one of the albums of the year, there’s no question, but to be able to magnify the weight of the record into the setting of a live arena and pull it off? Absolutely sensational. Expect very big things to come from these Prog driven stalwarts.