Pallbearer – Heartless

I can already read the social media potshots. With their latest LP, Heartless (Nuclear Blast/Profound Lore), Pallbearer are likely set to be the next whipping boy for metal elitists. It’s what happens after those trolls feel like you’ve gotten a little too much love from traditionally non-metal circles. Just look at the amount of shit Nails got for just having a brief Rolling Stone write-up.

However, more often than not, these so-called “fans” are typically dead wrong about the music they’re deriding. No matter how many times you angrily type about it, Gojira’s Magma (Roadrunner) does not suck. And same here on Heartless. Faced with the Herculean task of following up 2014’s Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore) Pallbearer passes with flying colors.

Once ‘I Saw The End’ and ‘Thorns’ whet the appetite, it is on to the doom and gloom drubbing of ‘Lie Of Survival.’ You ever ask yourself what’d you get if threw Joy Division and Crowbar into cocktail shaker? See ‘Lie of Survival,’ a kick to the feels that would make Morrissey cry. ‘Dancing In Madness’ follows up that doozy with a nice journey into the dark heart of Black Sabbath.

Also, we cannot properly talk about Heartless without singing the praises of guitarists Brett Campbell and Devin Holt. Aside from laying out their bedrock of pulverizing riffs, they have some of the most exquisite lead fretwork in Metal today on tracks like ‘I Saw The End’ and ‘Dancing In Madness.’ And for fans of the heavier stuff, make sure to plug in the good set of headphones for the seismic breakdown that closes out ‘Cruel Road.’

Then before you know it, Heartless’ sixty minute runtime has briskly come to a close with the weary tones of ‘A Plea For Understanding.’ While not as dynamically diverse as the rest of the bunch, it features plenty of hellish introspection, not unlike Neurosis.

So to online trolls, I say this: shut it. You know you secretly love this stuff.

8.0/10

HANSEL LOPEZ