Pallbearer has given us a new single, ‘Ashes (Redux)’. This is a new version of their song ‘Ashes’, originally heard on their classic second full length, Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore) back in 2014. The band is expected to release a new album in 2020. Continue reading
Out of all of the annual big name tours that hit North America, none have been as consistent as The Decibel Magazine Tour. On April 10th at the Royale in Boston, Decibel provided a diverse, yet exciting lineup of newcomers, Vallenfyre, one of rising stars in doom, Pallbearer, metalcore titans Converge, and the legends in the flesh, At The Gates.Vallenfyre, by Hillarie Jason Photography.
Kicking off the night was Vallenfyre who, even with an early set time starting at 5:30 in the early-evening, was greeted by a generous and excited crowd. With the Royale having a strict cut off time at 9:30 on a Friday night (I know, I know) the supergroup out of the UK only had time for a few quick songs. Having said that, they got in three songs from each of their albums with favorites such as: ‘Bereft’, ‘Cathedrals of Dread’, ‘The Grim Irony’, and ‘Splinters’. I will certainly be looking forward to seeing these guys again and so should you!
Pallbearer hit the stage next to destroy the crowd’s ears and emotions with a wall of sound via doom metal. Obviously in the doom world, songs tend to run a bit longer than your typical song to truly hold atmosphere and provide a mood. Due to this, we only got three songs from the foursome from Little Rock, Arkansas. Boston got to hear ‘Worlds Apart’ and ‘The Ghost I Use to Be’ from the latest release as well as ‘Foreigner’ from Pallbearer’s debut album. Get on the bandwagon for this band as space is limited!Converge, by Hillarie Jason Photography.
Next up to try and tear down the venue were local heroes, Converge. I will be honest and mention I have never truly been a big fan of these guys, but after seeing them live I think I like the taste of their brand of kool-aid. The adrenaline from the four men on stage had trickled down to the floor as fans started surfing right up and over the barricade to sing their favorite lyrics. The set list was very well constructed to allow for four tracks each from the two latest releases (All We Love We Leave Behind, Axe to Fall) and two tracks each from You Fail Me as well as the classic, Jane Doe. A few favorites heard were: ‘Dark Horse’, ‘Trespasses’, ‘Reap What You Sow’, and the closer, ‘Jane Doe’. I may not have known a single word to any of the songs played, but the sheer energy of this live set by Converge is enough to get me to come back for more.
Lastly, the gods themselves, At The Gates, took to the stage. Even given the time constraints, the Swedish legends were able to punch out a set list of 19 tracks! Obviously with a new album out (At War With Reality from Century Media) I expected quite a bit of new tracks. In total, the Boston fans got seven from the new album, 7 from Slaughter of the Soul and a few others sprinkled in. Some favorites/sing-a-longs played were: ‘Death and the Labyrinth’, ‘Terminal Spirit Disease’, ‘Raped by the Light of Christ’, ‘Suicide Nation’, and of course, ‘Blinded by Fear’. Even after being apart for all of those years, At The Gates can still bring it and boy do they bring it all. Easily one of the better shows that will hit the Boston market in 2015!At The Gates, by Hillarie Jason Photography.
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN
In amongst the big boys now, with the Official Ghost Cult Top 10 Albums of 2014. Kicking off with albums 10 to 6, these were the attention and headline grabbing albums that provided the soundtrack to the year…
10. DEVIN TOWNSEND – Z2 (HevyDevy/InsideOut)
Not one but two aural explosions from everyone’s favourite Canadian ADD sufferer. Disk 1 showcases the epic pop-Metal melodies expounded on Epicloud, in a vibrant collection of melodies, twists and simply great tunes, while Disk 2 is the long awaited Ziltoid sequel, a more symphonic and aggressive take on the original. Devin has shown, once again, that no matter what project fills his head, he is a pure musical genius, with 3 albums (technically) in our Top 50.
“Double albums are notoriously difficult beasts to grapple with. If there’s a suspicion of ‘all filler, no killer’, that’s perhaps understandable given some of rock music’s recent inglorious past when it comes to musical heft. The common consensus on this sort of exercise ranges from how to edit Use Your Illusion (Geffen) into one digestible chunk; realising that, yes, Fleetwood Mac really did do ALL of the drugs when recording Tusk (Warner Bros) and, frankly, even Corey Taylor must think that there is way too much padding on House of Gold and Bones (Roadrunner). Breathe easier, then, as this is not a sprawling, indulgent mess. Z2 is indulgent and there is a LOT to get through but Z2 is two records being issued simultaneously rather than some attempt at a single, 23 song epic.”
Read MAT DAVIES’ 9/10 review here
9. AT THE GATES – At War With Reality (Century Media)
After a gap of 19 (NINETEEN!) years the Fathers of the Gothenburg sound released the follow up to one of the greatest extreme albums of time, the genuine legend that was Slaughter of the Soul (Earache). That they didn’t embarrass themselves is one thing, that they were able to ignite the flame of excitement in older fans and pick up newer ones, whose favourite bands swore by the altar of ATG is testament to their quality.
“At War With Reality is a genuinely worthwhile listen and worth the 19 year wait. It still sounds like At The Gates, not the razor-focused Slayer-worship of Slaughter of the Soul, although those moments are still present, but an all-encompassing At The Gates that draws from the band’s entire back catalogue. At The Gates have shown the world that they’re still the most powerful force in melodic death metal. At War With Reality does more than just prop up the band’s legacy, it enhances it.”
Read DAN SWINHOE’s 9/10 review here
8. PALLBEARER – Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore)
Doooooooooooooom, beautiful doooooooooooom! Melancholy, poignant, mournful and emotive, the second album from Arkansas’ Pallbearer set new standards in textured 70’s styled doom, twining haunting, reflective leads, heart-felt impassioned lyrics and vocals, and down-tuned crashes.
“Superlatives and panegyrics are thrown around like confetti these days, and mostly for albums that just don’t deserve them. Here is an entity beyond words. The blend of crushing weight and sadness that twines with an almost paradoxical ascension to light throughout this quite magnificent set is sublime and inspirational. This willingness to puncture doom’s boundaries and travel outside them surely hails Pallbearer as the most important band of their genre right now.”
Read PAUL QUINN’s 10/10 review here
7. TRIPTYKON – Melana Chasmata (Century Media / Prowling Death)
The sound of decomposition in thick, gloopy, stained riffage, the darkest end of despair in musical format, the sound of utter personal devastation hammered relentlessly into your ears as Tom G Warrior continues the styling first unveiled on Celtic Frost’s swansong, Monotheist. Beyond the gloom, beyond the end of the universe, lurks Triptykon’s second opus magnificum.
“Still gloriously innovative at 50, the enigmatic and death-obsessed Thomas Gabriel Fischer returns with his latest and possibly most enigmatic incarnation. The darkly expansive Eparistera Daimones, the first Triptykon album, displayed a panoply of musical styles. Remarkably, sophomore suite Melana Chasmata sees a deeper mining of that creativity, reaffirming the band’s reluctance to be confined by any musical barrier and confirming the triumphant second coming of Gabriel’s most inventive, diverse and impressive guise.”
Read PAUL QUINN’s 8.5/10 review here
6. DECAPITATED – Blood Mantra (Nuclear Blast)
Perhaps the most hotly anticipated “pure” Death Metal release of the second half of the year, this Polish hate machine did not disappoint, with a career and genre defining masterpiece, adding to their impressive canon with an absolute killer of cemtex-infused vocal growls, blistering drumming, colossal grooves and excessive riffs. But this was no old school rehash, the Krosno krew enhance their wares with industrial touches, and an insinuation of Slipknot showing this is a thoroughly modern and quite exceptional Death Metal band.
“With this much skill at their disposal, looking back it almost seems embarrassing that they were ever doubted. To use a lazy comparison, Decapitated are like (Marvel Comics anti-hero) Blade; they possess all of the strengths of Death Metal and none of its weaknesses. And it’s increasingly evident they cannot be killed. Quite simply Blood Mantra is one of the finest Death Metal albums to be released now or ever and it’s difficult to see how it can be topped. One thing is for sure; Vitek would be proud.”
Read JAMES CONWAY’s 9.5/10 review here
Compiled and additional words by Steve Tovey
YOB and Pallbearer are both out on the road in support of stellar new albums. YOB’s Clearing The Path To Ascend (Neurot) received a 9/10 from Ghost Cult earlier this month. Pallbearer’s Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore) was a rare 10/10 from us and was our August Album of the month. Both bands recent teamed up for a co-headlining run of dates in the UK and Luke Denham of Luke Denham Photography caught both bands in front of his lens. A full review is coming soon. In the mean time, enjoy these shots!
Ghost Cult spoke to Joseph D. Rowland, bassist and founder member of Arkansas creative heavyweights Pallbearer, who discussed with grace and enthusiasm the band’s sophomore opus, Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore), and their upcoming US and European tours.
If you felt the debut album from Arkansas quartet Pallbearer, Sorrow and Extinction, contained some of the most emotive doom ever, think again. New album Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore) is an adventurous journey through space for the lost, solitary soul on their way to meet their maker.
Weighty, yet melancholic and melodic, much like its predecessor it is shot through with a healthy dose of the best of ’70s radio rock, nonetheless there are noticeable differences here. The first of these is the sacrifice of a small amount of Sorrow…‘s heaviness in favour of a more textured, progressive sound. There is also the addition of harmonised backing vocals which, far from detracting from overall enjoyment, shows the evolution of a highly skilled, creative unit, unafraid to escape its comfort zone.
Opener ‘Worlds Apart’ has a number of movements, flowing from a crunching mid-paced opening into a mid-section of guided atmospherics with the coda of staggering effects-laden leads accompanied by funereal, subterranean riffs, all wonderfully decorated by Brett Campbell‘shoneyed yet soaring vocals. The ensuing ‘Foundations’ begins with complex yet deliberate rhythms, the sound of a burning rocket having developed a slightly woven path of orbit, those deliciously doleful tones seemingly lamenting yet justifying its straying from the line.
‘Watcher in the Dark’ is a mournful titan with an apocalyptic central duel of leads and coruscating riffs rising from a sparkling rhythm section and Joseph D. Rowland‘s MOR-style piano, to a remarkable and euphoric finale. Mark Lierly’s drums are increasingly dictatorial and demand attention, whilst the resonant solo work descends to a languid tone before a moving explosion of sorrow, with Campbell’s towering tones an aching call to the wilderness. Lush synths ease into the evocative, phenomenal, ‘The Ghost I Used to Be’ as Campbell’s voice fluctuates between Ozzy Osbourne and Steve Perry before the riff taking centre stage, orchestrating time changes, leading to an amazing closing solo. Unbelievably, even this staggering behemoth is surpassed by a stroke of genius – the heart-breaking beauty of the brief, delicate ballad ‘Ashes’, a track that would be at home on any Styx record, yet still retains an air of gravity. Closer ‘Vanished’ displays all that power and subtlety, possessing a booming production that heightens the contrast of resonant, harmonic chants and the fulminating power of riff and drums.
Superlatives and panegyrics are thrown around like confetti these days, and mostly for albums that just don’t deserve them. Here is an entity beyond words. The blend of crushing weight and sadness that twines with an almost paradoxical ascension to light throughout this quite magnificent set is sublime and inspirational. If the prog-rock outfit Kansas suffered a year of deep personal loss, down-tuned to hell, and proceeded to embody the grief and subsequent healing in an album, the result would be Foundation of Burden. This willingness to puncture doom’s boundaries and travel outside them surely hails Pallbearer as the most important band of their genre right now.