Sorrow And Extinction is a gloomily fitting title for this sullen, bewildering debut record by the acclaimed American Doom Metal band Pallbearer of Arkansas. Charmed by their newer albums Foundations Of Burden and Heartless I wanted to complete my journey through their catalog, which is rooted in a genre Ive never fully connected with. Their artistic approach to Doom Metal has the deathly slow pace traversed with burly lunges of oozing guitar distortion, making a mark on the genre far more interesting and intricate. Coming back to this origin point one can hear the cracks and creeks in the sound that would be greased out by their sophomore but even its flaws are mostly aesthetic.
Once again Pallbearer have me at the mercy of their sludgy pacing and dense foggy distortion tone. The feeling of imminent gloom and suffering revels in a bleak landscape that seems to find life just above the swampy guitar movements that crawl and lunge forward with a burden weighing it down so. This dark and esoteric sound has a natural and decaying quality where music of this nature so often falls into the realm of of evil and fantasy, something feels root and grounded, deeply earthly about Pallbearers journey through sorrows.
The guitar are poised at the mercy of singer Campbell who swings it in this carnal, earthly direction as his light and cruising voice swiftly sails out from the depths with finely held notes that coarse through the mist with an ambiguous touch of reverb that's both ghostly and living at the same time. The moments where he sings as lead guitars erupt over the brooding guitars are the most fantastic on this record. The leads too inflict much needed respite from the monstrous guitars as they break up the monotony and blossom with color and motion.
The album falls short where it fails to maintain its balance, or keep from letting the gloom become too engulfing. Treating the album as a single experience their are lengthy passageways devoid of that important break and respite that brings the music to life and gives the sprawling guitar sludge a sense of hidden beauty, for when it drags it drags its feet slowly. In the moments the chemistry is ripe its a very captivating listen but lengthy compositions hold these moments at bay. I also found the production to be a little jagged with its handling of the dense guitars which can all to easy dominate in a very interesting musical setting.
Favorite Tracks: Devoid Of Redemption