Album Of The Year 2014 – Number 17
Another day, another band and another cracking album. I’ve been really pleased and grateful for all of the comments and interaction over my choices so far; it gives me the impetus to continue, even though it is impossible to please all of the people all of the time.
If you’ve missed my three choices to date, click on the links below to join the fun and games!
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 20
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 19
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 18
‘Foundations Of Burden’
I will be extremely honest and admit to the fact that this was one of the releases that I deliberated most over. Should it find a place in my list or should it not? This year has seen an unprecedented number of very high quality releases meaning that, in the words of politicians the world over, I’ve had to take some difficult decisions. However, when push came to shove, I knew that this album had to feature. The reason for my procrastination? I’m not normally that big a fan of doom metal. The more melodic and polished end of the doom spectrum, such as Swallow The Sun and Daylight Dies, I really enjoy and are firm favourites. But when it comes to the more traditional, some may say ‘proper’ doom, I’m not always so keen. ‘Foundations Of Burden’ however, is a different story completely. But why? Why this album?
At its heart, this record is pure old-school doom metal and therefore squarely fits within the genre I can normally take or leave. All bar one of the six tracks are lengthy, taking their precious time to reach their conclusions. The tempo is generally slow and the riffs are the kind of heavy, gargantuan affairs that you’d expect from this kind of music, shaking the very foundations of the Earth as they thunder out of the speakers.
For me though, it is the blend of raw brutality and melodic elegance that makes this album such a winner. For every crushing riff, there’s a sumptuous, immediate melody to pull you in and keep you hooked. Coupled with a really nice, organic production, there’s a genuinely simple elegance to the whole thing too. Blending elements of subtle prog, 70s psychedelia and plenty of groove gives the album a longevity that I often find lacking in other releases within this particular genre. Then, the use of three vocalists to share the microphone responsibilities is a masterstroke which then gives the tracks an identity all of their own whilst providing yet more variation upon the doom theme.
It is rare that I am so beguiled by a pure doom metal album. However for the reasons expressed above, Pallbearer have released a monster of an album which stands head and shoulders above all other ‘traditional’ doom metal released in 2014. In fact, it’s just about the perfect doom metal record. Give it a try and prepare to be won over too.
If you’re interested in reading my lists from the past couple of years, please click the links below and explore!