Pallbearer – Forgotten Days: Album Review

Pallbearer return with their fourth full length album. Forgotten Days is a sublime album that pushes the Arkansas quartet further into the sonic stratosphere.

Released: 23rd October 2020

Label: Nuclear Blast

Format: CD / LP / Digital

Pallbearer’s trajectory as a band has been a joy to witness. 2017’s Heartless was arguably the doom album of the year and 2014’s Foundations Of Burden built on their debut, Sorrow & Extinction, wondrously.

Forgotten Days sees the band continue to tread their own path and rip metaphorical trees up whilst they’re doing it.

The title track opens the album in crushing fashion. A huge rolling riff pins the ears back, and the Ozzy Osbourne style vocals pierce through the ether. A fury erupts around the five minute mark of the track which sets the tone for Forgotten Days as a whole.

Riverbed follows with a more solemn and sombre tone. The timbre and mournful nature of the song recalls the sadly laid to rest Woods Of Ypres. Both the opening tracks are monolithic pieces of music that beg to be listened to with awe.

Pallbearer add plenty of dexterity to their music. Stasis is embellished with inspired use of synths as the drawl of the track slowly moves.

At the centre of the album, Pallbearer deliver the albums most epic highlight. Silver Wings is a twelve minute opus that spans many movements and styles. The archetypal doom tempo adorns the early phases before a harmonic intersection and weeping solo make up the middle section of the song.

Tendrils of riffs snake throughout the whole piece. Again, synths add colour as Silver Wings heads into its final straight alongside choral vocals reminiscent of Winterfylleth at their most stoic. In an interview with At The Barrier (here), Brett Campbell of Pallbearer commented that this was the piece he was most proud of on the album; you can hear why when you take the trip. It is epic on so many levels.

Quicksand Of Existing helps keep the pace of the album after the grandeur of Silver Wings. The urgency with which the album progresses again shows the mastery of Pallbearer.

A seamless segue to Vengeance & Ruination motors Forgotten Days forward. The guitar work throughout this track is haunting. The riffs are big and brash but the guitar part that lurks in the background during the centre of the song is hypnotic.

Forgotten Days, as the track titles suggest, is a deeply lyrical piece as well as a towering musical opus. Rite Of Passage, Forgotten Days, Stasis and The Quicksand of Existing all tug at personal struggles and emotions. Laments leak out of every chord strummed, drum skin hit and note sung.

Opening with a solo, Caledonia traverses all that is great, and already mentioned, about Pallbearer. The riffs, the vocals, the storytelling…it’s all tight to the nail. A melodic outro ends Forgotten Days in the only way it should be ended; grandiosely.

Produced by Randall Dunn, Forgotten Days is another huge pillar in Pallbearer’s impenetrable discography. There are the longer songs that are epic but there are lots of moments in Forgotten Days that don’t hang around and follow a more basic formula. The way Pallbearer pull this together is exquisite.

Listen to The Quicksand Of Existing below.

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