Reviews Pallbearer Forgotten Days

Pallbearer

Forgotten Days

Pallbearer’s evolution from their early days as a dark, funeral doom leaning band into a prog-embracing emotive force is well documented in their back catalogue and as Forgotten Days expands the horizons of their sound, Pallbearer open up their hearts for all the world to see. This record is vulnerable and honest in its humanity and much like their previous work where Pallbearer were known for giving glimpses into their past through their music, Forgotten Days delves further beneath the surface to show the cracks in all their painful glory.

Previous record Heartless was steeped in a sorrow that was tangible in its aching progressions and it was here that Pallbearer stepped up to become a band that was more than just the sum of its influences – this was now a band that had become the influence and as they have moved their own sound further from its starting point in the cosmic synth passages (Joseph D.Rowland, who also plays bass) that spin out from the crunch of the guitars during "Stasis", they have somehow kept the base genre at its heart in the long-form compositions and tender beauty of songs such as "Silver Wings."

The record opens on the title track which is a deep and rumbling storm of fear and acceptance – fear of changes to one’s mental health and the loneliness that comes with it and acceptance of the fact that this is somewhat of a regular feeling for many. Pallbearer’s ability to tap into those basic human emotions and give weight to feelings that many experience, laying them out and discussing them (albeit in language wrapped in delicate metaphors) is a boost for anyone who is struggling and as such the knowledge that, actually, you are not alone, is euphoric. Pallbearer have often spoken of loss and heartache, death and rebirth and on Forgotten Days those themes are certainly present.

“Silver Wings” is a mournful twist of fate as Pallbearer lament that the passage of time, the one thing that we have no control over, can turn moments of greatness into naught but dust lost to the wind. It’s a song that is awash with sadness; Brett Campbell’s voice is strong and clear and the higher registers that he reaches are enough to crumble even the stoniest of hearts, guitars are radiant where the song pushes for a strong emotional narrative and heavy when the weight of that burden overwhelms, which it does often.

Forgotten Days is somewhat less immediate than its predecessor in that multiple listens will be more rewarding in terms of “pay-off” than Heartless was on first listen. The structure is less focused here, it seems as though Pallbearer’s approach is much looser, freer than it was before and so they’ve allowed themselves more leeway in terms of experimentation with their sound. With that, comes less of an direct impact as you must work harder to find the narrative core, however, the longer term impression is that Pallbearer have created a work that is deeply personal and reaches for more into their own private past – the mistakes, the joy, the loss – than they have previously. Both approaches work for Pallbearer as Forgotten Days does hit hard in many instances – final track “Caledonia” being the most intense of all.

“Caledonia” begins on majestically heavy guitars intertwined with luminous passages before giving way to Brett Campbell’s voice and the occasional synthesised line that adds dimension to a song already wrought with anguish. It’s a fitting end to the record as it merges the heavier aspects with the more delicate hues of the band in order to create a song that truly embodies Pallbearer to its core. There is beauty in the pain of the past and one must embrace those moments in order to move forward, knowing that your greatest achievements will be lost to the advance of time is no reason not to persevere.

8.5 / 10Cheryl
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8.5 / 10

8.5 / 10

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