You know there’s something truly special about a band when they have universal appeal; when Pallbearer released ‘Sorrow and Extinction’ back in 2012 they captured the hearts of not just doom aficionados, but music lovers the world over. ‘Sorrow and Extinction’ had a unique ability to tap into its listeners’ stream of conscious and plant a seed of sadness there, which would grow and expand as the album progressed. This ability to connect with audiences on such a deep emotional level put them in league with the likes of 40 Watt Sun and Warning; however, unlike the aforementioned acts Pallbearer’s message reached an audience far beyond metal.
For most bands, that dreaded second album can be make or break and it’s often difficult to tell which direction it’s going to lean towards. This has seemingly never been a concern for Pallbearer fans though and rightly so – while ‘Sorrow and Extinction’ was raw and unpolished with guitarist/vocalist Brett Campbell’s voice sounding strained in places, like he was pushing beyond his reach, ‘Foundations of Burden’ is much more refined. Billy Anderson is at the helm of production, meaning this record plays out with a clarity that makes the band’s previous album sound like a demo tape.
In an interview conducted with Pitchfork, Billy Anderson revealed that he has never worked with a band that use so many guitar tracks – this goes lengths in explaining the enormity of the sound on this record. Bassist Joseph D. Rowland and guitarist Devin Holt lend a hand on vocals for three of the tracks on this album too, adding another dimension to the rich and compelling melodies. The Arkansas quartet have always had an ear for catchy guitar hooks and enormous riffs, they also possess a deep understanding of human emotion and how to convey this through the power of song. What they haven’t had before, however, are the skills of someone well renowned sat behind the recording controls or the backing of a label as huge as Profound Lore. With these tools at their disposal they’ve created something that’s bigger than even they are. What they have to say is meaningful, what they have to play is powerful and you owe it to them to listen…
(9.5/10 Angela Davey)