Published Oct 22, 2020If there was ever a year for doom metal, it would be this one, so it's no surprise that Pallbearer have returned with their fourth album, Forgotten Days. The album begins strong and familiar, but the epic doom metal odyssey that was to be expected quickly turns into a brooding, meandering walk to nowhere.
It sounds ridiculous to say it, but some of these songs just go on way too long, a statement once so unthinkable to utter regarding the band's music. The band's "ability to navigate away from the monotony of repetition" that we praised on 2017's Heartless is missing on Forgotten Days. The overdriven weight of the guitars that forge the very cornerstone of Pallbearer's sound are quickly brought to heel by the second song and don't fully emerge again until the end of the album. Gone are the crushing riffs and transitions, replaced with subdued progressions. It's a real blight on much of the record, unable to keep the listener enthralled or interested.
The album reclaims some glory towards the end with it reaching a climax at the emergence of the title track carrying on and arriving at a destination resembling the strength of Pallbearer's earlier albums on the final three tracks. While the shift in Pallbearer's composition isn't swift or particularly extreme, fans of Pallbearer's foundational albums can only hope that the future direction of the band doesn't go the way of the Sword. (Nuclear Blast)