Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden (2014)

In the VIP section (balcony) at Mr. Small's Theatre (Pittsburgh), February 2013

In the VIP balcony at Mr. Small's Theatre (Pittsburgh), February 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE: for nearly two years, the Arkansas melodic doom quartet Pallbearer has been among my wife’s absolute favorite bands. I know she’d been eagerly snapping up every available bit of information leading up to the release of their second album; now that it’s been released, we listened to it together, and she had some strong reactions and opinions — so I asked whether she wanted to write something about it. So here is her review of Foundations of Burden.

 

Foundations_Of_Burden_Cover_FINAL

PallbearerFoundations of Burden (Profound Lore Records, 19 August 2014)

reviewed by Asya Yanyo

 

I first heard Pallbearer in December of 2012 on accident. I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a video that someone had posted, which I thought was something else. I clicked on it, I listened and I had no idea what I was in for ultimately. I have to admit, I felt an immediate kinship to this music. For much of my life, I have felt an attachment to a darker side of my personality; I often embrace being melancholy and don’t always see it as the burden that some people do with those types of emotions. Pallbearer definitely tapped into that for me. I felt instantaneously connected to each riff and sludgy chord. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, this band is mainly responsible for so much of the music I have discovered in this journey with my husband over the past three years. It’s clearly felt personal to me and I am sure, with all the recent hype, that I am not the only one who enjoys dwelling in the despair.

 

Continue reading

Two Reviews: DRCARLSONALBION and Tumbleweed Dealer (2014)

Gold Front

DRCARLSONALBIONGold (16 June 2014)

 

a1390475759_10

Tumbleweed DealerWestern Horror (23 June 2014)

 

Good afternoon, everyone. Today I’ve got two different albums to introduce to you, which coincidentally have a common thread between them. Released just a week apart, one of these was conceived as the soundtrack to an imaginary western movie, while the other features incidental music that was recorded for the score of an actual western film.

Both of these are purely instrumental affairs, and they’re both more on the mellow side. If that sounds appealing to you, then there’s a pretty good chance one or the other may be right up your alley. So just pour yourself a tequila sunrise, grab a pack of rolling papers, kick off your boots and relax.

 

Continue reading

Out Last Week: Pinkish Black – Self-Titled

Pinkish BlackPinkish Black (Handmade Birds, 15 May 2012)

Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

The rest of his bandmates came back from wherever they’d been all day, and walked in to find a hellish nightmare: there lay his lifeless body, extinguished by his own hand while he’d been home alone.

It sounds like a tale from Until the Light Takes Us, I know, but this was the story of Tommy Atkins, bassist for Denton, Texas’s The Great Tyrant. Bandmates Daron Beck and Jon Teague reportedly discovered him in the bathroom. Having found their band reduced from a trio to a duo, they decided to continue on under a new name — in honor of the terrible scene they had come across, in which (they said) “the walls were pinkish black.”

With an origin such as this, it’s not at all surprising that the new musical project would seem inspired by and surrounded by death. Sometimes frightening, sometimes peaceful; sometimes horribly ugly, sometimes angelically beautiful; sometimes all of these at once. And dark. Such an intense darkness that it could almost blind anyone who gazes upon it.

 
Continue reading

Just Released: Enid – Munsalvaesche

EnidMunsalvaesche (28 November, 2011 – Code666 Records)

image

Last weekend, my wife and I traveled to enemy territory* to catch the Korpiklaani+Arkona show.  Because my mother’s farm is about three hours closer to Cleveland than the Valley of Steel is, I had arranged for us to spend Thanksgiving weekend at her place.  Well, I think mom saw through my thinly veiled ruse, because in exchange for a couple days’ worth of free food and shelter within easy driving distance from Peabody’s, she decided that I needed to help put up her Christmas tree and hang the lights on it (she has an enormous nine-foot artificial tree, and lately it has become more difficult for her to get up and down a ladder). 

Anyway, during all this decorating nonsense, we were treated to a variety of Christmas-themed music from mom’s extensive collection.  This included a number of albums by Mannheim Steamroller, a multi-platinum selling, new-agey, electro-orchestral project of which she’s always been fond.  Anyway, during the process of assembling the tree, my wife remarked to me that some of the music we’d heard the night before (i.e. the concert) was not too far removed from what was being played at the house that morning.  I can see where she was coming from here — for example, the incorporation of traditional folk melodies and styles, and instruments such as the flutes and bagpipes used extensively by Arkona, into a more modern format, might superficially resemble the methods employed by Mannheim Steamroller.  However, to me the pagan/folk metal movement seems to take the folk/traditional instruments, melodies, song structures and attitude, and directly blends these with metal instrumentation (and often, metal vocals). On the other hand, the traditional folk Christmas carols that are reinterpreted on the albums we heard, seem to be rearranged in more of a classical orchestration and then reproduced with modern, synthesized instruments. I would be more inclined to compare this with something like Wendy (née Walter) CarlosSwitched-On Bach series of albums, although the correllation would be more apt if it were electronic versions of works by classical composers who, unlike Bach, often incorporated traditional folk tunes (either of their own cultural heritage, such as Dvorak’s “Slavonic Dances,” or those picked up elsewhere, such as Tchaikovsky’s “Cappriccio Italien”).

Anyway, all of this rambling is leading up to my review of the latest album, Munsalvaesche, by German epic/fantasy/symphonic metal artist Enid, which was just made available last week (28 November) through Code666 Records/Aural Music. Continue reading and you shall see (and hear!) why this album should appeal to fans of the folk-metal approach as well as the modernized folk-music-via-classical-arrangement approach.
Continue reading

More Cynic News — Stream New Album for Free (Part 2 of 2)

image

Ok, ok, ok.  As promised a few days ago, I decided to give this entire Cynic EP (currently streaming in full on Pitchfork) the opportunity to impress me in the way that the title track failed to do.  Spoiler alert: my opinion has actually been down-graded quite a bit.  Read on… Continue reading