Review of Album: PALLBEARER Mind Burns Alive

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Let’s discuss Pallbearer. What sets apart this band hailing from Arkansas? Is it their distinctive mix of dissonant harmonic selections enveloped in a gloomy covering? Is it their profound, resonating riffs that captivate and enchant you? Perhaps it’s Brett Campbell‘s exposed and unrefined vocals? Progressing from one album to another, it is evident that Pallbearer have ventured into different musical territories, exploring novel melodic dimensions and themes. Their music collection demonstrates remarkable development and experimentation from inexperienced and eager to more accessible and mainstream.

I believe that the fan base of Pallbearer is divided based on preferences for different eras and albums. Many fans regard their debut album, Sorrow and Extinction, as iconic and genre-defining. Conversely, critics hail their 2020 release Forgotten Days as their finest album to date. Mind Burns Alive signifies another shift for the band, propelling them into what I perceive as one of their most distinguished eras yet.

Mind Burns Alive defies expectations of being a chuggy, intentionally flawed heavy album that one might associate with Pallbearer. It emerges as conceivably their most superior, coherent, and adept musical arrangement to date. I would argue that this is their most skillfully developed album in their entire repertoire. Each track exudes a sense of purpose and coherence without appearing forced. Pallbearer have retained the essence of their unique sound and embraced it in a gentler, more perceptive manner. The incorporation of dissonant harmonies that transform familiar melodies into haunting and unexpected tones has been a hallmark of Pallbearer‘s career. Mind Burns Alive maintains this notion and presents it in an emotional, expressive, and delicate manner.

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Long-time fans may potentially not appreciate this album. Mind Burns Alive represents a significant departure from what initially gained them popularity. The interplay of serene and intricately complex riffs woven throughout each composition creates an ambiance of yearning and desperation. An album characterized by its emotional depth, Mind Burns Alive is an emotionally poignant exploration, delving into themes of solitude and the disparity inherent in the human experience.

According to the statement in their press release by vocalist Brett Campbell, “These songs represent a deeper exploration of dynamics and sonic palette than anything we have undertaken previously. I believe that true heaviness emanates from emotional depth, and at times, sheer force is not the most effective approach to convey a sentiment.”

This deliberate avoidance of ‘bludgeoning’ is evident right from the opening track, “Where the Light Fades”. The track builds beautifully, transitioning from fragile and emotive to profound and impactful. This welcomed change truly underscores their versatility beyond being solely a heavy, sluggish eruption of noise. It presents a dynamic aspect that amplifies the potency of their heavier choices. It showcases clever songwriting. If their goal was to convey ’emotional weightiness’, they have undoubtedly achieved this goal with flying colors.

The concluding track “With Disease” encapsulates the essence of Pallbearer in all its glory. This 10-minute track is absolutely captivating, and I wouldn’t mind if it continued for an hour. I truly admire this composition, finding myself engrossed in the compelling refrains and expressive lyrics. As the lyrical narrative draws to a close, the guitar solos seamlessly take charge, continuing the storytelling through music. It stands as the most weighty track on the album, and the latter part of the song is transformative and awe-inspiring. Pieces like “Daybreak” meander along while instilling a sense of anticipation and tense anticipation, as if you were left breathless, yearning for more. “Signals” carries the same intensity, and by the time the familiar crunchy riff sets in, it feels like an explosion of fervor.

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Mind Burns Alive feels fresh and intricate, melding classic Pallbearer characteristics with a new, more elegant tenderness. A highly appreciated addition to the unique collection of Pallbearer, Mind Burns Alive is certain to evoke novel emotions and pleasantly introspective musings from the listener.

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