Pallbearer

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author LL date 03/08/18 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

The American band Pallbearer from Arkansas have been slowly expanding their doom metal sound over the span of three full-length releases as well as a couple of EP's and as such, I haven't taken an interest until the release of their latest album, "Heartless". On that very atmospheric record, their music really clicked with me for the first time as they stretch their songs a lot into progressive metal territory while also retaining a retro-rock vibe with a lot of focus on just good, solid riffs. To my knowledge, this is their first headlining show in Denmark and as such, I'm curious to see how they'll shoulder that. To support them tonight, the somewhat elusive upcoming progressive/black metal group (0) from Denmark has been booked for their first ever show in Copenhagen so I arrive early, eager to find out what the surrounding hype is about.

All pictures by Peter Troest

(0)

I have primarily heard of (0) as a black metal band but it turns out that this is true in the broadest sense of the term. Their set branches out at various times into progressive and doom-flavored sections which of course fits their appearance before the mighty Pallbearer just perfect. On the relatively deep Lille Vega stage, their simple visuals appear way in the back through a projector that just shows their band name which disintegrates into various moving shapes throughout their songs only to solidify again in between. As such, not much else is going on in terms of visuals or lighting, but the band is active enough on their own, headbanging and rocking out while playing their very diverse riffs all through the set. The music itself starts off slow and doomy before we're ripped into a black metal onslaught as their huge vocalist comes on stage and begins his ferocious growling. Genre-wise they certainly cover a lot of ground, putting sections of songs together in novel ways, like when they at one point move from an almost Meshuggah-esque progressive part into an epic black metal ending. It all sounds seamlessly ordered, though, and from the way the music convincingly flows from the stage tonight, it makes sense that I've already heard so much talk about them from friends in Jutland. The audience also seems to love it and there's a relatively big turnout early on although the show is not sold out. The band embraces it and look happy to be here, performing casually and openly despite the air of mystery that has been hovering around them due to their reluctance to announce the names of the band members. All in all, an interesting set and one that proves they're worthy of their building reputation and perhaps soon ready to appear at even more shows in this part of the country.

Pallbearer

The four members of the evening's main attraction walk on stage casually to a few cheers from around the fairly full venue before they proceed to envelop us in their riff-heavy but also dreamy music. It's heavy and uplifting all at the same time, and especially Joseph D. Rowland's prominent hand-picked bass lines serve to give identity to the music tonight as he rumbles along, meticulously fleshing out their sound. Rowland and the group's two guitarists - Devin Holt and Brett Campbell - get more and more into their playing throughout the set, perhaps as they soak up more and more of the generous energy from the crowd tonight. Tonight's show kicks off a string of dates for them in Europe and they do seem very fresh and energetically invested in the songs they perform for us here, despite them not moving around too much at any point. We're told they always look forward to playing in Denmark as we always treat them so well and the tipsy Friday crowd seem only happy to help them set a good mood once again.

The newer, as well as older, material is well-received in the venue, but I'm especially happy to hear their relatively new single "Dropout" make an interesting appearance. It stands as one of the most recognizable songs to me here tonight with its enthralling vocal melody that contrasts so well with the heavy riffs. In general, the set has a very retro vibe, also helped by Campbell's singing voice that has him belting out notes seemingly at the top of his lungs most of the time in a way that has me wondering regularly how he pulls out those high notes without sounding strained at all. The longer track "Worlds Apart" from their previous record, "Foundations of Burden", also makes a great impression as it ends their regular set before an extended encore of two older songs. Overall, the sound mix is with them and is exactly loud enough for the circling and constantly building riffs to fully have their impact on us. However, the more repetitive qualities of their music do get a bit much for a 90-minute show, at least for my tastes, with some of the later songs losing a bit of their magic feeling because of it as we just space out more and more. In general, though, the band performs well and they manage to really encompass the happy crowd in their musical universe for a good experience to kick off this scribe's Autumn concert season.

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