PALLBEARER – Forgotten Days

PALLBEARER - Forgotten Days
  • 8.1/10
    PALLBEARER - Forgotten Days - 8.1/10


Nuclear Blast
Release date: October 23, 2020

User Review
8.75/10 (2 votes)

Forgotten Days, the fourth album from Arkansan Doomsters Pallbearer continues the path of exploration and growth established throughout their decade-long recording career, moving in the same direction but taking divergent pathways from their excellent 2017 release Heartless. Known for long, epic-length songs, the band has switched up on both the duration and number of songs appearing on the album. Three of the eight tracks on Forgotten Days are shorter than five minutes long, and eight is their highest LP song count to date. There’s always been a healthy dose of Black Sabbath present in the Pallbearer sound; the shift to shorter, single-length tunes has given the new album a feel similar to the O.G.’s of Doom while maintaining their uniqueness. There’s still a twelve minute opus, the sprawling “Silver Wings”, so any fans signing on for the full-on Doom experience won’t be disappointed.

One of the Pallbearer’s signature strengths is that they often pack enough ideas for three songs into a single track, and they play upon that strength even on the shorter tracks of Forgotten Days. There’s a shift in the middle of the melancholy opening title track that takes the listener into a whole different mood than the beginning of the song, and follow-up “Riverbed” does the same trick through switching up the time signatures and contrasting muddy Doom-laden riffs with airy and soaring guitar lines on top. “Stasis” uses subtle and restrained synth effects to heighten the mood of the song, aligning with music and vocals to conjure the feeling implied by the song’s title.

“Silver Wings” throws a few change-ups, taking flight with a swifter (for Pallbearer, anyway) cadence and riff before downshifting–and downshifting again–before the extended guitar solos at the center of the song. This is music for astral travelers–at the beginning of the song one imagines the “Silver Wings” carrying one through a planetary atmosphere, a few minutes later one is drifting through space after exploring the inside of an asteroid.

“The Quicksand Of Existing”, one of the heaviest tunes on the album, chugs forward with a martial implacability. “Vengeance & Ruination” is like a tour through Hell where “Under the shadows of high walls/The condemned is led blindly to doom“. “Rite Of Passage” lightens the mood a bit, trading observed horrors for a more personal ache in a song about loss and roads not taken. Album closer “Caledonia” ends the album with one of the most sadly beautiful songs of this–or any–year, written as a means to try and cope with the passing of a bandmember’s mother.

Paradoxically, the song is both the high point of the album and one of the strongest tunes in Pallbearer’s impressive catalog. Filled with weirdness like the strangely uplifting guitar solo and acoustic outro, elements that serve to inject what sounds like hopefulness in a haunting track of mourning, it is a suitably impressive track to end a very impressive album.


  • Daniel Waters

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. Iron Maiden’s Piece Of Mind wasn’t the first Metal album he owned, but it was the one that lifted the lid off his soul when he received the record as a gift on his 15th birthday. He's been a Metal fan ever since. He's probably best known as the author of various Young Adult novels such as the Generation Dead series and the ghost story Break My Heart 1,000 Times, now also a major motion picture entitled I Still See You, starring Bella Thorne. Writing and music, especially Heavy Metal music, has always been inextricably linked in his mind and career. His first paid gig doing any type of writing was for Cemetery Dance, where he wrote a horror-themed music column called Dead Beats, and when he was writing the first Generation Dead novel he had a ritual where he started his writing day with a Metal playlist that kicked off with “Crushing Belial” by Shadows Fall.

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