Doom metal is known for brutally heavy guitars, glacial tempos and lyrics about dread and despair (plus lots of Tolkien-esque imagery). Yet somehow, Little Rock, Arkansas’ Pallbearer make all that stuff sound almost uplifting. Listen to “Foreigner” or “An Offering of Grief” from the group's 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction, and tell me you’re not compelled to get up, move around, maybe throw a fist or some devil horns in the air. I feel energized listening to singer Brett Campbell, sounding like the offspring of Ozzy and Geddy Lee, hitting the soaring notes in “Devoid of Redemption,” even though he’s singing, “A wicked soul, who did not long to see the sunrise/ With sullen heart, he cursed the churning waves around him.”
Black Sabbath, of course, birthed doom metal with the sepulchral title track on their self-titled 1970 debut album, and you can hear 'em in every doom record since. As pervasive as that influence is, though, Pentagram, Trouble and Blue Cheer are equally vital "proto doom" acts who emerged in the '70s and '80s to help point the way for future metalheads. In the years since, bands have explored various subgenres. Candlemass borrowed the more grandiose elements of power metal to make epic doom. Sleep made it sludgier and more hypnotic, birthing stoner metal. Warning slowed it down even further and focused almost exclusively on the gloomier side of life (death, in other words), creating funeral doom.
Now, Pallbearer carry on the tradition, working within traditional doom metal boundaries while simultaneously transcending them. Peer into the pit of darkness from whence they emerged with this playlist, and check out the albums too.