Yesterday, I finally decided to take the new Pallbearer album for a spin, and guess what, I noticed those exact same things. It surprised me too, because for all I knew, Pallbearer was already at that point where confidence, passion and experience were present in the music. I have been a Pallbearer fan for several years. In my humble opinion, they are one of the best doom metal bands today. So yes, I was surprised to see that even a seasoned act like Pallbearer seems to evolve their style.
Of course, that is not a bad thing, on the very contrary. Without further ado, I can honestly say that 'Heartless' is a breathtaking album, progressive doom rock at a very high level. I hear influences from King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Anathema, My Dying Bride and Black Sabbath, but most of all, I hear Pallbearer give the very best of themselves. Opener 'I Saw The End' is a very strong song, one that immediately made me like the whole album.
'Thorns' is a first highlight, an epic piece of doom rock which takes me back to the nineties and the seventies at the same time. 'Lie Of Survival' is a long, progressive rock song with a gloomy edge, which even brings some gothic rock acts to mind, be it the slow, depressive ones. I really love the guitar play on this one, along with the introvert, emotional vocals. And suddenly I think, "what would happen if Pallbearer and Depeche Mode worked together". But nevermind that.
'Dancing In Madness' is another highlight, and dare I say "a masterpiece"? This song only proves what I have been babbling about in the first two paragraphs: confidence, passion and experience. With plenty of emotion and tonnes of musical craftsmanship, this is undoubtedly one of the best songs Pallbearer have ever written. If Pink FLoyd were a metal band, this would have been their sound.
Now, for the doom fans among us, don't worry. Besides progressive beauty, there a still plenty of doom loaded riffs to slowly bang your head to. 'Cruel Road' and title track 'Heartless' will easily fulfill your metallic needs. The closer is one for you to discover for yourself, but rest assured, I will definitely be worth the effort, just like the rest of the album. So yep, this one comes highly recommended. It's probably one of the most mature metal albums in history...