Power Metal Party




Let’s get this out of the way first: Pallbearer crushed it the other night in Brooklyn, their sensuous vibrations seeping into my core with every doomy guitar stroke and thunderous drum thud. Royal Thunder did too; they’re totally locked in right now and tighter than ever, Mlny Parsonz’s vocals sounding absolutely stellar. Inter Arma proved why Relapse signed them this summer; their new material showed a whole lot of promise.

But I couldn’t help but chuckle when Pallbearer guitarist/vocalist Brett Campbell strolled out on stage repping power metal band While Heaven Wept on his chest. I did a double take, could he really be wearing a While Heaven Wept t-shirt, THE While Heaven Wept? Was I confusing While Heaven Wept with another band? Is Campbell a closet (or un-closeted, as it were) power metal fan???

But the more I thought about it, the more it makes sense: Pallbearer don’t have a keyboardist and they don’t play metronome-busting sweep arpeggios or double bass blasts, but much to the chagrin of their mostly indie-centric fanbase they are basically just a power metal band in disguise. While Heaven Wept have a slight doom tinge to begin with, but let’s face it, they’re a fucking POWER METAL BAND, and the plaidshirtniks who read Pitchfork, Stereogum and NPR on a daily basis would call that band “super gay” in a heartbeat despite their propensity for political correctness.

But when you really break down the music, Pallbearer aren’t that far a cry from power metal. Forget While Heaven Wept — take the poweriest of power metal bands — let’s say Manowar — and imagine that shit slowed the fuck down, with fuzzy retro amp tones, distorted bass and way more reverb on the drums and you’ve pretty much got Pallbearer nailed. No adjustment to the vocals necessary, because Campbell sings cleanly almost all of the time anyway!

I say all of this, by the way, as an unabashed fan of power metal. I am not judging. I loves me some power! And I like Pallbearer, too, although perhaps I didn’t even know why until Tuesday night.

Some While Heaven Wept songs don’t even need the slow-down/fuzz/distort treatment to make them sound like Pallbearer. Take “The Furthest Shore,” conveniently cued up to 8:55 for the relevant part below:

I mean, amirite? That’s Pallbearer to a tee right there.

Next time Pallbearer tour I demand that Campbell brings a stash of Manowar, Kamelot, Rhapsody, Symphony X and Primal Fear shirts and wears exclusively those on stage. Do it!


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