Listen: Pallbearer are very good at what they do. And what they do is a particularly shoegazey form of sludge post-metal. Foundations Of Burden is a weighty collection of dark soundscapes reminiscent of Sabbath and their most. As much as they revel in the bassy molasses of their core sound, they come most alive when they add lighter flourishes on top, like on The Ghost I Used To Be.
Which makes their summary defeat at the hands of Milanese metalheads Destrage all the more cruel. One listen through the album opener Destroy Create Transform Sublimate tells you everything you need to know about what kind of fight these guys brought with them. Honestly, it's hard to think of an album who played more to this judge in 2014 than Are You Kidding Me? No. That's not to say that it lacks weaknesses -- for all of its kitchen-sink sensibilities, their tendency to reappropriate other influences seems at least 15 years behind the times, and it's hard to not hear nu metal or crabcore in Paolo Colavolpe's vocal stylings. But even with those problems, Destrage turn in a performance with higher energy and more interestingness than their previous album, and undeniably more metal than Pallbearer.
We'll find out tonight if either Cormorant or Vainaja have what it takes to stop Destrage's madness.