Initially formed in 2008, by Joseph D. Rowland (bass) and Brett Campbell (vocals/guitars), Pallbearer grew from the fertile underground metal scene of Little Rock, Arkansas. A year later, joined by guitarist Devin Holt and (since departed) drummer Zach Stine, the four members quickly recorded the band’s first demo. These three tracks garnered well-deserved attention, with critics and fans taking notice of what could only be described as a wholly singular sound from the promising band.
Pallbearer’s debut full-length Sorrow and Extinction was released in early 2012. At just under fifty minutes, the album’s five tracks capitalized on the primal clout of the band’s demo, but here the songs were freed from reliance on volume as the music wavered beautifully between subdued introspection and towering aural force. Released by the well-respected Canadian underground label, Profound Lore, Sorrow and Extinction instantly made waves among listeners and critics who found Pallbearer’s compositional paradox of vulnerability and might unparalleled in a metal world replete with imitators.
Hailed by Rolling Stone as the #1 metal album of 2012, the album also received the coveted “Best New Music” stamp of approval from Pitchfork as well as being cited as one of the year’s best albums by outlets such as Spin and NPR. Sorrow and Extinction proved to be an unequivocal masterpiece in any genre of music and, most importantly, compelled Pallbearer to reach even further creatively for what would come next. 2012 would also see the addition of drummer Mark Lierly, adding further depth to the already immense and mercurial sound the band had pioneered.
Rather than settle themselves in the convenient safety of listener expectation, Pallbearer delve even deeper into melodic contexts for Foundations of Burden, with Rowland now adding his own impressive vocalizations to the sonic texture. This new vocal dynamic brings an authentically visceral component to Pallbearer’s music that, while giving credence to their metal foundations, adds a new and compelling dimension to music which has long since proved itself to be inexorably captivating.