The doom quartet known as PALLBEARER took the stage at The Barbary on an extremely hot Monday night in Philadelphia. The small venue was packed and the crowd applauded as the men readied their instruments. They opened their four-song set with a new track set to be released on their upcoming album, Foundations of Burden (out August 19 via Profound Lore Records). I was unable to catch the title of the song, but it was excellent! That signature sound possessed on the critically acclaimed Sorrow and Extinction is alive within this track. It was truly epic, and I am anxiously awaiting their next LP in August. Following that new track was one of my absolute favorite PALLBEARER tunes, “Devoid of Redemption.” This was my third time catching these guys, and yet again, they absolutely nailed this song live! Let me say, their guitar tones alone are reason enough to see them in person. DEVASTATING!
Another number from their upcoming record followed. If I heard correctly, the title of this one was “The Ghost I Used to Be.” Again, this new song is filled with epic doom greatness. I don’t like to base opinions of albums off of just one or two songs, but if the two I heard on this night are any indication of what their forthcoming LP is going to sound like, it will be incredible!
In what seems like one of the most perfect set closing songs of all time, PALLBEARER concluded their set with Sorrow and Extinction‘s opening number, “Foreigner.” The guitar leads in this song have given me chills all three times I have witnessed them perform it live; sign of true greatness in a song, as well as a band. I will continue to see PALLBEARER every opportunity I have.
Shortly after, DEAFHEAVEN went on. As they briefly said hello to the sold out crowd, everyone cheered loudly. The chilling intro to “Dream House” was frantically strummed by Kerry McCoy, soon bursting into blast beats with the full band. The energy level in the small venue spiked and vocalist George LeSage Clarke’s scream cut like a knife. It was a perfect opener to their set and also set the tone for what was to come. If you’ve never experienced a DEAFHEAVEN live performance, you are desperately missing out. Listening to their music on record is a great experience, but seeing them perform it in front of you is the best way to truly feel these songs. I have not seen many frontmen lose themselves so deeply in the words and emotions they convey onstage as George does. Even when he was silent, you could tell he was fully immersed in the music and its message.
The following song in their extensive set was the second (and instrumental) track from 2013’s Sunbather, “Irresistible.” Charging forward into the night was the title track from the aforementioned album. “Sunbather” got the crowd moving as much as we could in the tight confines of The Barbary. The over ten minute composition was my favorite song of the set. After this came “Please Remember.” Then it hit me; all of the songs from Sunbather were being played in order. Was I going to witness the ENTIRE album being played live?! Yes, I certainly did. And let me tell you, I have listened to that album from front to back at least 100 times and nothing compared to hearing it, seeing it, feeling it in a live setting, especially at such an intimate venue.
After the widely praised album was performed to completion with precision, George informed the crowd they had reached the final song of their set, which was from Roads to Judah, titled “Unrequited.” It was a forceful way to close a night of undeniably epic music.
This tour package runs through July 2 and hits most of the United States. You would be foolish to pass on this ticket! Even if you have never heard these two excellent bands before, do yourself a favor and get a ticket today. The two groups are different in many ways, but their music blended the night together so well. You can get your dose of heavy, slow headbanging doom via PALLBEARER, and speedy, yet moody (and sometimes shoegaze) blackened metal via DEAFHEAVEN. See why the critics (myself included) consistently praise these two groups. Don’t just sit there and take our words for it. This is one of the best tours of the summer.
LIVE REVIEW: ERIC THE BULL
LIVE PHOTOS: MIKE SIEVILA PHOTOGRAPHY