AlbumsMay 15, 20244,352 views

Pallbearer Mind Burns Alive


Mind Burns Alive
1. Where The Light Fades 2. Mind Burns Alive 3. Signals 4. Endless Place 5. Daybreak 6. With Disease
2024 Nuclear Blast Records
Our score 10

by Jake
5/15/2024

Doom metal is a genre that we don’t often talk about here at Lambgoat, but today I’m shaking that up by reviewing the new Pallbearer album. Mind Burns Alive is the fifth full-length album from the Arkansas quartet over the past nine years and with each record that came before this, the band have written some great songs which focus on the things that doom metal often does: pain, loss, and despair. While those themes are tried-and-true paths to take with music in general, it’s how doom utilizes its unique structures and approach that makes these themes feel a bit more resonant through this genre lens.

Pallbearer – Tickets – Space Ballroom – Hamden, CT – June 18th, 2024 |  Space Ballroom

Taking a slower, more contemplative approach allows the lyrics, ideas, and emotional weight of these topics to sink deeper into the listener. That is what doom - and by extension Pallbearer - does best. On Mind Burns Alive, they have refined how they approach almost every single aspect of what they’ve been doing for the last decade and produced a record that feels painfully raw, pulling at threads that heavy music often overlooks.

While there are plenty of ways to discuss an album’s merit (or lack thereof) I think it’s often best to assess what the purpose of the music actually is and hold it to that flame and see what remains. In the case of Mind Burns Alive, it becomes clear very quickly that its intentions are to liberate the emotions that are locked away or pushed deep down out of fear or hesitancy. From the very first moment until the last, this album creates an atmosphere of ease around these unexpressed or unarticulated anxieties that are often swirling in our minds, looking for a way out.

“Where the Light Fades” begins the album with a lovely opening lilt accompanied by a noticeably present bass, synth, and guitars before things scale quickly back to Brett Campbell’s lonesome timbre and a single guitar. The way this song moves, the vocal phrasing, the dynamics, the lyrics, the production, literally every aspect of this song clicks together in ways that few bands ever accomplish. What makes this even wilder still is that the same could be said for basically every song that follows.

The title track explores more traditional doom metal territory with twin lead guitars walking over massive riffs that feel like classic Pallbearer fare, but meshed with new melodic ideas with the lyrics again stealing the show with just how raw they are. Each moment builds to the next either through tension in the silence or through overwhelmingly emotive solos that interact perfectly with the chugging rhythms provided by the stellar drumming and bass lines. “Endless Place” sees a more grand approach from the start with less build than its counterparts in the tracklist and it has the bonus of a massive saxophone solo that graces its near eleven minutes.

“Daybreak” is perhaps the most dynamic track on Mind Burns Alive. The beginnings are quiet and sparse with lyrics that embrace acquiescence as a viable way to deal with pain and loss in a very dramatic fashion that is reminiscent of bands such as Warning or Thy Listless Heart. It’s up to the listener to decide for themselves if this song (and album as a whole) verges on sentimentality, but for me none of it comes across less than sincere. “With Disease” closes this fifty minute affair as the heaviest track on Mind Burns Alive with shouted harsh vocals, the punchiest of riffs, and the loudest drumming heard on the album. It’s a fantastic way to close the record out as it feels both heavy and cathartic in perfect balance.

Throughout the many times I spun this album in preparation of this review, I was consistently amazed with just how moving these songs were and how the album felt like a way to access and process whatever I was feeling at the moment. Yes there are riffs, and solos, and drum fills, and bass lines and all of that. However, what makes this album special isn't the mechanics or objective measurements of the production regardless of how important all of that stuff is. Pallbearer have reached deeply into the human experience and let us access that along with them on these songs and for that reason I think this album is going to be a classic album in their discography and the genre as a whole. 

Bottom Line: Pallbearer have always been near the top of the heap of modern doom bands but with Mind Burns Alive they have transcended genre and style and have made an album that I believe will be looked back on as a classic. The congruence of the lyrical themes with the monstrous sounds of progressive doom metal makes this album a genuine feat that I truly think will persevere through this year’s flood of releases and well beyond.


19 comments

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anonymous 37 days ago

The score is higher than the IQ of most Lambgoat commenters.

anonymous 37 days ago

Jake is going to be one of those guys, huh? Everything is just a perfect masterpiece. After listening to the first minute of Endless Place, I can assure everyone this is not a 10.

anonymous 37 days ago

After glancing at the band photo, I can assure everyone that this is not a 10.

Inkongudunk 37 days ago

Not a 10

anonymous 37 days ago

After glancing at the band photo, I can assure everyone that this is not a 10, unless we are talking about the age of their victim.

Zortslob 37 days ago

Zulu just canceled this site

anonymous 37 days ago

If I'm Zulu I'm pissed. A bunch of white guys get a 10, but not us?! Systemic racism is alive and well I see. FOR SHAME LAMBGOAT!!! FOR SHAME!!!

anonymous 37 days ago

My ears must be broken

anonymous 36 days ago

This 10 rating would be much more exciting if the last 20 records reviewed weren't all 9's. Jusayin.

anonymous 36 days ago

Glad to see the white man back on top.

anonymous 35 days ago

A 10? honestly this album was a 5 at best whoever reviews these albums must be smoking crack and is probably mentally retarded

anonymous 35 days ago

I disagree with your completely subjective opinion. Hold up while I get mad about it.

anonymous 31 days ago

Ballbearer

anonymous 31 days ago

A 10 after it's been out for a day? Y'all really need to get your shit together. A 10 is for something that has a legacy and stands the test of time. This watered down version of a once great band isn't a 10. Saying it is so early is child like. Get it together. Maybe review old albums so it'll make sense when you retards give something a 10. Did nuclear blast buy ad space or something? A 10 would at least warrant a year of listening to actually take it in. What a dork. What a shit site. What a joke.

anonymous 31 days ago

Lmao at rating this a 10 and them actually posting it. Still better than that retard Eliot's reviews though.

anonymous 30 days ago

Turn Down Elliott, am I right? PTW

anonymous 24 days ago

A metal band records an emo/prog record and Lambgoat gives it a 10.

anonymous 23 days ago

I thought this sounded like a very boring Roger Waters record (albeit heavier). I got through 4 songs before I turned it off, and I can normally listen to an entire Anal c*nt record no problem. Shit Review.

anonymous 7 days ago

Guys. This isn't good.