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Viking's Choice: Pallbearer, 'The Ghost I Used To Be'

Pallbearer. (Courtesy of the artist)

Pallbearer's Sorrow and Extinction was one of 2012's most heartbreaking metal records — equal parts Black Sabbath and Candlemass in its stately sad-bastard doom. But those masterful twin-lead guitars, the funeral-paced riffs, and Brett Campbell's gripping voice sometimes got buried in the mix. With producer Billy Anderson at the helm for Pallbearer's second album, Foundations of Burden, every riff, melody, snare hit and vocal is crystal-clear in that rounded tone for which Anderson is known. Here's the first premiere from Foundations of Burden, "The Ghost I Used to Be."

In the song's first 20 seconds, Pallbearer strides along with unmistakable heft, like a knight returned victorious from battle. But it's a ruse. "The Ghost I Used to Be," an apt introduction to Burden, is a conscientious builder. For another 20 seconds, the band scales way back to only humming guitars and a clearly established melody, a move that works in Pallbearer's favor as it rings throughout, right to the somewhat moshable breakdown. Or at least the kind of moody mosh Deftones inspires, complete with a shouted response from bassist Joseph Rowland, who wrote the words to "Ghost." It's a curious surprise (among a few on Burden) for what has so far been a fairly traditional doom-metal band, but the new elements are consistent with Pallbearer's bleakly hopeful outlook.

Foundations of Burden comes out Aug. 19 on Profound Lore Records.

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