Pallbearer + Tuskar
@ The Underworld
16th July 2018
Review & Photography by
Thomas James Henry Saunders
Pallbearer don’t visit London all that often, there being the Atlantic Ocean in the way ‘n’ all, so anticipation is suitably high for these masterful doom artists to descend upon the big smoke newly armed with 2017’s “Heartless” and more recently, their 2018 single “Dropout”.
As preparations go on the London circuit, this one proved to have a shaky beginning though. First announced as playing inside the mighty Islington Assembly Hall before being moved just weeks prior to the smaller yet arguably more intimate Camden venue, the Underworld.
Arriving shortly before the bands kick off, it’s a surprise at how packed the Underworld already is, as many are crowded around the array of beautifully drawn tee’s at the merch stall, which are as much a staple of a decent Doom band as the music itself.
Beginning the night’s doom and sludge infestation is the “surrey hills” (Milton Keynes) based Tuskar whom begin in a dark and brooding style as the duo peer out while discordant guitaring wails play out through the amps.
Having a heavy and thundering sound reminiscent of original Black Sabbath, Tuskar waste no time in warming themselves to the packed audience. Despite the band having only released one EP thus far, in the form of 2017’s “Arianhod” the 5 tracks of their entire set-list are all great live tracks that do not disappoint or feel awkward at all.
What’s striking about these two is the wall of sound produced from them both, with the incredibly talented Tyler Hodges on drumming & vocal duties sending out shockwave after shockwave with his machine-like flexibility on the kit.
At first what had seemed a strange gimmick, having the drum kit facing partially away from the stage with Tyler sitting alongside, now seems an obvious choice as his style of playing is mesmerizing to watch.
Sole guitarist Tom Dimmock Doesn’t disappoint in presence either as he head-bangs furiously while churning out powerful melancholic riffs and melodies.
Although the crowd appear rather still and motionless from afar, we’re utterly enticed by Tyler & Tom‘s impressive array of musicianship. The crowd cheer loud and clearly in applause as they take their leave. Always an enjoyable act to catch live and one to look out for as they release further material.
1. Crimson Skull
3. Where Strides the Colossus
5. The Tide
As the stage is set for the mighty Arkansas based Pallbearer the crowd are packed in tight and all eyes are eagerly awaiting these soaring doom stars. They waste no time at all in getting started as the set begins immediately after completing their own sound-check.
The deep, bone-shaking chords of “Watcher in the Dark” play out across the fixated crowd as the
great showman as well as accomplished bassist Joseph D. Rowland takes centre stage, whirling and laughing out confidently as the crowd chant and cheer.
Going straight into their follow-up track, newly released 2018 single “Dropout” Pallbearer excel at combining their classically heavy metal musicianship with deep and resonant vocals provided by the heartfelt founding member and lead guitarist Brett Campbell.
Brett’s vocals cut through the wall of sound to powerful affect, none more impressively so than on “Worlds Apart” form the 2014 album “Foundations of Burden”, throughout the epic soundscapes and sheer ambience that they all deliver in immaculate fashion.
They’re a sheer joy to watch as Brett & Joseph duel together numerous times, and again as they all dance to their own individual melodies throughout the composition.
Keeping the melodies from verging off too far into the wilderness is the guttural heavy metal riffing provided by additional guitarist Devin Holt as he churns out each catchy riff in passionate style.
The crowd are all chanting, headbanging along and raising horns to each riff by the end of their set that could easily have been doubled in length without any complaint from the crowd.
Pallbearer ends the set on the shudderingly heavy “Devoid of Redemption” form 2012’s debut album “Sorrow and Extinction” as the end of a trio of tracks taken from the aforementioned album which go down a true storm to those who enjoyed the heavier and darker period of their sound.
As they all take their bows and cheer back at the booming crowd, the decision to have changed venue has proven to have been a real success as the band have truly captivated the crowd in this small and intimate venue. Many smiles are found in those leaving the venue after Pallbearer have proven again how doom metal is still relevant as well as being a great live experience.
1. Watcher In The Dark
4. Dancing In Madness
5. Worlds Apart
7. Given to The Grave
8. Devoid Of Redemption