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Show Review
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Bands Pallbearer, Bell Witch, Wrekmeister Harmonies
Date(s) February 28, 2016
Venue(s) Zanzabar
Location Louisville, KY
Score 4/5 (Wrekmeister), 4/5 (Bell Witch, 5/5 (Pallbearer)

NOTE: This review is originally sourced from doodlehound.blogspot.com, published March 5, 2016.

Pallbearer live 2-28-2016 at Zanzabar, Louisville, KY.

"This is our first time we've ever played here. We've heard so much good about Louisville and we're really happy to have sold out our first Louisville show."

I knew full well going into this show that it'd be the most packed I would ever see Zanzabar. While I've seen the venue with sizable crowds in the past (Notably King Buzzo and Bernie Worrell's appearances there in past years) I got word this one was destined to legit sell out. I get to the venue very close to the scheduled start time and it's already fairly packed. Not long after a light array of guitar works and minimalist atmosphere would form as the chattering crowd would slowly quiet to listen.

Wrekmeister Harmonies had begun.

The music began fairly lulling with a guitar that peered in the background to the forefront of light vocal harmonies and piano, giving serious implications of the music building up to something heavier. However that build up would take a great amount of time, finding it's ebb and flow in this minimalist dark folk as I could best describe it. After roughly sixteen minutes a drummer and extra guitarist would join the stage for this slagging heavy piece filled with low growls amidst the lead guitarist's vocal performance, a mix of . A rhythm would eventually formulate among the drones and dark atmospheres and than amorphously fade. Forty minutes after it's beginnings they were finished to cheers.

Profound Lore Records' Bell Witch would soon follow with a brand of funeral doom (With hiints of death/doom that evokes some similarities to bands like Ahab, Evoken, Morgion and Esoteric. While the set started off with a guitar harmony that was pleasantly mellow but would eventually deviate into punishing funeral doom. Songs would drag like a dying animal in a desert, battered by endless punishing rays of the sun. However, the music of Bell Witch itself, the live set mainly comprised of new songs from "Four Phantoms" with no song being under ten minutes. Fifty minutes and roughly three songs of punishment later left the crowd in a slow daze.

Then sometime into the night as the sold out crowd packed like sardines Pallbearer would take stage to a roar of cheers from the packed bar. Opening right into “Worlds Apart” (From the 2014 album “Foundations of Burden”), this Arkansas band presented their style of doom metal that evokes the downer riffs yet exudes a charisma that feels unique. Brett Campbell’s charismatic voice soars above the bleak riffs to paint an atmosphere that is as much epic as it is existential. The set soldiered forward with “Devoid of Redemption” and “The Ghost I Used To Be” before mixing it up with a brand new song, albeit an instrumental take. The implications that a new album was not far on the horizon hyped the crowd even more.

Pallbearer’s sound exudes a natural charisma to it that sucked everyone in and left the crowd utterly mesmerized, myself included. Even through shorter bursts like “Fear and Fury” and one more new song in its embryonic stages the crowd seemed to soak in every riff, every slick bass line, every drum crash and every soaring vocal. The set finally closed later this Sunday night with “Foreigner”, the song that opened the 2012 album “Sorrow and Extinction” which changed the face of doom metal and solidified this great band as one worth checking out for years to come.

Overall, this show was one of my favorites this year. Wrekmeister Harmonies and Bell Witch brought their own twisted music to the table, thus bringing new light to genres that found new life in this decade. But Pallbearer were the absolute show-stoppers, taking a genre built on bleakness and a lack of hope and creating something beautiful from it. I find their music fascinating already in studio form but the live performance only added to the story in a very good way.

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