Album Reviews

Pallbearer Industry: Antarctica Rising

On their latest LP, the Canadian three-piece take sludge to new places.

Ottawa three-piece, Pallbearer Industry, have spent the last several years leading us through the strange portals of sludge and psychadelia.

Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Pat Farrell, bassist/keyboardist Leigh Newton, and percussions/synth wrangler Jeff Dowdall, Pallbearer Industry first cropped up on the radar via their 2021 releases, Astral II and Alive in the Mills. On their latest offering, Antarctica Rising, here we find the Canadian outfit presenting their most compelling chapter so far.

On Antarctica Rising, Pallbearer Industry take us on a voyage inspired by their sci-fi leanings, and through the sweltering marshlands of sludge, we are met with hefty tones and mechanical-like build-ups that surprisingly make this journey a hypnotic one. Ultimately, it’s brought about by a band willing to leave no stone unturned in a bid to stretch their creative boundaries.

Orme: Orme

A band not afraid to throw their listeners off the scent, they start by doing exactly that with The Master Speaks. A thick sheet of rolling hell as a ghoulish sermon motivated by outer-worlds and death is delivered from the void, tormenting the masses in the process.

The rage seeps into Optical Youniverse – a slow, churning groan that cuts through electric fuzz and Dowdall’s rumbling percussion, which underpins Antarctica Rising. Here, it almost sounds like a lost Jesu recording from the Conqueror sessions.

Pallbearer Industry - Antarctica Rising

Next is the title track, as Pallbearer Industry reach the core of their ideas. An epic in its own right, the band unveil an array of sludge-laden textures and meditative chants, echoing the kind of tones Hey Colossus have seemingly made their for the past two decades. Again, though, Pallbearer Industry manage to extract the quintessential hypnotic vibe like few in the sphere of heavy music.

Things move quickly with Heretic. With a cymbal crash likened to sheet of glass shattering across the sidewalk, the amplifier heat carries and hits like a twisted, psychedelic mess. It’s essentially sludge at quarter speed, and it continues with the muffled groans and howls of Massive Tempest – it’s like watching a band raise hell through the looking glass.

Ivan The Tolerable Quartet: Toft House Session

Autumn’s Fall follows and in all its diesel-charged fury, it mirrors the greyscale psychadelia fellow psych-sludge agitators JAAW unleash on their debut LP (also due for release this week). Listening to both records, and you wouldn’t make them for likely bedfellows, but their ideas are very similar. Each just take different paths to get there.

And the path in which Pallbearer Industry take on Antarctica Rising is one few have dared to follow. There are a plethora of fresh ideas that reinvigorate a genre that has recently become a quagmire with sound-alikes and drab pastiche. Pallbearer Industry have made a timely arrival with an album that is undeniably original and ceaselessly stimulating.

Antarctica Rising is out via Echodelick Records (U.S.), We, Here & Now (Canada) and Up In Her Room (U.K.). Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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