20 Best Metal Albums of 2017

Hardcore trailblazers, longform doom and genre-bending savagery: the year in heavy

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Pallbearer, 'Heartless'
20
6/20

6. Pallbearer, 'Heartless'

Arkansas' Pallbearer have never been much of a conventional doom band, and on their third full length they stray even further from their sludgy roots, leaning harder on shimmering guitars, yearning vocals, downcast prog atmospheres and hooky classic-rockisms. The album's pleasures, like its sound, are immense, unfurling slowly and deliberately across seven lengthy and expansive cuts. The overall effect is a beautiful melancholia: Guitars ring and chime and snake around one another, voices overlap in pristine harmony, arrangements ebb and flow and eventually swell to gargantuan proportions. If anything, the thick, bowel-shaking distorted chords often feel like they're there to punctuate, rather than anchor, the music. R.B.

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