When underground metal bands appeal to non-metal listeners, it's often because they've found a way to tweak, expand, or do away with genre conventions. Outside of iconic heavy classic rock or shiny mainstream metal, this doesn't mean the music is easier to listen to as a result—there's the collaborative art-drone of Sunn O))), as unlikely a crossover band as any, and Deafheaven's blend of shoegaze guitar textures and screamo/black metal vocals. It's rare that a contemporary group remains entirely in the metal world and still manages to find an audience outside of it, but the vintage-doom players in Pallbearer have done just that. Their ascension started with their debut, 2012's excellent Sorrow and Extinction, and with the release of their brilliant second album, Foundations of Burden, it's easy to imagine them gaining even more popularity.
When the Arkansas quartet put out Sorrow, they had already built excitement in the metal underground based on a three-song 2010 demo; but for most people, the five-song, 49-minute LP—with its gorgeous guitar tones and sky-soaring vocals—was their first taste of the group. Pallbearer ended Sorrow's thank you list with "and, of course Black Sabbath," which made perfect sense because they appeal to that diverse cross section of people who also thank Black Sabbath for their own personal reasons.
Two years later, they've returned with a collection that feels even more connected to the pure, unadulterated aspects of doom, and Pallbearer have transcended the need to thank anyone but themselves. The group were given a bigger budget from their label Profound Lore to record Foundations, and they did so with Billy Anderson, who also sat behind the controls for the classic Sleep oeuvre and has recorded seminal works for High on Fire, Melvins, Jawbreaker, and others (including Red House Painters, who's early material had a sense of space that makes sense in this realm).