Current and Former My Dying Bride Guitarists Speak Out About Loving Pallbearer

In a little more than a month, everyone will get a chance to hear Pallbearer‘s newest album, Heartless, in full.  It is the band’s most adventurous and colorful statement since they crashed this decade’s doom party with their first full-length record, Sorrow and Extinction.

When we started gathering information for our recent Pallbearer cover story (Issue #148, February 2017), we began hearing about some of the band’s high profile fans.  Turns out, longtime doom doers Hamish Glencross (Vallenfyre, ex-My Dying Bride) and Andrew Craighan (My Dying Bride) are particularly enamored of the Arkansas boys and their brand of low ‘n’ slow.  We checked in with the two guitarists and let them gush praise about a surprising new favorite.

While you read their thoughts, be sure to check out “Thorns,” a peek into one angle the band has taken with their new music.

When did you first hear Pallbearer’s music?

Glencross:  It was sound check at the first [Decibel Tour] show in L.A., I’m sorry to say! I just hadn’t checked them out before the first show, so I was absolutely blown away by what I heard for the first time. I remember I was with Alejandro [Coredor] (live bass player for Vallenfyre) behind the stage, and I just said to him, “Fuck, that’s a glorious noise!” The stage was shaking! 

What did you think about their performances on the Decibel Tour?

Glencross:  I made a point to watch them as much as I could, which was hard because they were on straight after us with only a very quick changeover, but I loved how much they changed the set from night to night, so I got to see a great selection of songs. I loved watching [bassist] Joe [Rowland]’s playing in particular – he is such a wonderful player. I knew the songs by riffs rather than names for so long. When I got back off tour and bought everything of theirs that I could, it was kind of strange hearing the recorded versions of songs I now knew so well. 

I understand you spent a bunch of time with them on that tour, in part because of shared dressing rooms.  What was it like hanging out with them on tour?

Glencross:  They are just the absolute most wonderful, funny and friendly guys; they were a joy to spend time with. I managed to spend some time with each of them individually in different cities too, so that was awesome. They were so generous in letting use their gear too. We had a good laugh joking that [guitarist] Devin [Holt] is actually my long lost son! 

What was the situation that led to you playing with them?

Glencross:  We arrived in Canada at the venue to find them with Joe missing. They’d had bad luck at the border with some dicks who either hated their job or loved it too much. So they planned to play the show as a three piece. I said I’d love to do a guest spot with them the next night, so we ran through a few riffs in preparation for the next night. I was so excited and also a bit nervous! It was so wonderful to join them onstage, especially as they’d been telling me that they’d been listening to stuff I’d done for years. 

What do you enjoy about their recorded work?

Glencross:  The sheer vastness of emotion shining through everything they do. There’s glorious heights and crushing lows. I didn’t think that I’d be finding a new favourite band in this day and age, but that’s exactly what’s happened. I feel it my duty to share their music with friends of mine, whether they want me to or not! Just ask Andy [Craighan, guitarist] from My Dying Bride!  He’s a convert after I insisted he listen to them. I’m starting my own Pallbearer fan club!

When did you first hear Pallbearer’s music?  

Craighan:  I was introduced to them by our former guitarist Hamish Glencross (yes we’re friends still).  In March of this year, he’d taken a break from knocking his wife up and emailed me.  He said, “Check this out, I think you’ll like it.”  I tapped up my CD broker at Hellraiser and she supplied me with Foundations of Burden and later Sorrow and Extinction. What got me hooked totally was the acoustic intro to “Foreigner” (and then the rest of the song) from Sorrow and Extinction though, it was the final hair raising moment for me.  At that point they were my new best friends. There are not many other doom bands I listen to but when they come along like this I have no qualms in buying their CDs (and t-shirts and their vinyl EP too, which I can’t play as I have no record player, but that’s not the point) and enjoying it as a simple doom metal fan.

What do you enjoy about their recorded work?

Craighan:  To be honest, at first, when I only had the Foundations of Burden CD, I wasn’t quite sure what they were doing – it was so downtuned I thought it sounded odd. Then after a few spins in the car I really started “getting” it, and I thought wow this is not like anything I’ve heard before, doom or otherwise.  I was sold.  I quickly emailed my CD broker again and received Sorrow and Extinction shortly afterwards, now this is a classic. The opening acoustic guitar is just brilliant the rest of the album equally so, not a bad track on it. 

Have you met the guys in Pallbearer?
Craighan:  No, and I intend to keep it that way as to not spoil the fun.

Haven’t read the 2017 preview issue featuring Pallbearer?  Order it here.