(8/10) Below started in 2011 in Sweden and their focus was, and still is, on more epic, heavy and dark doom. The first release of this five-piece band was a 4-track EP, which came out end of 2012, creating some first excitement in the metal community. This EP was an enabler for Below to embark on a 10 days tour through Denmark, Germany and Holland, followed by signing a contract with Metal Blades. It was also the time when I had a first interview with the guys and I can remember very brief answers. However, the potential was already very obvious back then and therefore it wasn’t a surprise that the first full-length album, “Across the Dark River”, received quite good feedback and fan reactions. This was in April 2014 and three years later we can welcome the anticipated new album “Upon a Pale Horse”.
The new record comes with seven new songs, which are introduced by the classic entitled “The Plague Within”. This gloomy minute sets the tone of voice for the other seven songs. Below is still in epical doom metal and what we can see/hear on the second album is a further evolvement of their sound and songs.
“Disappearing Into Nothing” is the first song that hits you. Slow and menacing the track unveils an intensity that acts as a dark wake-up call. Things change slightly with “The Coven”. As with all the songs, also this one has a sinister vibe; this time in a more half-acoustic way in the beginning. In the second half the songs turns into a mighty metal smasher that comes with some King Diamond parallels before it ends again in a more silent fashion.
The title track is the longest track on the album. With almost ten minutes Below puts everything they have in the offer into one track. And if this would not be enough the guys could gain Primordial’s Alan Averill for some spoken word, introducing this well-crafted doom monster. “Suffer in Silence” is a traditional metal song with singer Zeb showing the full width of his vocal range.
The last three tracks can keep up the high level of performance. Heavy riffs, great vocals and lots of atmosphere are what you get with “Upon a Pale Horse”. It took below three full years to come up with their next album but it seems that the time was well spend and used. These seven grim metal anthems show the band at a next level, strengthening their position in doom metal.
- The Plague Within
- Disappearing Into Nothing
- The Coven
- Upon a Pale Horse
- Suffer in Silence
- Hours of Darkness
- 1000 Broken Bones
- We are All Slaves
Label: Metal Blade
Genre: Doom Metal
Release Date EU: May 19th, 2017