Below – “Across the Dark River” (Metal Blade, 2014)

Below_-_Across_the_Dark_RiverJesus Christ! How’d this slip by under the radar?

There should be hordes of metalheads screaming the praises of this band and their debut record.

Bands just don’t make records like this anymore. Listening to this takes me back to a different time: walking with headphones on, hearing “Epicus Doomicus Metallus” for the first time, and all the revelations that followed. It redefined what it meant for a metal band to be heavy.

Below formed in 2012 but you would swear that they have been around for 20+ years after one listen of “Across the Dark River.” The phrase “born too late” has never been more applicable. Listening to the riffs, the somber singing, and the slow-tempoed tromp, you’d think this was an album recorded in the 1980’s and left in a vault, forgotten, until now.

I can’t not say enough with regards to the quality of the songwriting, the playing, the riffs, the production and the singing. I mean, the singing is jawdroppingly good. This dude (goes by the name of Zeb) can hold his own with the likes of Robert Lowe and Messiah Marcolin. Yeah, he’s that good.

King Diamond guitarist, Andy LaRocque, produced this record. And, he produced it superbly, I might add. But, really, is any less to be expected of such a legend? He was so thoroughly impressed with the band, he had this to say about working with them:

This is one of the heaviest bands I have worked with in the studio for a very long time.

You don’t have to take my word for it; take Andy’s. Do yourself a favor and seek this record out if you’re a fan of Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, and Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath. This is truly a phenomenal record. You will not be sorry.

Check it out, here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEYyYAzofGg

Buy it, here:
https://www.indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords

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