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Titel / Title Across the Dark River 
Label Metal Blade Records 
Web www.facebook.com/belowmetal
Total run time
Vö/Releasebereits erschienen / already released 

Hailing from the epicenter of Doom Metal, Sweden, Below endow us with a very fine piece of Epic Doom Metal. Of course, one first is reminded of Candlemass but after listening a little more closely, you can also hear quite a few other big names of the mid-1980s temperate metal, such as Black Sabbath, King Diamond, and also some Iron Maiden. Funnily enough, when listening to Below I repeatedly noticed parallels to Memory Garden, which thus confirms their originality. Just listen to The Whitechapel Murderer.

Those, who were at last year´s Hammer of Doom festival already know that Below are very able to implement their material on stage. I, for one, remember the Swedes to be the band with the best stage acting and the greatest entertainment value. So far so heavy - and this is true for Below in any case; however, by adhering to Doom, they restrict their own musical possibilities, especially when it comes to speed. Hence, I would have wished, they played one or the other track a bit faster; now and then, the songs lack drive. Technically, there is absolutely nothing to criticize: there are strong melodies that you won´t get tired of anytime soon, a singer, who knows how to convey doomy melancholy, and a production - by Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) – that adds the last puzzle piece to the album´s classic heaviness. Highlights are: Ghost of a Shepherd, Mare of the Night and the title song, Across the Dark River.

Björn Schmiterlöw

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