Artist: Below 
   Title: Across The Dark River
   Label: Metal Blade

Doom quintet Below set a dark, sinister mood with their feature debut album 'Across the Dark River'.  Following in the same vein as fellow Swede’s Candlemass and Count Raven, Below deliver eight tracks that sadly do not deliver as much of a punch as the bands predecessors.

From the outset the album does pretty much what it says on the tin.  All the songs are of a slow tempo with riffs being grinded out meticulously one after the other.  The vocals and melody lines do not sound alike to early Sabbath as you may expect, but instead sound akin to Ronnie James Dio and the high pitched wails of King Diamond. 

One issue I have with 'Across the Dark River' is that it does not really reinvent or bring anything fresh to the doom genre.  With the songs being slow, there has to be something that grabs the listener but I could not find it on this album.  It is a fitting tribute to a bygone era of metal but there is nothing that is particularly captivating about this release. 

That is not to say it is a bad record as it is a very heavy, consistent record and there are some fine moments during 'Bid You Farewell' and the title track.  Sadly though, it is what it is and there is just that little bit of Black Sabbath magic missing that could have made this album a hit. 

Review by: Rob Herald

Tracklisting:

1. Trapped 
2. Bid You Farewell
3. Ghost Of A Shepherd
4. Portal
5. In My Dreams
6. Mare Of The Night
7. The Whitechapel Murderer
8. Across The Dark River

                   

 

All content copyright of The Mayfair Mall Zine unless otherwise stated.