Chuck Schuldiner Project

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Below - Upon A Pale Horse

The world of trad doom is one that has often been criticised for having become stale and derivative in recent years. It's fascinating then that we seem to regularly stumble upon bands that drive the genre to a whole new level. Upon A Pale Horse is Below's contribution to the canon, an album that borrows from traditional metal sounds and fuses it with moments reminiscent of groups like Warning and Pallbearer. The end result is an album that rings through your mind as you fall ever more in love with the hooks and the desolate landscapes within.

As much as Below might be hinting at the sound of groups like Witchfinder General and obscurities within the NWOBHM scene Upon A Pale Horse shows a distinct connection with the modern doom scene. The general sound feels like something of a mix between Pilgrim and Pallbearer, though I regularly get the sense that their influences come from a much more Cirith Ungol-esque place. There's something about bands like this on, that seamlessly blend old and new that remains incredibly addictive to me. Upon A Pale Horse exists in a realm that is totally its own and which can't help but to enamor.

Monolithic in scale and with some truly excellent production Below have managed to tap into something truly special here. They simultaneously conjure up images of long games of Advanced Dungeons And Dragons and thoughts of major festivals with only the hippest doom nerds hanging out. They walk a fine line and it helps to make Upon A Pale Horse an addictive record for someone who is immersed in the scene. Below are masters of their craft and with a truly unique sound - jam them.

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