Band Of the Week – BELOW


Right I’m off on holiday for a week so you’re getting Band Of the Week a few days early. I’m sure you can cope.

Atonement Records continue their crusade to resurrect the husk of 90’s Hardcore by unleashing the debut recordings from Manchester’s BELOW upon an unexpecting scene.
Darke’s been hinting about these guys via twitter for a while but with no live shows as yet and a rumoured demo that (until now) could well have been a product of his fevered imagination, I was starting to wonder if the poor lad hadn’t conjured his very own 90’s moshcore version of Harvey The Rabbit.

Vindication came when Below finally made their demo (along with the Renounced demo) available for download via the Atonement records bandcamp last week.
Boasting membership drawn from Manchesters reigning kings Broken Teeth & Survival, Below sound very little like either of their parent bands. Opening with droning whispers and a haunting, serpentine acoustic guitar lead that makes me think of Jim Morrison and a native american spirit guide wandering across drifting sands, reflecting upon matters metaphysical. It don’t take long before the mood shifts from incense tinged introspection to explosive violence as singer Tom bare knuckles his way into the intro with all the tact of a very large bull in a very small china shop.

Musically things follow suit, crunching metallic hardcore like we saw at the arse end of the 90’s with that e-chord getting worked like a fucking job. The lad behind the kit shows some flair with creative fills and fluid transitions but manages to still keep the rhythm tight as hell. Comparisons? Well I’ve seen people comparing Below to H8000 bands this and Arkangel that and all manner of other ill informed tosh. One can only assume these people have never had to sit through as many shitty Euro all-dayers as I have, else they’d be only too aware of how incorrect those comparisons are. No mate, Below owe more to the hard bands from the old Life Sentence roster like the pugnacious Grimlock, Reno’s Unconquered or the much lamented xClearx. The guitar players have got some serious chops throwing in hints of melody to provide contrast amongst the bone breaking palm muted mosh parts, and the haunting intro riff is reprised sporadically throughout the demo which weaves things together nicely.

I ain't got a Below pic. Let me live. (Survival by Nat Wood)

I ain’t got a Below pic. Let me live. (Survival by Nat Wood)

Lyrically the band are tackling much darker matter here than the more uplifting vibe of Survival, with doomy references to eucharist and the burdens of the soul. Vocalist Tom is drawing influence from a different well vocally when compared to his day job, opting here for a low end, thuggish grunt. Personally that is not to my taste too much, I guess that style of vocal was popularised to some degree by the likes of Crawlspace and Sad Origin etc but I always thought it sounded forced when those bands did it and I maintain that position here. The lads got a solid throat and a decent set of lung’s on him as well as some genuine fucking rage behind him but I think he’s selling himself a bit short here, still it’s early days and it ain’t easy switching styles so I’m keen to see where they head on future releases. Looking forward to seeing Below make their debut in Leeds alongside Final Rage, Ego Trip and Renounced, reports to follow!!

Download the demo : HERE
Below logo by Corehammer’s very own Deadbeat. We everywhere.

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About Nathan Bean

Tyrant/ Editor Nathan is a 'former member of...' numerous mediocre punk bands and internet gobshite and has been involved in the United Kingdom hardcore scene since the mid 90's. Now retired from active duty he spends his time writing about gaming, movies, music and comics, shouting at the television and threatening to start another band.