Upon a Pale Horse is a brand new issue coming from Sweden based epic-doom metallers Below. Already with their debut issue the band has shown some talent, quality and potential and, now, with their latest offering they’re presenting their music and style in the best possible way. If you are a lover of traditional heavy metal bands with good-old doom-vibes then you are on a right place…
Hello! Please, could you tell us for the beginning about your new record Upon a Pale Horse?
Hey ! Thanks for having me. Well “Upon a Pale Horse” is our second album released through Metal Blade Records, it was released on the 19 th of May. It´s a really atmospheric, heavy, but still melodic piece of doom that we are very proud of. We had been writing for a pretty long time and had a lot of material to use for this album, I think that is one of the reasons why we could make it so diverse and in my opinion really strong. Check it out!
It seems that you have succeeded to develop your style even better comparing to debut issue. Could you compare your latest issue Upon a Pale Horse with your debut album?
I totally agree with that. We really feel that with this album we have created a stronger album and more diversity of the songs. I really like “Across the Dark River”, but with “Upon a Pale Horse” we feel that we have found “our” sound, we have grown as songwriters and as musicians and with that the music has also become stronger. We still of course have the same core of heavy riffs, haunting melodies and atmospheres that is BELOW. But on this album we also have two “faster” songs, one almost waltz feeling song called “The Coven” that I really like, and the behemoth of a song the almost 10-minutes long title track. But the major difference between the albums is the diversity of the songs, and perhaps a bit darker sound of this one.
Could you name the major influences when it comes to Below? Candlemass and Merciful Fate are just first ones that fall on my mind…
Candlemass of course as you say, King Diamond, late Black Sabbath, but we all as musicians also have a lot of different influences as we all listen to A LOT of metal. 4 out of 5 of us in the band are HUGE Nevermore fans, perhaps you will not hear that in the riffs or the drums, but in terms of some of the melodies of the vocals. Zeb is a huge fan of bands like Queensrÿche, Riot and such so he incorporates that in his vocal style. We all bring our own influences to the table when it comes to writing songs, well perhaps not me that much since I listen to a lot of crazy drummers like Mario Duplantier, Anika Nilles, Mike Portnoy, Bennt Greb, Thomas Lang and such, haha. That style of drumming would sound weird on our albums.
How would you like to describe Below’s style to someone who has a chance for the very first time to get into the band? There’s a noticeable epic-doom vibe inside your style…
Really heavy, atmospheric, melodic, epic-doom with a bit of dark heavy metal into it ? Haha… I don´t know if that description made any sense.
Do you plan to have any shows soon with Below? Do you also get some offers from various festivals around?
No, nothing booked, which sucks. We really want to get out there and play shows infront of all the great people. I truly think that the best way to experience BELOW is to see us live. So if any promoter see this, GET IN TOUCH! Just contact our booking agency Doomstar Bookings! I really hope that we can get some offers from festivals coming in soon. We are ready to go, all year around!
Do you have any favorite track from a new album? Do you think that one particular track could represent your latest issue? The opening one could suit quite good or the one with the album title.
My favourite regarding the drums and to play is “Hours of Darkness”, it has a lot of different styles within the song, and I might be “tooting my own horn” but I really think that the different groves and passages fits really good into that song . I really like all songs, but “Disappearing into nothing”, “Upon a Pale Horse”, “1000 Broken Bones” and “The Coven” are also songs that I perhaps enjoy a little bit more. But I really can´t choose.
Sweden today has lots of quite good newcomers, including Below. Most of these bands have based their style on traditional heavy metal roots. From my point of view this is the better choice. But, as far as I have noticed Sweden stands as one of the leading countries today when it comes to traditional metal…
Yeah, I really think that Sweden have produced a lot of great bands in recent times and thank you for including us there. Perhaps the traditional sound comes through that when you are young you try to emulate your heroes, and we have a tradition of metal and in particular the more traditional styles. I don´t know if there is any other reason than that.
Could you tell us something about your cover artworks? What would you like to express with the cover for a brand new offering?
The cover is painted by an amazing artist named Amanda Jonsson, she also made the cover art for “Across the Dark River”, we actually saw an old painting by a swedish artist that we really liked that fit the title “Upon A Pale Horse”, so we asked her to influence it of of that painting, and it turned out really excellent. I think both of our album covers really encapsules our style of music, dark, atmospheric, simplistic, dramatic, and still a bit beautiful, haha.
I would like to thank you for the interview! I wish you all the best until next time!
Thank you for having me! Really hope we get to see you at the festivals. Cheers!
- Interview by Marko Miranovic
- (ALL ANSWER BY JENS “DOC”, DRUMMER – BELOW)