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Fire Down Below - Hymn of the Cosmic Man Award winner

Fire Down Below
Hymn of the Cosmic Man
by Martin Knap at 02 July 2018, 12:09 PM

As anyone with the slightest grasp of statistic knows, regression to the mean, or simply put, mediocrity, is a basic fact of life, and music is no exception of course. Mediocre records are also something that as a reviewer one kind of tries to escape because it’s easier – and more fun –  to praise (or trash) a record then just coldly explaining how “ok, but not special” a record is. Well this won’t be the case today folks, because FIRE DOWN BELOW released a monster of a sophomore album. These Belgians have been around only since 2015 and according to Metal Archives were not previously in other bands, but what they lack in studio experience they make up for with their talent. A key to their success are great riffs and vocal hooks and their abilities to put together different flavors of Stoner Rock and Doom Metal together to create some seriously trippy music that will propel your mind towards a holotropic state.

The instrumental opener features some monstrous riffs and has a typical hypnotic Stoner/Doom feeling to it. The following songs have a more laid-back Stoner Rock vibe, but are super fun to listen, especially “Ignition/Space Cruiser” features a powerful pre-chorus whose melody bursts forth in an exhilarating way. The nine and a half minutes long “The Cosmic Pilgrim” is also a cool, laid-back Stoner Rock jam, but has a really nice section with gradual instrumental build-ups and layered guitar parts where the band’s musical chops really come to the fore. “Ascension” opens with some super heavy and trippy sounding riffs and the guitars are really nicely layered here. The song shifts between an almost RADIOHEAD-esque melancholic verse and a heavy chorus and of course there are some great lead guitar parts. There is a great sense of development in the song, no wonder FIRE DOWN BELOW have been compared to TOOL before. The closing song “Adrift in the Sea of Stars” is another monster of a track. The first half sounds like another KYUSS inspired Stoner Rock song, but the second half is completely instrumental and again, we get great lead melodies, layering of instruments – one section features a zither – and intricate build-ups.

These guys are really skillful musicians who are not interested in playing simple paint by the numbers music. They have a knack for writing catchy Rock songs, but at the same time are able to make their music really intricate. I think they also adhere to the “art of the album” ideal – the album feels like a coherent whole. And it also sounds great. I’m not keeping up with every Doom/Stoner release out there, but this has been one of the best albums in this niche that I’ve heard this year so far.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8


4 Star Rating

1. Red Giant
2. Ignition/Space Cruiser
3. Saviour of Man
4. The Cosmic Pilgrim
5. Nebula
6. Ascension
7. Adrift in a Sea of Stars
Bert Wynsberghe – Bass
Sam Nuytens – Drums
Kevin Gernaey – Guitars
Jeroen Van Troyen – Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Ripple Music


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Edited 15 August 2020

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