Landing like a meteor impacting the moon, Belgium’s Fire Down Below (Kevin Gernaey – guitar, Sam Nuytens – drums, Jeroen Van Troyen – guitar and vocals, Bert Wynsberghe – bass) brings us Viper Vixen Goddess Saint – a good bit of stoner rock to get you through the coming winter.
After a short, almost bluesy instrumental intro (“El Viento del Desierto”), the band comes out chugging with “Through Dust and Smoke.” Imagine punk drumming, Wolfmother guitar licks, and prog-rock vocal stylings and you’ll get an idea of this track. They come out swinging and hit a triple.
“Roadburner” has a great heavy charge throughout it, and I love the way it breaks into a faster beat even before the first lyrics. It reminds me of a mix of Helmet and Quicksand, but with epic arena rock vocals from Van Troyen. “Universes Crumble” might refer to the eventual heat death of the galaxy, but the track is cosmic in its scope. The hand percussion throughout it is a great touch that brings a bit of a meditative aspect. The first line Van Troyen sings is “You are stars.” We are made of stars and to the stars we eventually return. A universe can crumble, but even that energy is reborn into another form. The song weaves back and forth between cosmic psych-rock and prog-metal. It’s outstanding.
“Dashboard Jesus” is quite suitable for late night pedal-to-the-metal drives along European coastlines, city highways, or dusty back roads. The guitars shred hard and Nuytens seems to have grown a third arm by the time this track comes along because it sounds like he’s hitting multiple cymbals at the same time (and the breakdown he has with Wynsberghe is sweet). After another bluesy instrumental (“Resurrection”), the album ends with the appropriately titled “The Mammoth.” It’s appropriate because it’s over eleven minutes long and is has heavy as a woolly mammoth walking across a hardwood floor. It’s an epic finish to a cosmic trip, like the aforementioned meteor smacking the moon.
I had no idea there was a stoner rock scene in Belgium, so I’m glad these guys sent me their record. You should seek them out if you enjoy stoner rock, prog-rock, or psych rock.
Keep your mind open.
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