World Below Maelstrom

Truly one of the best from the stable of Austria’s Psychedoomelic label, Sweden’s World Below are actually a side project of Centinex guitarist and ex-Carnal Forge vocalist Jonas Kjellgren, formed to exorcise the doom demons that he couldn’t shake with his day jobs. With Altered Aeon/Scar Symmetry guitarist Per Nilsson at the forefront and Centinex partner Ronnie Bergerståhl behind the drum kit, the band are poised for worldwide acceptance. Opener "The Dissection of an Evil Mind” resembles the doom swing and vocal harmonies of new Confessor, while "Spiritual Disaster” is a laidback look at a more Skynyrd-worshiping Corrosion of Conformity. The oppressive 14-minute "Epitaph” is steeped in the blood of old Cathedral (from their archetypal 1991 debut Forest of Equilibrium to their 1993 major-label debut The Ethereal Mirror), and Kjellgren’s fluid soloing takes Isis-/Cave In-like space metal way past the asteroid belt. Singer/bassist Mikael Danielsson also brandishes quite the malevolent death growl throughout the tune, backing it up with Raunchy-styled tortured screams. For "Nyarlathotep (Harvester of Souls)” and "Behind The Door,” however, he switches to an astoundingly clean mode like Men At Work’s Colin Hay, while Kjellgren adds a new Katatonia edge to these cuts. "A Future So Dark” mixes newer My Dying Bride with Technical Ecstasy-era Black Sabbath, and the pithy closing noise bit "Absinthe,” pierces the eardrums with high-pitched feedback. Clearly, World Below are more than simply a hobby band for Kjellgren, as Maelstrom results in one of the year’s best slices of diverse doom. (Psychedoomelic)