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Above, Below – The Lotus Chapters (Album Review)

Above, Below – The Lotus Chapters
Released: September 27th, 2019

Line-up:

Jacob Wilkes // Vocals
Zac Adamson // Guitar/Vocals
Nicholas Bird // Guitar
Dylan Mallia // Bass
Isaac Ross // Drums

Online:

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Sydney metalcore five-piece Above, Below are slowly but surely becoming a local force to be reckoned with. They’ve shared the stage with many established metalcore acts already such as Born of Osiris, Deez Nuts and Polaris, and are now ready to wreak havoc on their own with their debut album. The Lotus Chapters is a cool concept album, divided into three stages: seed, flourish, and bloom, and much like the process of growing a lotus flower, the record ideally represents the growth and progression of the band.

The first chapter ‘Seed’, begins with ‘Eternal Sunshine’ and the song itself launches straight into a heavy verse before exploding into a huge melodic chorus. Ideally representing the birth of the lotus, and vaguely similar to Hands Like Houses, this track is a perfect introduction to Above, Below. ‘Labyrinth’ is a cool, punchy tune, which sees vocalist Jacob Wilkes flow alongside the music so well. While ‘Kensho’ doesn’t begin as heavy as its predecessors, it does eventually soar into a pretty epic breakdown, which I guess symbolises the eventual growth of the Lotus.

Chapter Two, ‘Flourish’, begins with ‘Mantra’ and this track is heavy as fuck. I love the way the music flows around the slower verses and climaxes into the chorus. Above, Below’s peak heaviness lies in the track ‘Blood Wine’ and this one sees a serious thrashing from the guitars. Definitely some solid riffwork throughout this song. ‘Beyond the Mosaic Garden’ feels punchy and explosive straight from the first riff and sees the guys pull off a monster breakdown.

The final chapter, ‘Bloom’, sees the band blossom into a tightly knit metalcore unit, beginning with ‘Equilibrium’, which is definitely my standout track on this album. It balances the right amount of hardcore and melodic elements throughout, and features an epic guitar solo from PolarisRyan Siew. ‘The Gradient Lake’ is a fine example of the band’s music lyrically, while ‘Lotus’ is an impressive piece of heavy music that’ll make you appreciate this album just that much more. 

The Lotus Chapters is an impressive debut album from upcoming Sydney band Above, Below. It’s almost an incredibly risky move to put out a concept album this early in their career, because I feel like The Lotus Chapters needs to be listened straight through all at once to really be appreciated. This album is like reading your favourite novel – one song isn’t complete without the rest of them. By the last track, you’ll feel so much closer to the band’s music because you just experienced and felt the amount of growth and progression they made from creating this record. 

The Lotus Chapters - Above, Below album art

Above, Below – The Lotus Chapters tracklisting:

  1. Chapter I. Seed
  2. Eternal Sunshine
  3. Labyrinth
  4. Kensho
  5. Chapter II. Flourish
  6. Mantra 
  7. Blood Wine
  8. Beyond the Mosaic Garden
  9. Chapter III. Bloom
  10. Equilibrium featuring Ryan Siew
  11. The Gradient Lake
  12. Lotus

Rating: 8/10
The Lotus Chapters is out now. Grab a copy here
Review by Tamara May @citylightsTAM

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