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From Beneath Billows: MOnolith

Ambitious Norwegians forget to add emotion to their atmosphere

Described as ‘atmospheric sludge metal’ and ‘post-hardcore’, Norway’s From Beneath Billows certainly embrace a fairly bold and distinctive sound. The band do indeed bear trace elements of sludge, as well as doom and post-doom elements, the slowly unravelling and cinematic qualities of this, the band’s debut album, recalling recent efforts by bands such as Pantheist.

Long melancholic and introspective passages with little or no vocal work also recall Russian Circles, Pelican or even Anathema. Yet the heavier and more metal parts provide an uglier side.

It’s a compelling work and the ambition, songcraft and musicianship behind it make it a more than convincing effort, particularly for a new band. That said, there’s room for improvement: the drawn-out instrumental passages utilised by the many aforementioned bands only work when overloaded with raw emotion, and there are occasions when that is notable by its absence.