Taking their name from either a shitty Steven Seagal movie or a 1970’s skin flick, this Belgian outfit draws its sound from the likes of Kyuss and Lowrider. Their debut album was independently released last year, but Fire Down Below have since been picked up by Ripple Music, who have made Viper, Vixen, Goddess, Saint more readily available to the public—particularly on this side of the pond.
After a brief instrumental intro (the ne plus desert-rock “El Viento del Desierto”), they immediately kick it into high gear with the vintage stoner grooves of “Through Dust and Smoke.” The clean vocals really rise above the riffs that sound like they coulda been lifted from Welcome to Sky Valley, and the eminently repeatable refrain will have you yelling “Shut up!” at no one in particular. “Roadburner” picks up the pace a bit, sounding like some vintage Swedish stoner stuff from the likes of Lowrider or the Truckfighters. “Universe Crumble” finds FDB at its mellowest, as they even break out the bongos on this nearly nine-minute number. But it ain’t all pass-the-dutchie-on-the-left-hand-side—a soaring vocal just shy of the five-minute mark signals a heavy, albeit brief change in direction, which reoccurs about a minute later. Frankly, they coulda cut a couple minutes from this one and I might not have noticed.
Despite a hippy-dippy intro, “Dashboard Jesus” brings back the heavy riffs in another slice of solid stoner rock, complete with a shredding (albeit somewhat abbreviated) guitar solo. The album ends on an extended note, with 11-minute “The Mammoth,” which throws more than a few tempo changes and some slick-sounding riffs into the mix. The singer worships at the altar of John Garcia, but I’ve never heard a Kyuss tune that sounded quite like this.