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*Reviewer’s Note: Be advised, if you seek to purchase the album via iTunes, the first two tracks are mislabeled. Track One is “It’s Over Now” and Track Two is “You Can’t See Me”.
Orlando-based rockers 13Below’s debut album “Living the Dream” provides us with a sound quite reminiscent of classic bands such as Dio and Pantera with a vocal delivery by Kellena Barber that immediately hints to Pat Benatar fused with Amy Lee. The opening track, “It’s Over Now” begins with a piano ballad which leads into a solid guitar riff that, upon first listen, you may be forgiven if under the impression of listening to a band from the 80s. The track “Nothing” enters with a clean undistorted lick before going full-on groove metal ala Pantera with plodding drums, an aggressive bass and chugging rhythm.
Drums are quite prominent in the mix and the guitars have a fair amount of low-end and mid-range, the bass is a bit lower at times, like in “Kick me when I’m Down”, but it still feels like it works out.
For as much of an influence that old school rock and metal has been upon these newcomers, these fine musicians still manage to be fairly original in their approach, almost reinventing classic metal, breathing in new life to a nearly lost art.
Overall, “Living the Dream” leaves the listener satisfied as 13Below proves that classic sounds can still be fresh and innovative now as they were when they first appeared. Hopefully future releases will keep in tradition while making new tunes for the world to enjoy.
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