REVIEW: Joe Below – EP: By the Rules (Musicalypse Archive)


Let me introduce you to a four-piece Finnish melodic progressive/hard rock band, known as JO BELOW. This new band from Helsinki have released a couple of single videos, the most recent of which is “Russian Roulette” from their upcoming EP, “By the Rules.” This debut effort will be out on September 18th, 2020, via Inverse Records

The band is quite young, yet already have something to show the listeners. The band was formed in 2017, formerly under the name DEVIL I KNOW. The new band’s style of playing is a mixture of hard rock with strong progressive metal/hard rock elements. The foursome consists of lead singer Johanna Kari, guitarist Roni Seppänen, bassist Jonne Lindqvist, and drummer Olli Vartiainen. They, themselves, call their style of music “modern classic rock,” which contains a constant touch of prog to keep you interested enough to not only finish the song you’re introduced with, but to keep listening afterwards. 

The new single, “Russian Roulette,” is a pop-flavored progressive hard rock anthem that has a feeling that could be really well accepted at stadiums. It starts with a catchy, simple riff and catches the listener off guard with a melodic solo. It is all together a nice play between all members as they exchange ongoing riffing. “Paying for More” is pure classical fast hard rock that follows in the footsteps of HALESTORM, PRETTY RECKLESS, and BAD RELIGION. It’s a catchy uptempo piece that will surely get your heart racing and adrenaline pumping, with a melodic refrain that easily worms its way into your ear, with a hint of a progressive twist. 

“Pleasure” is another classic but in a different way. The dirty sound of the guitar and rhythm section work together to set a steady pace, giving a little retro style with a catchy singalong refrain. The high point is when the guitar solo starts, giving you that feeling of freedom when you need to just let go. It seems like Seppänen had that same feeling and everybody just gave enough space for the guitar to express itself.

The new EP, “By the Rules,” contains five tracks of familiar classic hard rock with a modern twist. The collection of tracks gives you a small pallet of diversity combined with catchy parts. They are a promising young band and it would be great to see them play live, as well as how they progress in the future.

Written by Peter Jerman
Musicalypse, 2020
OV: 695
OS: 8/10


  1. Russian Roulette
  2. Paying for More
  3. All That Is
  4. Bet On
  5. Pleasure


Johanna Kari – vocals

Roni Seppänen – guitars

Jonne Lindqvist – bass

Olli Vartiainen – drums


Inverse Records



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