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A Lower Deep
Parable of the Thorn
Released: 2004, Raven Flight Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
There are only a few metal bands who defy classification with Nevermore being the most obvious. Are they thrash? Prog? Power? They just don’t quite fit into any one category, yet embody elements that define each genre. Such is the case with Alabama’s A Lower Deep. Billy Mullican’s vocals are a dead ringer for Geoff Tate of Queensryche and Nevermore’s Warrel Dane, while the pacing of the songs goes from slow, dark and brooding to speedy, odd-timed and, well, still brooding. This is not happy music! This self-produced effort follows the band’s well-received demo from 2002 and builds upon the foundation laid on that recording. The guitars are never intrusive, and the drums (helmed by guest basher, David Lee) and bass sit nicely in the mix. What sets A Lower Deep apart is that they seem to be dodging any trends, image worries or label pressure. They are writing and playing intelligent, original and progressive music that is sure to win over many open-minded people.
“Unnamed Thorn” opens with a slow, passage that builds to a speedier section which showcases how tight this band is. Mullican’s unique wail echoes over the proceedings drawing the listener in to this moving track. “New Dimension” features some excellent double bass in the beginning before launching into a mid-paced groove with haunting harmonized vocals. Troy Reid delivers some snappy riffs here, as well. “Kingdom For Sale” contains a catchy chorus showcasing Mullican’s vocals that made it the standout track on the CD. “Soliloquy” is as dark as anything I have heard in ages. The themes that Evergrey touch on in their music are similar to that of A Lower Deep. The songs are heavy without punishing the listener with overdone blastbeats, incoherent vocals or dive-bombing guitar wankery. There is just a feel to songs like “Soliloquy” that make you think, “What the hell just hit me?!?” The same goes for “Free The Me,” which kicks in with a driving groove that wraps around you as you listen. Mullican’s vocals over the combination of the bottom end with Reid’s riffs are unforgettable.
A Lower Deep is a band that defies the conventions of modern metal music. The CD booklet contains no lyrics or photographs, nor will you find any pictures of the band on their website. They let the music do the talking and everything else is inconsequential. Who cares if they have long or short hair, if they are young or old, or if they are covered with tattoos and piercings? The band remains an enigma and PARABLE OF THE THORN is a journey into the minds of these talented musicians. Good luck, guys. I hope to hear more of you soon!
KILLER KUTS: “Unnamed Thorn,” “New Dimension,” “Kingdom For Sale,” “Free The Me”
1. Unnamed Thorn
2. A Brief Forever
3. Winter's Summons
4. New Dimension
5. Kingdom For Sale
6. Substance of Nothing
7. Are We Lost
9. Free The Me
10. Veil of Secrets
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