A Lower Deep - Parable of the Thorn
Raven Flight Records
Avante-Garde Metal
10 songs ()
Release year: 2004
A Lower Deep
Reviewed by Ben

Parable of the Thorn is A Lower Deep’s second self financed album. Seeing as how I haven’t heard their debut (which has been reviewed here) I can’t comment on growth or maturation, but with the music that I hear coming out of my speakers I can only assume that has been the case. For being essentially a demo album, Parable of the Thorn is produced quite well. Although the obviousness of their financial limits are apparent (you won’t be confusing this with a Studio Fredman or Finnvox release) the sound is still quite full and each instrument is brought out without there being an annoying hum, distracting reverb, or walkman like sound which is a staple to many self financed cds nowadays. Well, enough with the pleasantries and how do you do’s, let’s get on to the music shall we?

I call this avant-garde metal because I really cannot describe it. To break it down, I can detect technical / progressive influences, doom, and a few songs touch base on traditional metal leanings. There are some very Opethy parts with the multiple changes and many acoustic / distorted passages and the Warrel Dane-ness of Mullican’s vocals adds that Nevermore touch to the songs as well. Speaking of the vocals, Mullican when he’s not delivering his Warrel Dane trademark also uses several other distinctive tones, a low and rich bass to a mid ranged bellow. He is one of those vocalists that can carry a huge weight of the melody and feeling of the song instead of someone who is just there to give you a catchy refrain. Guitar wise there are some meaty and fulfilling riffs, take a look at Winter’s Summons, Are We Lost to hear what I’m talking about. Sadly though, you’re hard pressed to find guitar solos on Parable of the Thorn which is a damn shame. We need guitar solos now more than ever seeing as it’s the “cool” thing to do now, not playing solos I mean. (This is not implying that A Lower Deep are trying to be mainstream. It’s your reviewer bemoaning the current state of music) Their guest drummer, David Lee is also very capable and he really adds a progressive flair to the songs with his odd beats and fills. Despite the fact that there is a healthy dosage of double bass, it is used tastefully and is actually enhancing the song instead of just being lazy and plowing through the entire track with it. I’m wondering, why is Mr. Lee a guest musician? Does he have a high paying day job he’s unwilling to let go of, or is he involved with another act because he really helps A Lower Deep define their unique sound. Highlights to me are Unnamed Thorn, Winter’s Summons, Are We Lost and Free the Me. While the entire album is done in their unique fashion, these songs stick out for me because of the dynamics and the overall betterness for lack of a better term.

A Lower Deep are their own band with their own sound. I don’t see them making it “big” even in metal standards. The music is too intricate and technical for most people to really get into other than Progressive Metal fans, but then it is much more heavy and ballsy than most prog acts. Who knows though, for some reason Opeth is wildly successful, but I don’t know how that happened. What I do know is that Parable of the Thorn is an excellent album.

Killing Songs :
Unnamed Thorn, Winter's Summons, Are We Lost
Ben quoted 76 / 100
Other albums by A Lower Deep that we have reviewed:
A Lower Deep - Trinity reviewed by Alex and quoted 75 / 100
A Lower Deep - A Lower Deep reviewed by Danny and quoted 70 / 100
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