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Lower 13: Embrace The Unknown
Lower 13 - Embrace The Unknown Album Art

Lower 13: Embrace The Unknown

Modern Progressive Metal
3.5/5.0

Just south of Cleveland is the burg of Parma, the home to metal power trio Lower 13. Formed in 2006, the band, featuring the same lineup of Sean Balog (bass, vocals), Patrick Capretta (guitars, vocals), and Eric Kruger (drums), have released one demo and three studio albums. The most recent album Restore The Order was released digitally in 2016, only to get a CD release three years later. Now the band returns with their fourth long-player Embrace The Unknown for Germany's Pure Steel Records.

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Lower 13

Musically, Lower 13's metal is many things, parts classic heavy metal, some combination of power and thrash metal, and no small dose of modern metal. For the first characteristic you can hear solid guitar and vocal harmony throughout the songs. For the power and thrash influences, the songs have some speed and the riffs can be sharp and fast. For that modern metal influence we return to the vocal arrangement wherein Sean Balog exercises his rougher voice invoking death metal growling. This is where I lose interest. It's not that these vocals are not entirely predominant throughout, but they are self-evident and persistent. The harsh vocals are of like that annoying, mysterious mosquito which appears at night just around the time you're trying to fall asleep, only to buzz about and bug you. Conversely, the harsh vocals are an interesting contrast to the otherwise, and also self-evident and notable vocal harmony. Moreover, in the song arrangements there's enough technical intrigue to suggest that Lower 13 offers modern progressive death metal. With these prog nuances, my interest returns. You'll hear these things within Last Of Our Kind, Self Sabotage, and Reflection Of Me which are prog spry despite the death vocals. Alternatively, the harsh vocals are slightly dialed back within Darker Days Ahead. Slightly. With the closing number Continue On, you get mostly a softer song with voice and acoustic guitar before rising heavier in the end.

All said, aside from the persistent death vocals, which I can easily dismiss, Lower 13's Embrace The Unknown finds the band exploring more technical modern progressive metal with some obvious thrash and power metal influences. Check out the video below and support the band if you dig their metal.




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The Take Away

All said, aside from the persistent death vocals, which I can easily dismiss, Lower 13's Embrace The Unknown finds the band exploring more technical modern progressive metal with some obvious thrash and power metal influences.

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