A Lower Deep - Trinity
Self released
Dark Progressive Power Metal
10 songs (57'08")
Release year: 2005
A Lower Deep
Reviewed by Alex

I am glad I gave this CD more time and more spins to grow on me as A Lower Deep’s Trinity hits all the right spots when it catches you in the right mood, but is not a moodsetter in and of itself. My first few listening sessions with Trinity came when the sun was out and things were looking up. Not until a gloomy cold day, with me being pissed at my family, I was able to take Trinity in and appreciate the very peculiar brand of power metal crafted by these non-conformist independent Americans from Birmingham, Alabama, of all places.

I do understand all Nevermore comparisons hailed onto A Lower Deep. Their power metal is far from being a happy music with catchy refrains. Adding to all progressive structures, we also have Billy Mullican’s voice, carrying lots of melody, harmonizing almost non-stop, very much like Warrel Dane. I do see the comparisons, but I want to emphasize that A Lower Deep is more than a Nevermore copycat. This band is an excellent blend of masculinity and brooding darkness with a distinct touch of Southern fuzzy rock, probably not noticed by many.

The best songs on Trinity, A Grief Observed and Gods and Monsters, incorporate multiple tempo shifts, powerful but somewhat garbled Iced Earth style galloping riffs, dark acoustic interludes with interesting backing vocal choices (I think it is Billy’s daughter who is contributing on A Grief Observed) and, of course, Mullican’s tear soaked clean singing. He borrows from Geoff Tate, Warrel Dane, Ozzy and Joe Belladonna and crafts his own style. I would have liked just a bit more roaring to go with all the emotion.

The album is quite diverse, Ascent of the Fallen and Mind’s Eye View, bringing that Southern style fuzz and reverb created by a thick guitar tone. My Enemy’s Enemy has a feeling of Anthrax of Among the Living era and Sisyphus Resigned has a bridge that is a dead ringer for, yes, Nevermore. The Power of Why, if I understand the lyrics correctly, is a statement of a song and I give it much higher marks than what I have heard from a recent Chris Caffery solo album.

The songs on Trinity err on the side of long, but just the right length, or they stretch a little too far. Sisyphus Resigned, probably taking a queue from the unfortunate Greek mythology hero doing a never ending thankless job, drags out a bit and Lost in Eden, Out of the Darkness and Numinous have simpler structure than the rest, overrelying a touch on repeating catchy choruses. It is not easy for every 6 min song to make you grasp for air, so going a little shorter with some of the cuts may be not a bad suggestion. Epics like Gods and Monsters will feel even stronger then.

All musicians perform top notch. David Lee, given the loud bass drum production, is very tight keeping up with all the time signature changes, and letting loose with occasional double bass outbursts. Tim Umstead’s bass contributes to the dark palpable atmosphere and Troy Reid does much more with the solos than on Parable of the Thorn. And Billy, of course, gives A Lower Deep the recognizable frontman.

If you are tired of slick cheery power metal, and enjoyed the works of Jag Panzer, Morgana Lefay and early Tad Morose, and all other bands I have mentioned earlier in my review, you might want to try and track this CD down. As much as I want to be proven wrong, strong US metal labels don’t usually sign acts like A Lower Deep opting for nu-metal of hardcore/metalcore instead. Recently I got news that the band I have been pushing heavily, Summer Dying from Michigan, have called it quits. I hope, for their own sake, A Lower Deep perseveres and finds better luck out there.

Killing Songs :
A Grief Observed, Gods and Monsters
Alex quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by A Lower Deep that we have reviewed:
A Lower Deep - Parable of the Thorn reviewed by Ben and quoted 76 / 100
A Lower Deep - A Lower Deep reviewed by Danny and quoted 70 / 100
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