LOWER 13 is a trio hailing from Cleveland, OH, an area I’ve always much more associated with the hardcore of RINGWORM, SIX FEET DEEP, or the doom of FRAYLE, the dirty-dirty sludge of FISTULA, RUE and their incestuous spawn. Which means I’m intrigued at what sort of traditional metal comes from the land of the burning river, so here goes.

The band’s fourth, Embrace The Unknown, stumbles from the start, the title track a jumbled mish-mash of “alright, I guess, if you like that sort of thing” to outright bad ideas firing off in all directions, as if, lacking anything remotely its own, Balog, Capretta and Kruger just decided to sling any and all elements of NWAHM against the wall in the vain hope that something would stick. And it does, my friend, it does. Know what else sticks to walls? Shit.

‘Reflection Of Me’ and ‘Hollowed’ are more of the same, and after 15 years together, you’d think LOWER 13 would have learnt something of songcraft. I think that’s the largest gripe of my many with what’s on offer here, is that there are zero fucking songs to be had over the 40+ minutes of time this release has whittled away from my petrifying life. There are some decent harmonies, vocally, but when that’s the only positive to an album chock full of negatives, it just ain’t worth it to bother.

‘Self Sabotage’ begins as faux-grunge elevator music, quickly careening into what could’ve been any other 4-ish minutes of boredom masquerading as a song on Embrace The Unknown, so interchangeable are the I-can’t-even-call-them-riffs. TRIVIUM is a sonic comparison, 36 CRAZYFISTS, and how this complete dreck found its way to the generally-reliable Pure Steel Records imprint, I will never know.

By the time ‘Continue On’ bids my ears a welcome goodbye with what might’ve been found on EDGUY’s cutting room floor after a night of drunken acoustic FIREHOUSE covers was mistakenly recorded, I’m sure continuing is the last thing I’ll do when it comes to LOWER 13.
Embrace The Toilet. Somebody hold my hair back…
Review By: Lord Randall

Embrace The Unknown
Pure Steel Records
0 / 6