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3RDegree - Ones & Zeros - Volume 0 CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.08 | 250 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Some of you may recall seeing in the #5 position of the 2015 PA Top 100 an album called "Ones & Zeroes - Volume 1" by a band named 3rdegree. I noticed it, and in early 2016 I ordered a copy and was sufficiently impressed to go ahead and order the previous three albums, all of which have their share of rewards. However, this top-ranking album really stood apart from the others for me. More than a collection of songs, it was a concept album about life extension and ultimately becoming trans-human, i.e. becoming integrated with the Net as an entity, leaving your biological human form behind.

Now with any "volume 1" there can be expected a second volume, and after a long wait, 3rdegree finally released "Ones & Zeroes: vol. 0". Perfect! The duology is now complete!

There was some trepidation on behalf of the band. Would the second part live up to the expectations of listeners who rated volume 1 so highly? From the get go, any doubts just fly out the window. Just plug into the opening track, an instrumental entitled "Re1install_0verture". If that isn't a solid welcome back that'll pull you out of your seat then I don't know what. It's a brilliant start to the album which includes musical themes from both Vol. 1 and Vol. 0.

Now just let that album play and get into it. We are done with the topic of extending one's existence and so we've also said goodbye to Valhalla Biotech, which I felt added charm and atmosphere to volume 1. But our future modern world is dissected further with the topics of synthetic companions, genetic manipulation of the unborn, click farms, and other technological wonders we are enjoying or on the cusp of benefitting from.

I say this with intended irony because that it how 3rdegree wants you to understand their views of these technological developments. As with the lyrics of any of their albums I know, there is a cynicism masquerading in naive optimism. Which brings me round to the opinion that each song has lyrics intended to provoke thought and possibly a little alarm or concern as well. Add to that the unique and skillful vocal delivery of George Dobbs and you have songs that beckon your attention.

Although it would be easy enough for me to write complimentary words for every track, the big number has to be "Click Away!", a track over 15 minutes long and broken into parts, though it runs without breaks and shifts seemlessly from one part to the next. The song's lyrics are not included inside the digipak and you need to visit their web site where the lyrics appear with links to other web sites appear in the lyrics. 3rdegree have made the theme of "click away" a reality!

3rdegree have no problem coming up with engaging music, but at times you might not really pick up on the prog aspect. Their music older music previously struck me as 1990's alternative college radio intellectual tunage that was fed and raised on seventies prog. But with "Ones and Zeros" there seems to be much more going on. Wait! Was that a bit of Supertramp I heard closing off the album? Maybe it's just my imagination. Is there a suggestion of Styx? Or Queen? Well, you get the point. But anyway, 3rdegree's music is like a complex architectural structure that does its job. No blazing cascades of notes. No overt brandishing of time signatures in your face. No forced stops and starts. Just music that sounds cool and offers more nutrition for the soul than your typical mainstream alternative band. And yet I can't help feel that the band have really stretched themselves out this time, creating an album that is perhaps more "proggy" than their earlier works, but still managing to get some great melodies in the songs.

What else can I say but congratulations to 3RDegree for an album well worth the wait! Now I really want to hear volumes 1 and 0 back to back!

FragileKings | 5/5 |


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