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3RDegree - Human Interest Story CD (album) cover

HUMAN INTEREST STORY

3RDegree

 

Crossover Prog

3.54 | 16 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars An excellent blend of styles

3RDegree is just one of those bands were you really have to wonder why they never struck it big. They have all the makings of a band that would appeal to the masses while still being complicated and intelligent enough to appeal to the proggers of the world. This was the band's last album of the 90s, after which they would disband for the next 12 years because of frustrations around the music world at the time. Of course with the advent of the internet the band would later release the superb opus that is Narrow-Caster, but this album shows a side of the band that really exemplifies the time that they came from. This album is a lot heavier, longer and thicker than their newer works, and this really works to their advantage.

It's clear that the band really wanted to get their music out there with this release. On the album is a total of 16 tracks, most of them around 4-7 minutes in length. Some of them are very much in the vein of what people would argue is traditional progressive rock while others have more of a rock or pop lean. This actually makes for a very interesting listen, as opposed to an unbalanced one. These are usually very tough albums to get into, and mostly because of the length, but for some reason Human Interest Story sticks on the first listen and is quite demanding! Songs like the impressive 13/Mistakes show the band taking grunge music on a progressive spin with lengthy instrumental sections and multiple segments within the song to make for a very nice pseudo-epic. Others, the shorter and more approachable tracks such as the title cut, Human Interest Story and others such as Be There have enough hooks to sustain a tackle-box, and are very catchy while never wandering too far into pop grounds to become unattractive to a progressive listener. Black Orchid is a touching instrumental tune brought to life by Pat Kliesch's guitar, and is just as emotional as the slightly more lengthy Stardust which, with its chorus, is really quite pretty.

Unlike newer efforts, there's still a split between singers on this album. It really does add depth to the album given the album's context, really. Multiple singers is a hard thing to pull off, but it seems like they did it well here. George still manages to give lungs to a majority of the songs, but Robert Pashman still does an excellent job of making work of some songs like the single, Locked Inside and the memorable Falling Through The Cracks. Top Secret is another impressive track with its shouting chorus, frantic keys and impressive drumming from Rob Durham.

While there are a few tracks that do get lost within the album, overshadowed by some of the more impressive ones, there's really not a slow moment on the album - There's never anything that makes you want to reach for the skip button, because in every song there's a great hook, a great guitar riff or solo or just something else that makes you think, ''oh yeah! This song!''. Even the bonus track, Fascist Christ is really quite fun. It's a sign of the times, being the mid-90s, since it features a kind of rap-rock blend, but the instrumentation even in that really make it progressive.

This is a very good album which really deserves the benefit of an extra half-star. 3.5 stars out of 5! A little harder to recommend than Narrow-Caster since it's a bit more eclectic and the styles exist more in individual songs than the album as a whole. However, if you enjoyed Narrow-Caster then this album really should find its way into your collection. Lengthy and varied, but ultimately an impressive collection of songs that make for a unique mix of 90s music and traditional progressive elements.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |

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