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3 - 3.2: The Rules Have Changed CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.88 | 114 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars 'About keyboard pyrotechnics and song oriented melodic rock'

The working relationship between multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter and producer Robert Berry (who played with Sammy Hagar, Ambrosia, 3, GTR, Alliance and The Greg Kihn Band) and the late Keith Emerson (who contributed to Ayreon's album The Theory Of Everything in 2013) began in 1987, resulting in the band 3 featuring Keith Emerson, Robert Berry and Carl Palmer. They released the album To The Power Of Three, but Keith Emerson already left after the worldwide tour. In October 2015 conversations about a new 3 album started between Robert Berry and the Frontiers label as Robert had been speaking to Keith about releasing the long delayed 3 follow-up album. The exchange of musical ideas and song collaborations ultimately paved the groundwork for The Rules Have Changed. After Emerson's death in 2016, Berry was left with Emerson's final musical ideas for the project. Unfortunately the familly gave Berry only permission to use Keith his compositions, not his recorded keyboard parts.

So Berry plays keyboards, and he also does the drums, bass, and guitars, incredible, he sounds like a four piece formation, what an impressive job he has done! Another great job by Berry is on the compositorial level: he has written 7 inventive, elaborate, varied and dynamic tracks, with the focus on a melodic and song oriented approach. This is topped by Berry his strong and emotional voice, often with a melancholical undertone. As a tribute to Keith Emerson all tracks contain awesome, often spectacular work on keyboards, in the vein of the late keyboard hero. Also due to the distinctive Memorymoog ' and Roland D-50 synthesizer sound on this album.

Fat Moog flights in Powerful Man (along propulsive guitar riffs) and in the titletrack (also harder-edged guitar work).

Tender piano, classical orchestrations and Emersonian synthesizer layers in Our Bond (embellished with delicate brass and violin).

Again fat Moog runs and lush Hammond with heavy guitar riffs in the dynamic What You're Dreaming Now.

Sparkling piano, bombastic Hammond and sensational Moog with pitchbend in the exciting Somebody's Watching (what a powerhouse rhythm-section by one-man-band Berry!).

And a sumptuous Moog - and Hammond sound (including church organ) with a thunderous rhythm-section in the final track Your Mark On The World.

My highlights are the two compositions that sound more different from the song oriented other six tracks. First the opener One By One: it starts with sparkling, very beautiful classical work on the Grand piano, then a slow rhythm with melancholical vocals, followed by flashy Moog with pitchbend and a jazzy piano interlude and in the end a mid-tempo with a swirling Hammond solo. It sounds like a mini symphony, very varied and dynamic.

Finally the wonderfully build-up ballad This Letter, Berry plays propulsive acoustic rhythm guitar and piano, he sings very emotional. Gradually the sound becomes more lush with classical orchestrations and a cheerful accordion sound, culminating in spectacular 'Old School Keyboard Extravaganza', goose bumps!

This outstanding effort is not an Old School album or a Seventies Keith Emerson tribute. Because Robert Berry blends keyboard driven symphonic rock and song oriented melodic rock/AOR in a very tasteful and inventive way. But for sure the spirit of Keith Emerson is on The Rules Have Changed, excellent work mister Berry!

The first edition of this review was recently published on the Dutch prog website Background Magazine.

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |


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