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3RDEGREE

Crossover Prog • United States


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"Try keeping a secret in the age of the diode" (from Circuit Court)
ONES & ZEROS: the building blocks of data in our modern world. Our Internet is made of it-our governments in thirst to find out what everyone's doing with it...
"from the quaintest living room to a huge industrial boom we thank it's name
...Let's just hope he's nice" (from The Best & Brightest)
ONES & ZEROS put to the test. Ultra-Artificial Intelligence out of control? Where's the rulebook for countries to play by? Who's going to have the first one? What will they do with it?
"I never thought my chances of contentment would be determined by a transistor" (from This Is The Future)
ONES & ZEROS inside us all. Making us..."better". Who wants to improve? Should we all? Will we be made to?
"How much would you take from your very own children...for more life would you spare any cost?" (from Life At Any Cost) ONES & ZEROS extending life until the decision to join a digital mausoleum...a final "home in the clouds"...

These are various aspects of our future possibly on their way to becoming commonplace. These are the things on the mind of 3RDegree and make up its fifth and first full concept studio album, ONES & ZEROS: vol. 1 - their first for label 10T Records. All songs offer a unique take on the issues and ethics associated with the rapid progress of technology. Ray Kurzweil & others have been discussing futurism and transhumanism since the 1970s but only now are we seeing it impact our daily lives. Spearheaded by 1990's-era members, California guitarist Patrick Kliesch & New Jersey lead vocalist/keyboardist George Dobbs, the rest of the band shortly pitched in different songs - all closely associated with the overall theme. As with previous albums, both fully-fledged and skeletal ideas were created and passed between band members via the Internet and worked on in the flesh soon after.

ONES & ZEROS: vol. 1 continues to embody the musical direction envisioned by band founders Robert James Pashman & Patrick Kliesch in 1990: to create interesting and engaging music that mixes accessible melodies and catchy hooks with the intelligence and complexity of Progressive Rock. Releasing a debut cassette in THE WORLD IN WHICH WE LIVE in 1993 (w/ Pashman on lead vocals), 3RDegree decided to step up their game in 1995, adding a world class lead vocalist in George Dobbs and releasing their first CD (second "album"), 1996's HUMAN INTEREST STORY, which was re-released digitally...
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Ones & Zeroes: Vol. 1Ones & Zeroes: Vol. 1
10T Records 2015
Audio CD$10.42
$10.41 (used)
The Long DivisionThe Long Division
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$16.66
$11.11 (used)
Hunters Unite (feat. Fluid) - SingleHunters Unite (feat. Fluid) - Single
Starfury Films 2011
Audio CD$8.98
$20.72 (used)
The Long Division by 3rdegree (2012-09-04)The Long Division by 3rdegree (2012-09-04)
CD Baby
Audio CD$38.49
The Long Division by CD Baby (2012-01-01)The Long Division by CD Baby (2012-01-01)
CD Baby (2012-01-01)
Audio CD$42.03
Narrow-CasterNarrow-Caster
CD Baby 2008
Audio CD$9.71
$9.69 (used)
Narrow-Caster by 3rdegree (2008-11-11)Narrow-Caster by 3rdegree (2008-11-11)
CD Baby
Audio CD$35.95
Ones & Zeroes: Vol. 1 by 3RDegree (2015-08-21?Ones & Zeroes: Vol. 1 by 3RDegree (2015-08-21?
10T Records
Audio CD$39.94
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3RDEGREE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

3RDEGREE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.10 | 12 ratings
The World In Which We Live
1993
3.57 | 22 ratings
Human Interest Story
1996
3.73 | 56 ratings
Narrow-Caster
2008
4.04 | 192 ratings
The Long Division
2012
4.23 | 244 ratings
Ones & Zeros: vol. 1
2015

3RDEGREE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3RDEGREE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.32 | 3 ratings
The Reunion Concerts
2008
4.27 | 5 ratings
Live At ProgDay 2009
2010

3RDEGREE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3RDEGREE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
The World In Which We Lived (2011)
2011

3RDEGREE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ones & Zeros: vol. 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.23 | 244 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US band 3RDEGREE has been a more or less ongoing feature for a quarter of a century now, initially active in the first half of the '90s and then returning to activity a decade or so back following a spell of hiatus. Since their return they have released three full-length studio albums. "Ones & Zeros Vol. 1", the most recent of those, was released through the US label 10t Records in 2015.

3rDegree excels at the art of creating accessible progressive rock with plenty of intriguing details hovering beneath the surface, and in this case also managing to add a distinct and charming emphasis to the story explored by way of incorporating effects into the compositions that elevate the total experience quite nicely. Perhaps a bit more of a purebred progressive rock-oriented creation this time around when compared to their previous albums. An album worth taking a look at if you tend to enjoy accessible progressive rock, especially if well developed concept and theme albums tend to fascinate you.

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 Ones & Zeros: vol. 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.23 | 244 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Raff
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Three years after "The Long Division" ' an album that garnered its fair share of critical praise in a year noted for a slew of high-profile releases ' comes 3RDegree's fifth studio album, an ambitious opus by the title of "Ones & Zeros Volume 1". Recorded as a six-piece, with the involvement of second guitarist Bryan Ziegler (recruited in 2012 to replace Patrick Kliesch, who is currently based in California, in their live shows), the album was written by the band's core members - Kliesch, bassist Robert James Pashman, and vocalist/keyboardist George Dobbs, plus guitarist Eric Pseja.

Although "The Long Division" had an overarching theme (the increasingly polarized world of US politics), it could not be called a true concept album. , "Ones & Zeros Vol. 1", on the other hand, draws on the rich Anglo-American tradition of dystopian fiction in its rather chilling depiction of a future dominated by a Big Brother-like mega-corporation named Valhalla Biotech (a name with intentionally 'otherworldly' implications), which ' under the guise of improving life for humans ' ends up controlling every aspect of our existence. The pervasive presence of this all-encompassing entity is conveyed through jingles, lectures and announcements (provided by a cast of guest actors) that interact with the music, at first unobtrusively, then taking an increasingly larger role.

By tackling such an ambitious project, 3RDegree prove they are not afraid of taking risks, and deliver an album that - while superficially paying homage to one of prog's old chestnuts ' is quite far removed from the traditional prog modes followed by many modern artists. The song format is still at the core of the band's compositional approach, though a couple of songs reach the 8-minute mark, and display a distinctly more complex structure. The inner coherence of the story is reinforced by the use of recurring musical and lyrical themes. With George Dobbs channeling his inner Stevie Wonder, and multilayered vocal harmonies that recall Queen, Steely Dan and The Beatles as much as Yes, the band depict a rather disturbing scenario thinly disguised by their trademark bright melodies and catchy hooks.

Not surprisingly for an album dealing with such weighty issues, "Ones & Zeros Vol. 1" may need repeated listens in order to be fully appreciated. In a daring move, 3RDegree have placed the second-longest track ' the almost 8-minute 'The Gravity', a mini-epic packing many twists and turns, and not as readily accessible as 'Apophenia' or 'You're Fooling Yourselves' ' right at the opening at the album. "Ones & Zeros Vol. 1" 's tightly constructed 50 minutes shift between overtly poppy, ear-friendly items such as the sunny 'This Is the Future' or the eminently hummable 'Life', which is reprised in the lushly orchestrated ending, 'More Life', and subtly intricate centerpieces such as the Steely Dan-influenced 'Circuit Court' and the mercurial, multilayered 'Life at Any Cost', driven by Pashman's stellar performance on bass. Pashman also shines in the funky yet ominous 'We Regret to Inform You', in which the energetic, almost anthemic harmony vocals alternate with robotic announcements eventually stating that 'your father has been deleted'. 'What It Means to Be Human' initially promises to be the album's most mainstream-oriented track, but its second half veers into much heavier territory, and the deceptively upbeat tone of 'The Best & Brightest (of the Dimmest Bulbs)' is like a velvet glove hiding Valhalla Biotech's iron fist.

With thought-provoking lyrics (all included in the CD package, wrapped in brightly-coloured, semi-abstract artwork by Russian artist Sasha Kouznetsov) complementing the sophisticated, 21st-century art rock of the music, "Ones & Zeros Vol. 1" will certainly appear in many a 'Best of 2015' list - though some dyed-in-the-wool 'proggers' will still object to the poppy overtones that are such an integral part of the band's sound. It is also 3RDegree's most mature album to date: the band amply deserve kudos for having resisted the all-too-common temptation of releasing a 100-minute behemoth. 3RDegree fans will be glad to know that the release of "Ones & Zeros Volume 2 is planned for 2016".

Originally posted on my blog, "Fire of Unknown Origin", on July 22, 2015.

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 The Long Division by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.04 | 192 ratings

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The Long Division
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Raff
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars As I pointed out in my review of "Narrow-Caster", 3RDegree are one of those bands that are bound to divide opinions within the prog community. While critics have generally greeted their albums with words of praise, the public's response has not always been equally enthusiastic. Though the band members proudly state their allegiance to the progressive rock camp, their sound - in true art-rock tradition - contains enough "mainstream" elements to make purists frown, eliciting doubts as to its actual prog quotient. George Dobbs' extraordinary vocals (clearly more influenced by Stevie Wonder than Jon Anderson or Peter Gabriel) are also a sore point with those fans who find it hard to break away from the Seventies mould. The band's frequent reliance on the conventional song form is another source of controversy for those who forget that, in fact, even in its heyday prog never completely rejected traditional song modes, though often rendering them almost unrecognizable.

Compared to "Narrow-Caster", "The Long Division" ups the ante in terms of complexity, while retaining its accessible, deceptively upbeat flavour. Though there are no epics in the conventional prog sense, the album is intended as a sort of loose concept that, while firmly rooted in the peculiar atmosphere of a US presidential election year, can also resonate with citizens of most Western countries, especially in the current global situation. The clean, geometric lines of the striking cover artwork contrast sharply with the stereotypically fanciful prog aesthetics, its bright blue and red hues identifying the two main US political parties, separated by an apparently unbridgeable gap.

From a musical point of view, the main ingredients that made "Narrow-Caster" such as successful example of modern crossover prog do not disguise the intricacy of the instrumental fabric and the frequent changes in tempo and mood. George Dobbs' authoritative voice is assisted by gorgeous, layered vocal harmonies reminiscent of early Yes (or even The Beatles) that complement the lush instrumental interplay. The double-guitar configuration, with new boy Eric Pseja flanking founding member Patrick Kliesch, has undeniably beefed up the sound, though as a whole "The Long Division" comes across as a smoother-sounding effort, less reliant on high-powered riffs and more focused on Dobbs' keyboards.

The 10 songs on "The Long Division" are arranged in a pattern that alternates uptempo numbers with more laid-back ones. "You're Fooling Yourselves" ? a fitting introduction to the musical and lyrical themes of the album, mixed by Echolyn's Brett Kull ? showcases the band's trademark blend of catchy hooks and subtle complexity, with intriguing vocal textures and sleek guitar solos ranging from meditative to energetic. The mellotron-infused "Exit Strategy", with its airy, orchestral feel, is dominated by vocals, though Robert James Pashman's strong bass lines (well complemented by new drummer Aaron Nobel) emerge prominently. The bass is also the undisputed protagonist of the funky, exhilarating "The Socio-Economic Petri Dish" - sounding like Yes probably would if they had been founded in the 21st century, and displaying the band's collective talent in both the instrumental and vocal department. "Incoherent Ramblings" (the longest track on the album at almost 8 minutes) is an extremely well-constructed piece, bringing together the mellow, atmospheric component of 3RDegree's inspiration and the sense of urgency often lurking even in the more relaxed numbers; while the brisk "The Ones to Follow" offers another vocal showcase for Dobbs and an almost infectious chorus.

The second half of the album opens with the hauntingly romantic, piano-led "A Work of Art", the only song dating back from the early incarnation of the band, enhanced by sax, flute and mellotron and featuring an unusually subdued vocal performance by Dobbs. Things pick up with the slashing riffs and hard rock vibe of the Rush-influenced "Televised", driven by Pashman's fat, groovy bass line and Nobel's muscular yet intricate drumming, the heaviness softened by the Beatlesian flavour of the harmony vocals. The short, gentle instrumental "The Millions of Last Moments" prepares the listener to the album's grand finale ? the melodic-with-a-bite, sinuous "Memetic Pandemic", which allows Dobbs to shine on piano and organ as well as in the singing department, and the catchy "A Nihilist's Love Song", based on a chiming acoustic guitar line reinforced by piano and layers of vocal harmonies.

With "The Long Division", 3RDegree prove that they have reached their full maturity as a band, delivering an intelligent, well-rounded example of modern progressive rock. Avoiding the bloated excesses of many retro-oriented bands, "The Long Division" is a complete package of classy music, top-notch vocals and thought-provoking lyrics ? recommended to anyone but incurable prog purists.

Originally published on my blog, "Fire of Unknown Origin", on August 1, 2012

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 Ones & Zeros: vol. 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.23 | 244 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars As I've always said, 3rd Degree is a band I'd like to see in a bar, because their music, like a bar room, can be both cozy and edgy, breezy and angry. If you are familiar with their previous work, sonically this is in between the expansiveness of its breakthrough predecessor, The Long Division, and the more compact and slightly heavier earlier releases. Its also a story-driven concept album, so, yes, there are going to be vocal samples inserted into the middle of songs. 3rd Degree's sound is melody-based and eclectic, while eschewing the extremes, but could be described as being between jazzy pop and heavy prog. On this album, I like the longer songs, because they both allow to build an enjoyable melodic theme while still throwing in a couple of surprises. But the shorter songs are also often twist-and-turny, so I guess you could call it their most ambitious work to date.

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 Narrow-Caster by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.73 | 56 ratings

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Narrow-Caster
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Raff
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars '3RDegree ' Defiling perfectly good songs with prog since 1990'

The definition of 'narrow-caster' (as opposed to a broadcaster) - 'one who transmits a TV programme ['] or otherwise disseminate information, to a comparatively small audience defined by special interest or geographical location' ' seems to be a perfect fit for anyone engaged in the production of progressive rock. In spite of the genre's relative popularity these days, both the musicians and those who (like myself and many others) support it through our writings are perfectly aware that prog is not likely to become the next mainstream sensation, and its appeal will remain limited to a niche audience.

Released in the first half of 2008, "Narrow-Caster" mostly comprises material that had been conceived prior to 3RDegree's demise in 1997 (due to lack of response from their intended audience), but completely rearranged for the occasion , taking advantage of modern technology to allow guitarist and founding member Patrick Kliesch (who currently lives in Los Angeles) to participate in the writing and recording process.

The reactions of the 'prog community' to the album have been somewhat mixed, as illustrated by the reviews published since its release. Although 3RDegree have always proclaimed their love of progressive rock (as stated by the quote I used as a heading, which is proudly emblazoned on the band's official T-shirt), the influences they list on their promotional material point to a very eclectic bunch of artists ' with the likes of Rush, Level 42, Genesis and Stevie Wonder mentioned in the same breath. In fact, labelling 3RDegree as a 'conventional' prog band would do them a serious disservice: they should rather be counted among the rightful heirs of legendary genre-bending outfits such as 10cc, Supertramp, Roxy Music and Queen. These bands and others, pioneers of the much-debated genre called Art Rock, are seen by some as little more than marginally related to prog, by others as no less progressive than icons such as Yes or Genesis.

For today's standards, "Narrow-Caster" is a short album, with no track longer than 5-odd minutes. Chock-full of hooks and melodies that would be the envy of many bigger-name bands, it is one of those independent releases that manage to sound like a million dollars. While the label-happy brigade might frown and turn up their noses, at the beginning of the 21st century, with progressive rock in all its manifestations enjoying an almost unexpected Renaissance, an increasing number of outfits have rediscovered the importance of a well-crafted song as opposed to sprawling, patchy and often terminally boring epics. 3RDegree are part of a solid, though not too large, contingent of bands who do not believe that 'pop' is always a bad word, and who deliver consistently intelligent, classy music without the need to release a whopping 80 minutes of it.

While all the members of 3RDegree are gifted musicians, creating rich sonic textures without anyone seeking to outdo the other, the band's real ace in the hole is George Dobbs' absolutely stunning voice (which, I am happy to say, sounds every bit as good live as it does on CD). Though I have seen it compared to the likes of Michael Jackson, in my view the closest comparison are Glenn Hughes (of Trapeze, Deep Purple and, more recently, Black Country Communion fame), and of course Stevie Wonder. George's versatile, soul-infused tenor can shift from soothing to aggressive in the space of a single song, stamping his unique imprint on the band's music without overwhelming it. 3RDegree's love of classic prog acts such as Yes and Gentle Giant (as well as The Beatles and the label-defying King's X) shines through the superb vocal harmonies that grace most of the songs.

The album kicks off in high gear with 'Apophenia', an intriguing mid-tempo with echoes of Rush in the guitar parts that immediately introduces the listener to 3RDegree's heady blend of aggressive, catchy and atmospheric elements. Dobbs delivers the thought-provoking lyrics, belying the apparently carefree tone of the music (something perfected by the likes of Steely Dan and Supertramp, to name but two) in impassioned yet perfectly controlled fashion. The Steely Dan comparisons rear their head in the splendid 'It Works', my favourite number on the album, with excellent guitar and keyboard work bolstered by Pashman's nimble bass lines, and one of Dobbs' finest moments together with the energetic 'Free for All' - where a deceptively blissful chorus is offset by the spiky, riff-heavy electricity of the verse.

While the title-track and the smooth, jazz- and soul-tinged 'Scenery' showcase 3RDegree's more accessible side, with plenty of catchy vocal harmonies and laid-back melodies, the short but punchy 'The Proverbial Banana Peel' sees the band experiment with both electronics and metal-like power chords The nicely-paced 'Cautionary Tale' delivers a biting indictment of religious fanaticism through almost seductive vocals and an atmospheric guitar solo, and 'Live With This Forever' marries a great hook, supported by Dobbs' stellar performance both on vocals and keyboards, with some harder-edged guitar work. 'Young Once' and 'The Last Gasp', on the other hand, are probably the two songs where the constantly lurking progressive component of 3RDegree's sound emerges most clearly: the former, a wistful number in the Steely Dan vein, unexpectedly features a lovely, ambient-like bridge; while the latter closes the album in style with a brilliant combination of dreamy vocals, Rush-like guitar riffs and a majestic, orchestra-backed, bass- and keyboards-led coda that brings Yes to mind.

If you are looking for music that successfully combines accessibility, great musicianship and stunning vocals, look no further than "Narrow-Caster", definitely one of the best releases of the first decade of the 21st century. In a perfect world, these guys would be stars, since it takes a whole lot of skill and dedication to write music of this kind, at the same time approachable and sophisticated. Modern Art Rock does not get much better than this.

Originally published on my blog, Fire of Unknown Origin, on March 25, 2011.

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 Ones & Zeros: vol. 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.23 | 244 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by rogerthat
Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars One of my pet peeves with prog is a lot of it floats in blissful oblivion of the times we live in. And while I do appreciate the merits of musical escapism to transport listeners temporarily from everyday strife, it doesn't help the cause of a genre that is increasingly disconnected from the mainstream of music culture. It's no coincidence that both Radiohead with OK Computer/Kid A as well as Muse with Absolution (or for that matter, Porcupine Tree with In Absentia), bands which enjoy /enjoyed a good deal of popularity, had something more relevant, more contemporary to say.

Which is why 3RDegree's concept album Ones and Zeros is a welcome departure from the norm. I will not get deeply into the lyrics here, as Roland113's review has done ample justice to that. But the issue of technology getting, indeed, embedded into our lives to the point where it might one day control us is a pertinent one. So, while the device used is of dystopian sci-fi along the lines of a Brave New World or Childhood's End, the subject matter hits closer home as some of what is described in the album is already being felt. Are we indeed heading towards a digitised version of the Utopia that Huxley had conceived and will it indeed take a virus breakdown to preserve what is human about ourselves? I am a bit of a fence-sitter as far as this debate goes. But it is an engaging topic and, thanks to 3RDegree's smart execution, results in an album that is hard edged and packs a punch.

Speaking of which, brevity is of essence here. At just over 50 minutes, the album clocks in a good deal shorter than certain extravaganzas which may not have seen the light of day but for the CD age. 3RDegree is classified under Crossover Prog, but as far as this specific album goes, the style as well as approach is more evocative of 80s Rush, maybe some of the neo prog of the time too. Genesis influence comes with the territory as well. They do not leap too far out of the basket of known prog influences/elements and as such the music sounds like something made in the 80s but with excellent production and, especially, unobtrusive drums.

That is my one minor complaint with the album - that the music is not as contemporary as the lyrics. But it's not a big deal; there are nice twists and turns in the music that I enjoyed. 3RDegree are able to put together complex tracks that do not involve much, if any, noodling; the songwriting is tight as hell. At the same time, they nicely manage the change-ups between electric distorted guitar riffs and lush acoustic, so that the album never feels like an oppressive wall of sound. In saying that, however, it is also not frightfully dynamic. As I noted earlier, more 80s Rush/neo than 70s Genesis/Yes. The flipside is most of the tracks groove nicely and are both pretty accessible and infectious.

Yes, 3RDegree pull off the trickiest part of a concept album exceedingly well - integrating the music with the lyrical concept. The songs are entertaining to listen to by themselves without one being aware of the concept. And yet if you were clued into the concept, you would observe how subtly the mood shifts from optimism to doubt to even despair as the assurances of a bright digital future get weaker and ring more and more hollow. My favourite would have to be Circuit Court with The Gravity being not far behind; but the songs as such are hard to dislike.

Four stars for a solid, relevant and tightly executed album; knocking off one star only because it doesn't offer something strikingly new 'sonically'. I grant that that is something that has become increasingly difficult in rock but I have to respect the rating system all the same; so four stars it will be.

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 Ones & Zeros: vol. 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.23 | 244 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Dreamcow

5 stars Ones & Zeros: Vol. 1 is the fifth studio album by the New Jersey based 3RDegree. This release served as my introduction to the band after I heard The Best & Brightest on The Gagliarchives radio show. Ones & Zeros: Vol. 1 is a concept album that focuses on the problematic nature of unchecked technologic development that is currently surfacing and what lies ahead in the future. It is the job of philosophers and artists to issue caution as mankind continues to progress and evolve. 3RDegree does an excellent job of filling those roles and telling the stories of what can happen when technology surpasses our abilities to grasp and contain it.

Despite the darker and cynical overtones of Ones & Zeros: Vol. 1, the music and vocal harmonies are rather pleasant sounding. This is the true strength of this release. 3RDegree seamlessly blend progressive rock and catchy hooks into a conceptual masterpiece. To be recognized by the progressive rock fan masses, a band must be able to create catchy melodies but also have elements that define progressive rock ? different musical textures, a variety in time signatures, technical proficiency, and perhaps the occasional mellotron or Moog synthesizer part. Ones & Zeros: Vol. 1 has all of these elements and nicely harmonized vocal melodies to further strengthen the album. The effortless flow of the album suggests that it should be listened to as a whole piece (and indeed, that is how I prefer to listen to it), however the tracks The Best & Brightest, Life at any Cost and Circuit Court can stand on their own and serve as singles or as an introduction to 3RDegree. Fantastic lyrics are what elevate Ones & Zeros: Vol. 1 Ones & Zeros: Vol. 1 to a masterpiece level. The philosophical and questioning nature of the lyrical content is the general theme. "There are no more secrets in the modern world" and "Try keeping a secret in the age of the diode" from Circuit Court address a concern we already have and will likely only worsen. "The smartest kids in the room have done something very dumb" or "Let's just hope he's nice." from The Best & Brightest cynically points out the potential for a Terminator scenario with artificial intelligence. "Life is needing more life." from Life and the final track (More Life) underscores the concept of the album that we are always going to want or need more.

Stylistically, 3RDegree are difficult to pin down. Certainly they have their own sound, and much like Steven Wilson, they are musical chameleons where it is difficult to point out any dominating influence. Fans of Echolyn, Steely Dan, Spock's Beard, Marillion, Yes, and perhaps Caravan and The Moody Blues should take note. However, I recommend Ones & Zeros: Vol. 1 to any fan of catchy melodies and vocal harmonies but also require substance, musical chops, and an interesting concept (that is relevant to us all).

In a year where many of my favorite artists released brilliant albums, I feel fortunate to have found 3RDegree and this masterpiece, Ones & Zeros: Vol. 1. This is the best of the best for the year 2015.

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 Ones & Zeros: vol. 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.23 | 244 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars Back in 2012, an election year here in the U.S., 3RDegree released one of the finest albums of that year, "The Long Division", a scathing critique of the political system, and the way the corporate news outlets portray the process. The album blew me away in it's concept and execution. I really had might doubts that any band could improve upon such an effort. But with "Ones & Zeros: Volume 1", they have accomplished that task.

The concept here is a not too distant, nor unthinkable future, where our present obsession with immortalization through our many electronic gadgets has led to the ability to (if you can afford it) digitize your consciousness, ensuring virtual immortality. This process is overseen by a corporate entity called "Valhalla", that controls these "people" with a mechanical logic. I don't want to give much away, but the story is told with a clever and sophisticated humor, reminding me more than a little of the wordplay of 10CC or XTC. Just the images from the song title [i]Circuit Court[/i] in this context should give a taste of this.

The music itself could best be describes as the vocal tonality of 10CC, with the inventive instrumentation of that same band, except with an underlying complexity reminiscent of Echolyn, with the hooks and power of Spock's Beard. But the mix of those styles brought together, makes the sound truly original 3RDegree music.

I received the album some weeks ago, yet still, every time I listen to it, I hear more and more inside each song. I cannot find anything at all to knock this down from a perfect rating.

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 Ones & Zeros: vol. 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.23 | 244 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Subterranean Android

5 stars This is New Jersey-based band 3RDegree's fifth album, and each of their albums outdoes the previous effort. As it stands, Ones & Zeros: Vol.1 is their crowning achievement to date. On their last album, 2012's The Long Division, 3RDegree created a pseudo-concept album with political themes running throughout. It was apropos for the 2012 election year, and it still holds up as a fantastic album today. However, make no mistake with Ones & Zeros ? this is a full on concept album, dealing with weighty and complex moral issues such as life extension, the Ultra A.I., and the singularity. The band cleverly weaves the storyline by creating Valhalla Biotech, an all-encompassing mega-conglomorate. Think Apple merged with Google, who then merged with Facebook and Microsoft. Valhalla Biotech presents itself through a cheery, if not detached, computerized customer service rep, at times stating "We regret to inform you that your father has been deleted." It's as if the band has taken the inanity of today's ever increasing lack of human interaction, and notched it up a level in this dystopian future. Musically speaking, the band has always straddled the line between melodic, hook laden pop and prog complexity, and it seems as though they are doing it better than they ever have on Ones & Zeros. Now a 6 piece, 3RDegree sound fuller, more complete, and more mature than any of their previous releases. Lead singer George Dobbs is the finest amalgamation of Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Donald Fagan, and a host of other world-class singers. Underneath him are the multilayered vocal harmonies reminiscent of Queen, The Beatles, and Yes, and they have never sounded so good. What makes the rather disturbing scenario on this CD so palatable is that it is all disguised by their characteristic sunny melodies. The band has done a fantastic job telling a cautionaly tale (to quote a song title of theirs) and they do it with their signature tongue-in-cheek wit. And the best part of it is that this is only Volume 1, with Volume 2 set to be released in 2016. Thanks, guys, for finally not making me wait 4 years until your next release ;) Ones & Zeros Vol. 1 is firmly on my "Best of 2015" list. This is an excellent CD and highly recommended.

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 Ones & Zeros: vol. 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.23 | 244 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by javajeff

5 stars I love concept albums, so the positive buzz surrounding this new release, Ones & Zeroes from 3RDegree, really perked my interest. The album concept is not new, but has never been executed this well before in an album. I do not want to give away any information about the concept, so try to immerse yourself before reading too many reviews. After the intro, The Gravity starts off with a bang, and that will draw you in immediately. You will find amazing musicianship, excellent vocals, and a stellar concept wrapped in a prog goodness shell. There is so much to enjoy here and so many subgenres delivered in an eclectic fashion. You will find some funk, folk, jazz, mixed in with layers of complex prog. Do not miss out on this gem!

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Thanks to micky for the artist addition. and to Raff for the last updates

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