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3RDEGREE

Crossover Prog • United States


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"You're Fooling Yourselves!", wails 3RDegree lead singer/keyboardist George Dobbs on the band's lead-off single from the new CD THE LONG DIVISION-their first since 2008. This song-as well as a few others on the first half of the album-flesh out the band's 2012 political treatise: that America's political parties (and probably those in other countries) have long divided it's populous on the basis of color, salary, sex, age and much else, have played on their fears, and have used their accumulated powers to build up largesse to keep their supporters in the fold. Ok, it's not always that heavy, but the album was penned in the shadow of the 2008 economic collapse that was happening right as 3RDegree were releasing their first album in 12 years: NARROW-CASTER. While that third album was a combination of fresh songs and resurrected ideas from the period just before the band's original breakup in 1997, THE LONG DIVISION is in the shared vintage of Tea Parties, Occupy Movements, shovel-ready jobs and banks and car companies "too big to fail".

As with the last album, Los Angeles-based Pat Kliesch (guitarist/backing vocalist) would share ideas back and forth with his two New Jersey band mates: band leader Robert James Pashman (bassist/keyboardist /backing vocalist), and the aforementioned Dobbs. Using online tools to share and with all three proficient with digital audio workstations such as ProTools, demos were created and shared with new band mates Eric Pseja (guitarist/backing vocalist who had been working with the band since their 2007 The Reunion Concerts DVD/Blu-ray) and Aaron Nobel (drummer who was added just in time for the Live At ProgDay 2009 DVD/Blu-ray-replacing the departed Rob Durham) before going into the studio to record the foundation drum tracks. Songs like the Dobbs-penned "The Socio-Economic Petri Dish" and "Memetic Pandemic" would be shared with North Carolina's ProgDay audience in their embryonic states, but all else except the live favorite "A Work Of Art" featuring Pashman on piano with Dobbs singing beside him-and the only track resurrected from the 90's incarnation of the band-would be arranged later on.

After the big splash in small progressive rock ponds worldwide that NARROW-CASTER had made throughout 2009 with the Dutch Progressive Rock Page (DPRP.net) reveling: "It's not often an album as refreshing as this comes along, and we should treasure it when it does...an album that demands repeated spins, and rewards eve...
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Narrow-CasterNarrow-Caster
CD Baby 2008
Audio CD$9.48
$7.87 (used)
The Long DivisionThe Long Division
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$15.70
$10.71 (used)
Hunters Unite (feat. Fluid) - SingleHunters Unite (feat. Fluid) - Single
Starfury Films 2011
Audio CD$8.98
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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)

3.08 | 7 ratings
The World In Which We Live
1993
3.55 | 17 ratings
Human Interest Story
1996
3.69 | 51 ratings
Narrow-Caster
2008
4.11 | 150 ratings
The Long Division
2012

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
 Human Interest Story by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.55 | 17 ratings

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Human Interest Story
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars This album shows that it took some time, and a hiatus, for 3rdDegree to develop. This sounds to me as a kind of off-beat, discontented pop-rock music, best suited for a bar rather than concert hall. I think I saw somewhere their self-description "subverting popular music with prog", or something along those lines. Songs are an eclectic bunch, ranging from an angry toned guitar to more relaxed and to airy 80s style. There is even a rap-punk shout-out hybrid. What united these songs, however, is that they are not really flashy or catchy. No instrument stands out, all share equal footing. For those who like to hear their bass, this is for you.

For more of the same style, but better, check out Narrow-Caster. If you want to see this band really take it next level, get their latest, The Long Division

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 Human Interest Story by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.55 | 17 ratings

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Human Interest Story
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars When I heard the 2012 album 'The Long Division" I was blown away, and also somewhat alarmed that here was yet another band that had been going for some years but I had not come across before. Robert Pashamn then kindly sent me a copy of their 2008 album, which I also loved, but I hadn't heard any of their material that was released prior to their split. That has now been corrected as 10t Records have issued a remastered version of their 1996 album 'Human Interest Story'. Now, I can't compare the sonic quality to the original self-released edition as I haven't heard it, but I do know that the sound quality on this is extremely good indeed. It also comes with a bonus song, but the track sequence has been amended and it appears that the band have taken the opportunity revisit this without actually re-recording anything.

The first thing that strikes the listener is that this doesn't sound as if it is the best part of 20 years old, but rather sounds fresh and striking, almost as if it is a follow-up to the last album as opposed to one that preceded it by many years. As with all of their albums, this comes across as melodic and immediate with strong vocals, good harmonies, great pianowork and keyboards, strong guitar (with a nice use of both acoustic and electric) and a rhythm section that gets it just right. The band always strikes me as being heavily influenced by City Boy, along with Steely Dan, Alan Parsons Project and Peter Gabriel among others. They know a hook when they hear one, yet also know when to thrown in a hard edge to crate impact. Listen to "Top Secret" and you will see what I mean, as the guitar is quite abrasive with strong keyboards and the whole band punching hard while George's vocals are clear and rising above it all. This could easily have found it's way on City Boy's 'The Day The Earth Caught Fire': and given that this album is one of my all-time favourites that isn't something I say lightly.

This is the third of their four albums that I have heard, and it is three for three as yet again I find myself unable to give this anything but 5 *'s. The more I play it the more I love it, and each time I find something else to enjoy and concentrate on. Superb.

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 Human Interest Story by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.55 | 17 ratings

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Human Interest Story
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

3 stars Let me start this little review by saying that I'm always a bit afraid going backwards in a band's discography. Especially with bands like 3rDegree that disbanded and got together again after many years. I'm particularly afraid of going back to a band's discography in cases like this because I just loved their most recent album The Long Division (2012), and when you go back you may not like what you hear and then the magic's over.

Now let me ramble a bit. 3rDegree, together with 10t Records re-released their 1996 album Human Interest Story last year. Re-editions are usually great, especially in cases like this that the album is out of print and you just can't buy it. However, I don't understand their plans. The album wasn't released in CD, only in digital formats. Sure, you can go to 10t website, buy it in WAV, and burn yourself a CD, but it costs 9 bucks, pretty much the SAME cost of a CD. Especially if you burn yourself a copy of it. Moreover, the album was already available before on the band's Bandcamp, ok, this is a new master version, but anyway, I just cannot see the whole point of a re-release like this. But maybe it's just me. Can't say. Now, as I mentioned, I just loved their latest album, it was a high 5 for me (progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=1035901). Now Human Interest Story (1996) is a good album! I didn't listen the previous master of the album (and now it's not available anymore) to compare, but this new version sounds really good. I would say that this was an album released just now if didn't know better! Now, I'm approaching the album as a Progressive Rock piece, and I would say that Human Interest Story (1996) is a Rock album with Prog Rock influences. This means that songs have a more direct approach. Now, I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I'm just stating a fact. The album is in fact a very solid record that deserves a bit more of attention as 3rDegree also deserve more.

The thing with Human Interest Story (1996) is that I prefer the band as it is today! Their past is sure interesting, with great songs and great musicianship, I just rather listen to their comeback works!

A 3.5 stars!

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 Human Interest Story by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.55 | 17 ratings

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Human Interest Story
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by AyRon

4 stars I'm amongst those who typically get irked that there's yet another remaster of an album that I previously bought, sometimes in multiple formats. To be worth buying, it needs to be so radically different from the original (at least in sonic quality) that it makes listening to the original pale in comparison.

Well, here's a perfect example. Listening to the remaster of Human Interest Story is like really hearing it for the first time. In fact, it makes the original sound like a poorly recorded demo in comparison. Some major comments on the upgrades:

1) One of the things I disliked about the original was the guitar sounds. I always felt they lacked definition and sounded overly processed. This is not a comment on the guitar playing...Pat Kliesch writes and plays extremely interesting guitar lines. But listening to the remaster reveals just how good the playing is...in particular, I'm hearing many things I never heard before, thinking WOW that's brilliant!

2) George Dobbs' vocals are much more defined and pick up more of the dynamism you hear from him live. I felt that was not captured in the original version.

3) The drumming is much more distinct in this version.

The bottom line is that you haven't truly heard this album until you've heard the 2013 remastered version.

Now to comment about the actual music. Human Interest Story was originally released in 1996. However, the biggest compliment I can pay this remastered version is that if you didn't know this wasn't a "new" album, you'd think it's a welcome follow up to 2012's The Long Division. It doesn't sound "dated" in the least, and that's a testament to the well done writing and execution. If you enjoyed The Long Division, you're bound to enjoy this album as well. As always, 3rdegree combine strong progressive elements with more straightforward rock. As a result, it likely will not be everyone's cup of tea (the only reason I don't feel right giving it 5 stars - I know there are plenty of prog purists that will complain they're not "prog enough." I'm not one who agrees with that statement).

Essentially, I'd say TLD is the band's definitive statement to date, but I'd put this remastered version right up there with it. Considering that it predates TLD by 16 years, that's pretty impressive.

High points:

Human Interest Story (a staple in their live show - hard hitting and still lyrically applicable - they beat Peter Gabriel's "Barry Williams Show" by 6 years!)

Ladder - One of their best songs and one that particularly benefited from remastering.

Stardust - Practically an anthem.

Black Orchid - Beautiful guitar piece - goes hand in hand with the Millions of Last Moments from TLD.

Other great moments: Locked Inside, Misfortune on Main Street (particularly the last part - We Must Wake Now - great ending to the album with elements of Yes harmonies).

Bottom line - Highly recommended, particularly if you liked their 2012 outing.

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 Human Interest Story by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.55 | 17 ratings

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Human Interest Story
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars If ever there was a band that deserved much more recognition, 3rdegree is that band. I have already written that if I had heard their most recent album, "The Long Division" earlier, it would have been my pick for the best album of 2012. Here, the band has remastered their second album. I haven't heard the original, but this version is spectacular.

I have read here that 3rdegree has performed on a Todd Rundgren tribute album, and that is quite appropriate. While not stylistically like Todd, I notice a similarity on this album to Rundgren's fine production style. Arrangements are often beautifully dense without sacrificing the clarity of the instrumentation.

The music, to my ears mixes the complexity and romanticism of Echolyn with much of the dynamics of Spock's Beard. Intermingled are nods to the classic masters of the seventies, most apparently Genesis and Yes.

And while the lyrics are not as bitingly sarcastic as the skewering of American politics on "The Long Division", there are still some devilishly incisive words about societal issues. Hey, the opening track starts right out lambasting news broadcasts' supposed human interest stories.

If you missed this the first time around, here's your chance to catch up on a great one.

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 Narrow-Caster by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.69 | 51 ratings

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Narrow-Caster
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars I got this after listening to their latest, 2012's The Long Division, and I must say I was more impressed by Long Division. This album sounds kind of like angry adult oriented rock with non-linear song structures, elements of 70s soul and funk. Main alternating tones, often within a song, are the more soulful and more gritty, with rumbling guitar and bass. Vocals are on the high side and sometimes raspy. Production is DIY, instruments separated in the mix (the way I like it). Nothing terribly complicated or flashy, the band goes more after the mood. It's melodic alright, but if compared to The Long Division, songs on Narrow-Caster are generally heavier, two minutes shorter and yet less groovy and catchy. Usually with prog bands it is the other way around - the shorter songs are more immediate and longer ones take more time to sink in.

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 The Long Division by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.11 | 150 ratings

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The Long Division
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars It's refreshing to find once in a while among all the bombastic modern prog a band that sounds restrained, smooth, with a bar music feel.This is an album that draws its influences not as much from British prog but rather from the primary sources of Ameican rock (another modern band with such an approach is Shadow Circus, although they are more bombastic) - bar music, soul, jazz, gospel, traditional pop, hard rock. A pure example of crossover prog-lite.

The sound here reminds me of 60s and 70s - not too loud, with restrained power chords, prominent bar piano and groovy rhythm section. Melodies often have a relaxed 11pm jazz feel, even trembling at times (see Exit Strategy), although it has a fair share of rocking out (opening track, sections of Televised and Socio-economic Petri Dish). This decidedly retro sound stands in curious contrast with lyrical theme, which is a bitter commentary on contemporary political divisions in America.

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 The Long Division by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.11 | 150 ratings

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The Long Division
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

5 stars 3rDegree is an American band that was formed in the late 80's and during the early 90's released two albums before disbanding in 1997. The band decided to re-unite in 2006 and since then has released two more studio albums. The Long Division (2012) is their most recent work. By the time of the release 3rDegree was formed by George Dobbs (vocals and keyboards), the founder of the band Robert James Pashman (bass and vocals), Patrick Kliesch (guitars and vocals), Eric Pseja (guitars and vocals) and Aaron Nobel (drums and percussion).

The Long Division (2012) starts and, for me, it's a great pleasure to listen to such a wonderful track as 'You're Fooling Yourselves'! Catchy yet complex, full of details and on top of that, good lyrics. And what a great chorus! As I began to think that the band couldn't possibly go higher than in the first song' 'Exit Strategy' brings us a perfect amalgam of vocals, great hooks and clever instrumental. And then 'The Socio-Economic Petri Dish'. It's incredible how 3rDegree is able to combine the old Prog days without a single trace of copying that sound. They're amusingly refreshing and new to this old 'accustomed' Prog ears of mine!

By the time 'Incoherent Ramblings' starts, game's over. The band got me as their newest fan. I should have been aware of The Long Division (2012) before. But better later than never! Two shorter songs follow: 'The Ones To Follow' is another catchy acoustic driven track that is just great. 'A Work Of Art' has saxophones by Bill Fox and some amazing vocals by George Dobbs. 'Televised' resembles the beginning of the album, as in a circle. Robert James Pashman bass and Eric Pseja/Patrick Kliesch guitars are heavy on this track. Soon they're followed by the amazing Dobbs vocals (here a bit like Threshold's Mac era). Superb stuff!

'The Millions Of Last Moments' is a pretty and pastoral acoustic piece and 'Memetic Pandemic' is another mammoth. The right amount of keyboards, two guitar players that know how to work for the song and a solid drummer, that's 3rDegree. And to close The Long Division (2012) comes 'A Nihilist's Love Song'. This one is a bit more of a Pop song with a big chorus and a melancholic mood. Finishing with a high note is always good!

3rDegree was one of my greatest discoveries this year! The Long Division (2012) has everything that any intelligent Progressive Rock fan would want: great and smart lyrics, melodic hooks all around, flawless instrumentation, superb vocals, a perfect production and the main thing ' great songs! The Long Division (2012) is all based on great well-polished songs!

It's time to follow forward, pass through the first few levels of average Joes and step on the 3rDegree.

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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 The Long Division by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.11 | 150 ratings

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The Long Division
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Politically geared lyrics aren't anything new in the progressive rock world, but the words heard on the latest offering from American act 3RDegree are some of the genre's most critical since Pain of Salvation's controversial Scarsick. Entitled The Long Division, the fourth full-length album from the band has a real bone to pick with the current state of American politics - and, honestly, who doesn't feel the same way? Our politicians are bought out, the political process is all but broken, and most folks are too apathetic to do anything about it. Agree or disagree with 3RDegree's message, they approach a touchy subject with maturity, and (quite frankly) I think that more people should be talking about this.

If you consider lyrics secondary to music (like I do), however, you'll be be pleased to know that the compositions here don't at all take a backseat to the band's lyrical message. Not unlike their fellow countrymen in Echolyn or Spock's Beard, 3RDegree's music is quite melodic and instantly memorable, but also complex and interesting. I would imagine that fans of Gentle Giant would also love The Long Division, although 3RDegree's music is much more accessible than the classic observations of the Giant. Tracks like "The Socio-Economic Petri Dish", with its funky basslines, and "Televised" (what I would consider the most 'traditionally' proggy song on the album) particularly stand out to me, but there isn't a weak track anywhere on The Long Division.

3RDegree is a group of mature, accomplished musicians, and it shows on The Long Division; this is a strong observation that sounds sophisticated without ever coming across as self-indulgent or overblown. There are probably a few valid criticisms one could jot down about The Long Division - some of the verses are too wordy and some melodies are more memorable than others, for example - but neither of these are significant shortcomings in the long run. This is a very strong album that fans of Spock's Beard, Echolyn, Gentle Giant, and Big Big Train won't regret hearing!

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 Narrow-Caster by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.69 | 51 ratings

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Narrow-Caster
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars After raving about 2012's 'The Long Division', it only seems right that I ought to go backwards and listen to something else by these guys. The band broke up not long after releasing 'Human Interest Story' in 1996, only getting back together in 2007 so perhaps it isn't surprising that this 2008 album is actually a collection of ideas from the Nineties together with some new ones. This was their third studio album altogether, and having now only heard it some five years after it came out I am still at a loss to explain why these guys aren't far more widely known. This is radio friendly commercially acceptable classic rock/art rock/prog rock, so how come they aren't being spoken about as the next big thing? I'm sure that it can't have anything to do with their age, how they look, or that they write their own material and can play their own instruments can it? Surely not, where would the music industry be if everything was just created crap for the masses (etc, etc)?

As with the later album, this has many musical connections with City Boy and Alan Parsons Project, along with 10CC and Steely Dan: it is well-crafted melodic music with stacks of hooks and vocals to die for. There is something about the album that makes me smile as I play it, with the additional benefit that this is an album that brings summer to the coldest day. It's winter here in NZ as I write this, but there is a warm glow coming from my speakers that brightens the mood.

There is a feeling that these guys can really rock when they want to, but keep a lid on it so that the vocals and melodies stay at the forefront, even though there are times when there are some fairly brutal riffs coming out. Listen to "The Proverbial Banana Peel" to get a taste of just how controlled these guys are; at times there are gentle keyboards and a great bassline in the background with loads of space while at others there is some wonderful fuzzed distorted guitar that gives it a totally different feel.

This is an album that just begs to be played on repeat, and surely that is all anyone wants? This is for fans of good music, whatever the genre. www.3rdegreeonline.com

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