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3RDegree - The Long Division CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.01 | 235 ratings

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4 stars Many fellow reviewers have complained about the lyrical content being so blatantly political and broadly critical. I do not view that as a failing. As an American frustrated with how the either-or political partisanship has engendered a sports team mentality and loyalty among voters (and hell, non-voters for that matter), while the string-pullers continue to deceive and swindle and make promises and cover asses and get away with all of it, I appreciate it. The media fits in the pockets of the politicians, the politicians fit in the pockets of big businesses, and K-12 indoctrination helps ensure that we never escape this cycle. Apathy, distractions, and ignorance are threats, and it is fair that they should be addressed. So while I appreciate this theme, unfortunately in many places the lyrics are crammed into melodies where they do not belong. That, and occasional rough musical transitions, is my biggest criticism of the album. Musically, it's hard-hitting progressive rock interspersed with fluid passages, using a wide array of colorful tones, giving the album a slightly eclectic but cohesive feel. As political albums go, this has a bitter, frustrated attitude (and a justifiable one, if you ask me), and the musicianship is first-rate, but it does not top what I consider to be the greatest political album ever made: The Power and the Glory by Gentle Giant.

"You're Fooling Yourselves" Perhaps this is the antithesis of the Styx song "Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)" from the (ha) appropriately-titled album (for the purpose of my comparison) The Grand Illusion. But there's no garish synthesizer leads or simple alternating bass lines to be heard here: This is a progressive rock song that fuses complex with catchy- I could hum that hook after the first hearing.

"Exit Strategy" Easily the greatest song on the album, I swear I thought I was listening to a long-lost Ritual piece from The Hemulic Voluntary Band (one of my favorite albums): This one is off-kilter but not off-putting in the verses. And listen to that refrain and the melody that leads into it- so smooth! This is an brilliant song and my favorite from this album.

"The Socio-Economic Petri Dish" Darker and more keyboard dominated than what has come before, after ninety sections the band settles into a funky groove.

"Incoherent Ramblings" Much lighter in tone, especially in the chorus, this song is rather difficult to follow, mainly because of its wild structure. This is one example of a song where the words are forced into melodies that don't suit them. Believe me, I'm tired of the empty political platitudes spouted by politicians to their zealous followers, but if one is to write a song about them, make it easier to follow than the disingenuous people who use them!

"The Ones to Follow" Alternating between a bass vocal and an airy response, the vocal section of this laidback rocker reminds me faintly of the gospel music that can be found on the soundtrack to the 2004 Coen Brothers film The Ladykillers (say what you will, I think that's one of the funniest films ever made, by the way). The rest of the music is quite light and somewhat symphonic in nature.

"A Work of Art" The quietest part of the album, this song has soft piano, strings, and a bit of brass.

"Televised" Moving into heavier waters in 7/4, we're treated to some varied keyboard and guitar tones.

"The Millions of Last Moments" Gentle washes of acoustic and electric guitars provide a soft interlude.

"Memetic Pandemic" Multiple sections highlight the individual talents of the band members, even as they work in tandem. I feel like this may be the most complex song on the album.

"A Nihilist's Love Song" I always forget about this finisher, so it always pleasantly surprises me- another catchy little refrain!

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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