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3RDegree - Narrow-Caster CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.68 | 75 ratings

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Normally is hard to trust a review, because in most cases the critic gives a high rating to an album he likes and a low one to an album he dislikes, doesn't matter the quality, musicianship, skills and composition, most of the times the only parameter a critic considers is his taste, so that's why I have some problem taking many critics too seriously.

But if an amateur reviewer with no particular interest in the band tells you that the album doesn't have the music he normally likes but still gives a high rating, believe him.

In my case I have to be honest Narrow-Caster by 3RDEGREE was not my cup of tea, not even the album I would had bought in a store before listening carefully, but to say it's bad would be a lie, the album is very good, the musicians are surely capable, the composition is impeccable, the blend of styles is done with class and skills, the fact that is not the pompous and melodic music I love, must not cloud my vision, at the end the taste is personal but the quality is universal and Narrow- Caster has quality.

The album begins with Apophenia a track extremely complex from the start, the dissonant introduction is a brilliant example of complex Progressive Rock, my only problem is with the vocals that remind me a bit of Michael Jackson and never liked his voice or music. There's also some obvious YES influence in the track, even when more complex than most of their albums, it's interesting to listen the POP elements blended so perfectly with the extremely complex Prog ones, an excellent work.

It Works has an outstanding Jazzy introduction and again it's interesting to notice how progressively it turns from an elaborate form of fusion to solid Rock, but done gradually so the shock is not too strong. A special mention for the psyche oriented organ, simply brilliant.......As the title of the song, it works.

Narrow-Caster explores the poppier side of 3RDEGREE'S music. flows gently and soft with almost no surprises, but still is pleasant enough for the average listener and sufficiently elaborate for the most demanding audience. Not my cup of tea, but well written and performed.

In Live with this Forever I can listen again that splendid Psyche organ that I like so much, but sadly the vocals turn me off, but when I'm starting to get disappointed, the fantastic instrumental sections give me hope and don't allow me to stop admiring the music. The contrast of styles is simply impressive, and in some moment it gets as pompous and brilliant as you can expect from the best known Prog icon.

Cautionary Tale is a strange mix of BRAND X and EARTH WIND & FIRE, the typical Motown vocal parts contrast with the elaborate, hard and technical instrumentation, I just get more and more impressed with each track, this band has caught the best of two different worlds, even when I love the technical Jazz and dislike most Motown can't deny the work done combining both styles is very good.

The Proverbial Banana Peel has a harder edge from the start, something I like much more, the guitar - keyboard interplay is excellent and the radical changes are more than interesting, the album keeps getting better as he songs pass. At last the vocal work gets closer to what I like, more aggressive and strong, my favorite song at this point.

Young Once begins with a reminiscent PINK FLOYD touch but suddenly changes, if there's something we must learn with his album is to expect the unexpected, in this case they jumped from FLOYD to QUEEN reminiscent brilliantly, and them again to a classical USA Hard Rock style.

What will come next? Honestly I don't know, but I'm willing to investigate.

Scenery presents us a new change, 3RDEGREE has also an acoustic and melodic side and I like it, again reminds me of QUEEN, specially in the vocals which keep sounding better, don't know if there's an improvement or it's just that I got used, but now I like what I hear.

Free for All is absolutely weird and mind blowing, the blend of POP, Hard Rock, Motown Jazzy and even Post Rock elements is mind blowing, a musician really needs skills to blend all of this and still manage to make it sound natural. BTW: The vocals rock in this track.

The album is closed with The Last Gasp another strange song that is time I can't describe or catalogue, there so many things happening on this track that words are not enough.

Still when the album combines things that I like with some I'm not too fond on, all are so well blended that any doubt I had after the first listens has vanished.

Excellent band and very strong album that deserves 4 stars because the quality shines beyond personal tastes. I'm impatient to listen Human Interest Story.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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