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3 - To The Power Of Three CD (album) cover

TO THE POWER OF THREE

3

 

Crossover Prog

2.40 | 68 ratings

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TCat
1 stars Emerson, Lake & Palmer seemed to be a thing of the past after they released their critically panned album 'Love Beach' in 1978. We all know that Keith Emerson and Greg Lake released an album with Cozy Powell in response to the popularity of progressive supergroups in the 80s, specifically 'Asia' which is where Carl Palmer had also gone. We also know that was not a big success and original ELP fans were mostly furious. So, Emerson, not one to let one failed attempt thwart his dreams of popularity at the time, decided to form another band similar to ELP, this time with Carl Palmer and without Greg Lake. The vocalist of choice this time was Robert Berry, who, while not as diverse and talented as Lake, was still a good vocalist. This time, the group became known simply as '3' and the music was a mix of a little progressiveness and a lot of commercial arena rock. 'To the Power of Three' was the only album the trio would release after disbanding about a year later and the original ELP would reform. Both Emerson and Berry would later reform '3' and planned on releasing a 2nd album, but unfortunately, Emerson passed away. Berry would release the album '3.2' in 2018.

'To the Power of Three' strives to make a bridge between radio friendly rock and progressive rock. All three members would contribute to the album. Starting with 'Talkin' About', a track penned by Berry and also released as a single which was moderately successful, we get a pop song with a slightly bombastic edge that begins like a keyboard-heavy ELP track, but quickly goes to a mostly standard radio-friendly, arena-rocker track with a progressive-lite instrumental break. 'Lover to Lover' gives songwriting credits to all three members of the band. This one has no progressiveness whatsoever and sound like an outdated hair metal (well, hair-keyboard in this instance) band. Not good. Bob Marlette is credited as a co-writer to the next track 'Chains'. Marlette had written songs for Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie, so this might have been an attempt to sound relevant to the time. It only continued to take the album in its downward spiral as it sounds poppier than ever.

Next up, there is some hope before even listening to this track in that it is over 7 minutes long and it is divided up into 3 sections. Okay, so that looks interesting at least. The track is 'Desde la Vida'. The first subsection is called 'La Vista' and is credited to all three. The sections flow from one to the other without any indication of passing one from the other. The track is slightly heavier, but is still keyboard heavy, of course. It is also definitely more progressive especially in the instrumental section, which is called 'Frontera' credited to Keith Emerson. 'Sangre de Toro' is the last section and is credited to both Emerson and Palmer. There is a return to the verse at the beginning and a piano/keyboard/drum solo with some excellent interplay. This is the type of music you want to hear on this album, but, up to this point, it has been sorely missed. At least the music meets your expectation on this track.

Next is a cover of the classic rock song '8 Miles High' originally done by The Byrds. This version sounds pretty much totally unlike the original and turned into a simple march style which does no justice to the original whatsoever. The instrumental break is good, but that is all that's good about this track. The next two tracks are credited to Berry. First is 'Runaway' which is just dated-sounding pop that sounds more like 'Starship'. The next is 'You Do or You Don't'. This track sounds like the previous track. Hopefully they washed their cookie cutter after using it. The last track is 'On My Way Home' credited to Emerson. The song is a stately and fairly basic keyboard solo with bass and drums until the vocals come in later. There are some shades of the old ELP there, mostly the Emerson shade but it would have been considered a light song for them. There is nothing that challenging about it, but they are trying to produce an arena anthem, but it turns out to be to lackluster to create any kind of buzz.

The album is not one really for the fans, and might hold some value to those that love light progressive, very light that is. You might like it if you love 80's style pop music. But I doubt if many ELP fans would have much patience for it. The only reason that I can think of to want this album is for 'Desde la Vida', so if you must hear that track, wait until you can find someone wanting to sell the album for a buck in a yard sale. This is one for completionists.

TCat | 1/5 |

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