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3RDEGREE

Crossover Prog • United States


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3RDegree picture
3RDegree biography
Formed in 1990 in New Jersey, USA

"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 INTERE...
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3RDEGREE Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy 3RDEGREE Music


Ones & Zeros 0Ones & Zeros 0
CD Baby 2018
$13.47
The Long DivisionThe Long Division
CD Baby 2012
$13.47
$11.90 (used)
Ones & Zeroes: 1Ones & Zeroes: 1
10t Records 2015
$12.72
Human Interest Story (Remastered)Human Interest Story (Remastered)
CD Baby 2017
$13.47
Hunters Unite (feat. Fluid) - SingleHunters Unite (feat. Fluid) - Single
Starfury Films 2011
$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)

3.18 | 21 ratings
The World In Which We Live
1993
3.51 | 38 ratings
Human Interest Story
1996
3.68 | 75 ratings
Narrow-Caster
2008
4.02 | 229 ratings
The Long Division
2012
4.11 | 362 ratings
Ones & Zeros - Volume 1
2015
4.13 | 243 ratings
Ones & Zeros - Volume 0
2018

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

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

4.36 | 5 ratings
The Reunion Concerts
2008
4.31 | 7 ratings
Live At ProgDay 2009
2010
4.50 | 4 ratings
Hello World! Live in Europe & America
2016

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 | 2 ratings
The World In Which We Lived (2011)
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
Olympia (Single Edit)
2019

3RDEGREE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ones & Zeros - Volume 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.13 | 243 ratings

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Ones & Zeros - Volume 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Xonty

2 stars Well, this is such an unnecessary release- anything that's at best mediocre has already been done to death by the majority of prog groups out there. I initially checked out the album as I saw it was in the top 25 crossover prog records, and remembering that I wasn't repelled by 3rdegree on my previously listen of Ones and Zeros volume 1 (they still didn't leave a strong impression) I thought I'd give them another chance. However, like many of these slightly esoteric new releases, the ProgArchives rating algorithm permits this to be above ALL Kate Bush, Talk Talk, Radiohead, Pavlov's Dog, Procol Harum etc within this subgenre alone. I've been away from the ProgArchives community for some time especially regarding reviews, but this really needs some correcting. Harmonically, lyrically and timbrally completely unstimulating, without any remotely notable technicality, production or compositional skills to hold it up. Merely another revivalist album but one that sounds like a dull, bastardised combination of B-sides from the Big Six maybe. Perhaps acceptable if this emerged in the neo-prog scene around the time of Marillion but for 2018?!

Very low 2/5 rating. 'Best' moments probably the overture, and some sections in 'Click Away' although it's unnecessarily lengthy, worst moments in 'Olympia' and 'perfect babies', mainly since they're probably the weakest lyrically (Olympia does have a nice twist on a backdoor cadence that repeats but doesn't exploit it effectively at all). Never again.

 Ones & Zeros - Volume 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.13 | 243 ratings

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Ones & Zeros - Volume 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Jay_K

5 stars Volume 1 (2015) of 3RDegree's Ones & Zeros portrayed a futuristic, transhumanist society and promised a second installment. What the band delivered in 2018 was far superior to a would-be "Volume 2" -- we now instead have Volume 0, not a sequel but more of a companion prequel. Volume 0 is rooted in the technological present, suggesting how humanity might wend its careless way toward the ostensibly exciting but intrinsically bleak world of Volume 1.

In my Volume 1 review, I wished aloud that Ones & Zeros had been released complete rather than in halves. I was wrong. Against all odds, the separateness of these two volumes actually strengthens their unification, offering listeners the welcome option to enjoy the pair in two different but equally effective sequences. Personally I'm glad to have heard Volume 1 first: with this nonlinear trajectory I was forced to make assumptions about what would follow, only to have deeper layers peeled away as the underlying realities of Volume 0 came to light and challenged my assumptions. Throughout Volume 0 (which I would argue is the slightly stronger of the two) are plenty of moments that foreshadow the inevitable "logical conclusion" that is Volume 1. Of course, one can just as easily focus on either individual album at a time; each stands well enough alone despite containing many clever references to the other.

Yes, the uniquely versatile structure of Ones & Zeros is one of its main triumphs -- but 3RDegree knows that structure and theme alone are not enough to carry an album (or especially two). Fortunately for us, these lofty overarching ideas are held together by terrific songs. The music's primary purpose is to support the thoughtful lyrics, but the music itself is tight, melodic, and beautifully nuanced, with many of the lush vocal harmonies we've come to expect from this sextet. If the opening riff of "Re1nstall_0verture" doesn't start your blood flowing and synapses firing, please check your pulse because Valhalla Biotech may already have stripped you of your soul. And ultimately that may be the point of this whole thing: Volume 0's closer claims, somewhat ironically, that "It's always been binary code...This magic's only ones and zeros." Yet if the endlessly thrilling potential of our technology has left us feeling more disconnected than ever, it just might be time to rediscover our humanity and find our way back to ourselves.

The future DOES need you -- and it needs more great music like this to keep sentient beings awake.

 Ones & Zeros - Volume 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.13 | 243 ratings

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Ones & Zeros - Volume 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Slipperman_

4 stars After knowing the band with the previous Ones & Zeros: Vol. 1 (yes, the knot in the brain is purposeful), this was another of the albums for which I craved for, since it would be the album that closed the binary's concept.

Re1nstall_0verture, instrumental that opens the album, promises that we will embark on an amazing journey. Recovers melodic motifs presented in the previous episode and introduces new ones that will appear later. Frenethical and challenging rhythm. Connecting follows, with similar strength to the initial theme, reinforcing the good premonitions for an album full of ideas. However, it follows Olympia, the theme that jammed this album a bit. Not sure what, but it seems to reach to an anti-climax that I can not describe. Maybe it's the vocal line or the way the verses do not fit the chorus...What I know is that this song got me off the album for a couple of times. A shame.

However, The Future Doesn't Need You returns to show the band in shape. Well articulated verses and choruses, with a tonic / repetition in the title of the theme, something that works out very well, before the instrumental moments. Unintended Consequence is another highlight, this time with a feminine presence enriching the sound palette and with very good lyrics ('I'm an unintended consequence-the result of all your overconfidence You're a victim of your own success' ). Perfect Babies is that pop balm that the album has, but as with everything this band plays, nothing is as simple as it sounds. In a ternary environment, we are blessed with some interesting syncopations that elevate this seemingly simple theme to a plateau of excellence.

And finally, the last trio of this album is the best that was done in 2018 and one of the great reasons for this album to have conquered me. Logical Conclusion is brutal, not only because of the message it conveys ('Why deny what we are?'), but because of the instrumental part in the background is sublime. The reinvention of the song twice, disarms the most prepared of the listeners. Click Away! is the band saying that it can also be 'prog' when they want, traveling more than 15 minutes through an exceptional song and instrumental moments to be mesmerized. Finally, Ones & Zeros is the closing of the concept, in which what I like mostly is the vocal melody and the forms that it assumes throughout the song.

3RDegree are another band that excels at the difference in 'prog', above all by not wanting to be a band that sounds like something from the 70s. They incorporate elements of the golden decade, but they sound like the '10s. And I hope it continues for many years to come.

 Ones & Zeros - Volume 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.13 | 243 ratings

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Ones & Zeros - Volume 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by ajcmixer

5 stars So it is the end of the year and I've left the most daunting task of it to the end, afraid of tackling how to describe into words my favorite Album of the Year. But I've got less than three days as of this writing so I suppose there is no time better than the present.

Which is exactly what 3RDegree's latest offering to the Musical Gods of the Universe tackles itself, various subject matters that deal with the present while casting both a wary eye and a broad shadow over the future. A scary future. And one that I'm aligned with, for better. Or for worse.

Take for example the 5th track of what I have come to embrace is their magnum opus, Ones & Zeroes - Volume 0, entitled Logical Conclusion. Clocking in at 6:40, this is a luscious, synth-laden tour de force which probably has my overall favorite drum track of the album, this coming from former long time Drummer Aaron Nobel with George Dobbs proclaiming on "behalf" of God while dreamy keyboards are hovering over... "And so said God "Let us make man in our image to rule the air and sea over all the earth and all its creatures moving on the ground"... setting the groundwork for the chilliest song, lyrically-wise, to my ears: "Why deny what we are? On the brink of a solution - a logical conclusion. The best and brightest - all consequence be damned-along with their disciples... ". This ties it directly to One & Zeros Volume 1 released in 2015 via the song Life At Any Cost and the juxtaposition of the two albums seems to make a lot of sense when all is said and done, to my ears a stunning achievement, I being generally of the camp that "concept" albums usually fail to maintain its goal totally throughout the recorded material. But I think 3RDegree pulled it off. With Track 3, Olympia, being a prime example.

But I digress because Logical Conclusion requires a logical conclusion to its review, which starts with its main melody breakdown just short of the two minute mark and goes into a very ominous Robert James Pashman Bass line which is then matched by Dobbs on keys and Noble on drums until the 3:20 mark, where George starts to coo "True-only few can survive through the oncoming twilight. We only seek the better life we were promised. Why did they all lie? We won't be denied-this is our time..." and the iron fisting begins. This segues into the most exciting "bridge" back into the main melody of the song at the four minute mark with the guitars chiming in a beautiful, almost "Japanese" like melody, starting to point-counter pointing at the 5:10 mark and riding the wave excitement thru its "logical conclusion" at the 6:40 mark. This is heady stuff that continues to reveal itself thru tens and tens of listenings front to back since the album came out earlier in the year.

And the song that primarily sparked all those listenings was the aforementioned Olympia, which has since become my overall favorite 3RDegree song. I was not sure that was possible after 2012's brilliant The Long Division, which I totally fell in love with after 1st listening back in '12, so much so that I immediately played it a 2nd time to make sure I had heard what I thought I had heard the 1st time. I had... :) ...and started the platonic torrid love affair with the band, its members and their music.

So Olympia is about a love affair with a female artificial intelligent robotic partner. Novel idea, eh? But is it? Does it really seem that far fetched in 2018? Not to me it doesn't. And apparently not to its author:

"Olympia was her name-with a pliable polymer frame The cutting edge of design-the most promising of artificial minds A companion without a need who would follow my every lead And would always-always believe in me... "

Sounds like the perfect fairy tale, eh? Ah, but the story takes a detour while being laid out in as lush a setting as I've ever heard the band produce behind its words and the punch lines come in the most important lyrical lines of my 2018 and are sung as such:

"She figured out my deepest flaws - she wound me up like a machine She would not be my toy - I'd be her human being..."

Wham. bang, POW! The one-two lyrical upper jab to the jaw and I'm floored. As is the protagonist of the song:

"A high maintenance automaton - she's much more than an automaton Why didn't I shut her down and why is she still around? 
I guess I started to feel something toggled in my own programming And when I think about what I've done and even more about what I have not I seek forgiveness from Olympia I'm learning to understand-to share a life I finally see how I got it all wrong I'm learning to become a man - with open eyes And a man needs something more than just an automaton-much more than an automaton Olympia..."

This song highlights everything that is good and right about the band: A compelling story that unfolds from start to finish, lush instrumentation that is there to highlight and serve the story itself, beautiful lead and backing vocals that are always trying to "sell" the story and sneaky great and concise guitar playing throughout.

Those two songs were the 1st two favorites. The other seven come with their own individual charms. The opening track has become one of my all time favorite sub-four minute mark songs of all time. A clever juxtaposition of themes past (Volume 1) and present (Volume 0) works as rocker into Track 2, a brilliant satire on today's use of the internet entitled Connecting and its chorus:

"You just can't quit tonight - you are the [&*!#] tonight
..." with the satire and sarcasm positively dripping off George Dobbs' vocal delivery while Original and now Current Drummer Rob Durham keeping a steady beat throughout.

And while I'm here let me single out his efforts here as being IMHO my overall favorite vocals over an entire album. He uses his range to maximum effect, sweet at times, growling and spiteful at others. And the others, Robert James Pashman, Patrick Kliesch (also on Guitar), Bryan Ziegler (also on Guitar) and Eric Pseja (also on Guitar) present the backing vocals at the necessary heavenly levels required song to song and astonishingly also in concert, not an easy feat at the octave levels they are singing at to replicate in a live setting. No auto tuning here... :D !

Track 4, The Future Doesn't Need You, is another song that straddles the storyline between the two companion albums and one that features some fine interplay between the acoustic and electric guitar players and features the modern day dilemma:

"Unless you are living inside of my cloud I couldn't even help you if I wanted to now because The future doesn't need you at all..."

Track 5, Unintended Consequence, is a another brutal take on the future and its inevitable finger pointing:

"I'm an unintended consequence when the problem that you're facing is immense And the solution that you implement backfires badly and leads to something worse To the drawing board once more - and that's your curse..."

Track 8, Click Farm, is their "epic length" prog track, basically clocking in at double the length of any of their previously recorded output, almost 16 minutes, and it took me that long, LOL, to "get it" but once I did, wow. The song bobs and weaves through the 1st section, Positive Feedback Loop (One Click Away), with biting lyrics such as:

"I feel more alone with each friend I make Rejection is just one click away...", and continues the biting sarcasm in the 2nd section, Click Farm:

"We used to have a staff-well that's all in the past-we do it now with click bots Thank you click farm-we can optimize your visibility Thank you click farm-and soon you'll be a star..." and then totally starts to rock out in its 3rd and final section, Only Listen To This Section If You Truly Want Wealth And Security (LOLLOL!):

"We'll find out how smart you are-share it with all your friends-click here first for registration...". And the "[&*!#]" referred to in Connecting has now come to roost... :(

The 9th and final track, Ones & Zeroes, is a fine wrap up of the story of the album(s), ending with a bunch of one liners such as:

"Are you a one-are you a zero? Are you a yes or a no? Are you a sheep-are you a hero stuck in a binary code? Ones and zeros... 3:) "

In a year of fantastic Prog releases (my personal Top 3 are Ones & Zeros Volume 0, Pinnacle's To Whoever You Are Now and Steven Wilson's To The Bone) I'm thankful for the many many offerings available to us Prog fans nowadays but truly feel that Ones & Zeros earned the top spot this year with its magnificent songwriting and accompanying musicianship and if you haven't checked out this fine band or its music I would encourage you to do so. This is a progressive album that draws from many influences and delivers a sound all its own, one that continues to unfold through my ears as a fine wine improves with age... <3

Lyrics used by kind permission by its author and I suppose they should always be contacted, as I did prior to reprinting them, for the permission to reprint them, of which i was able to. By kind permission of... ;) <3

 Ones & Zeros - Volume 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.13 | 243 ratings

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Ones & Zeros - Volume 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Lunatic84

5 stars The "problem" with 3RDegree is they raise the bar-on themselves(!)-from album to album so much so that you think they've done the best they could with a release and it hits you the right way and you rate it highly. But then a few years pass and they cast a shadow on that album you loved with another one that is a notch more mature and accomplished. With most bands starting off strong and then petering our over time with crowds clamoring for "the old stuff", 3RDegree are in very much the opposite position. I think you either get these guys or you don't. Maybe some will straddle the fence but not many.

So the album I'm talking about is Ones & Zeros Volume 0 and it's a very pleasing hour plus long ride that's somehow all things thought provoking, melodic, complex and memorable. Somehow it's aurally timeless yet lyrically very much in the present-possibly a bit ahead of it!

 Ones & Zeros - Volume 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.13 | 243 ratings

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Ones & Zeros - Volume 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Buddahfurious15

5 stars I'm a bit late to the party here but finally got the other half of 3RDegree's Ones & Zeros 2 part conceptual work. Vol. 0 is different than Vol. 1 overall but you can probably jumble up the tunes in another way (like Big Big Train's Full Power) and be none the wiser. Just checked out my Vol. 1 review and I'd say all that I marveled over with that release holds true here and then some. Continued is the thing the band does that few other bands do where the DNA of the music is thoroughly 'prog' but the songcraft rules the day. The other thing is how economically sound the band is where this album almost reaches a full hour and you're not tired nor are you fed any filler. Even if you might not think one track is as great as another you notice it serves a purpose and makes the album better. Not sure if I attribute that to the array of writers or the different lyrical subjects presented. While the songs sort of dip into each other it's not full of the sound effects present on Vol. 1 so it might come off as a bit less 'thought out' but with the band themselves calling it a prequel it kind of lets them off the hook in a way. I wonder how they had this all worked out when they completed the last album. How did they make the songs on this new album to all predate those they finished first? No matter, but it seems a master stroke even if they lucked out! Sonically this album seems a bit retro primarily in its use of warm analog synths throughout. Beyond that it just feels like more good music about head scratching issues on the horizon. While this broad concept of futurism has been good for the band and has definitely got them good press, somehow I look forward even more to see where they go next and that's a good thing.
 Ones & Zeros - Volume 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.13 | 243 ratings

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Ones & Zeros - Volume 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

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

5 stars Never a band to do the obvious, 3rdegree followed up "Ones & Zeroes - Volume 1" a futuristic tale of the digitization of a human mind that ends badly with "Ones & Zeroes - Volume 0", a futuristic tale of a man who purchases a human companion that ends badly.

Despite my tongue in cheek description of these album, I happen to love them both. 3rdegree have continued to produced albums of clever art rock, or crossover prog as we call it here at PA, fronted by exceptional vocals using lush harmonies and some deep intelligent lyrics.

The album as a whole brings me back to the days of 10cc and Supertramp, two other bands that excelled at playing catchy, compelling and thought provoking music for the discerning listener.

I find that this album draws me in even more than the previous album, and has become a staple in my car stereo this hot summer.

I'm especially hooked on the three middle tracks, "The Future Doesn't Need You", "Unintended Consequence" and "Perfect Babies". And of course the 15 minute epic "Click Away!" is a joy.

I'm not sure yet is this album has replaced "Human Interest Story" as my favorite 3rdegree album, but it's close.

 Ones & Zeros - Volume 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.13 | 243 ratings

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Ones & Zeros - Volume 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by RaelWV

4 stars At the end of my review of 3rDegree's Ones and Zeroes: Volume 1, I wrote: "It's a mess of awfully good music wrapped around an interesting idea. And the best thing? It's only the first part!"

Now that I've gotten familiar with the band's follow up, I'm not so sure about that anymore.

The "first part" bit, I mean. The enthusiasm was completely warranted. But where does Volume 0 fit in to the chronology? It came second, after all, but it's hardly a sequel. So it is a prequel? Not really. Is it better to listen to them in order of release or numerical order? I'm going to go out on a limb and say it doesn't really matter, for a very unexpected reason ? Volume 0 doesn't really have anything to do with Volume 1. Conceptually, at least.

Hear me out.

Volume 1 tells, essentially, a single story about the impact of a fictional (gods, I hope) megacorp, Valhalla Biotech, that peddles various "life extension" technology. There was a through line running from stem to stern of the album, summed up by refrain "tell me what it means to be human." This was helped along by the sometimes chilling asides from various Valhalla products and spokespersons.

Volume 0, by contrasts, covers a lot of different ground. "Olympia" deals with artificial beings who aren't content to be submissive. "Perfect Babies" channels Brave New World and Gattaca and their (timely and relevant) fears of designer offspring. The epic "Click Away!" dives into the echo chamber of the Internet. Unlike Volume 1, there's no connective tissue pulling these all together (the Valhalla announcements are absent, for example).

To put it another way, Volume 1 is a Black Mirror episode; Volume 0 is an entire season.

This isn't a bad thing. Indeed, it's probably a good idea not to just do a copy of Volume 1, since it's hard to bottle lightning twice. Still, aside from the opening overture and a few riffs in the closing "Ones and Zeroes" there isn't really a link between to the two albums. They're separate things that stand on their own merits.

And Volume 0 has plenty of merits. Lyrically, the best tracks ("Olympia" and "Logical Conclusion," in particular) create perfect little worlds, short stories of immediate impact and thougtfulness. The rest throw out interesting ideas and slip in some zingers for good measure (has a meaner chorus ever been sung other than "the future doesn't need you at all?").

Musically, 3rDegree continue to refine a sound that doesn't really resemble anybody else. Bassist Robert James Pashman once told me that 3rDegree was (I'm seriously paraphrasing) "too straight forward for the prog crowd, but too weird for the mainstream." That's still true, although they've been embraced by the prog world in the past few years (and produced an epic in return!). But they're at their best when the hooks and melodies come to the fore, to be supported by some interesting backing stuff and arrangements. That's all backed up by playing that's intricate and muscular, but rarely flashy. It takes a few listens to really get at what's going on, which is always a good sign. I particularly dig that there's lots of bass synth on this album.

One of the reasons I had to keep giving Volume 0 listens is because I had a hard time thinking about what to say about it. Here's the thing ? with each album since they got back together, 3rDegree have been stepping up their game in big ways. Volume 0, though, doesn't feel like a big step forward. It feels like a consolidation, a restatement of what they're about. That's not in any way a bad thing.

What I'm saying is that Volume 0 is a great album. It's musically and lyrically rich, filled with catchy tunes and great playing. But that's what we've come to expect from 3rDegree at this point, right? They're a band in top form and cranking out another excellent offering just isn't a surprise at this point. So why don't you have your copy yet?

 Ones & Zeros - Volume 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.13 | 243 ratings

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Ones & Zeros - Volume 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Robert pointed out to me that I would be one of the few reviewers coming to the second album immediately after hearing the first, so what would I think of the two albums working together? The albums are designed to be viewed as a pair, from the artwork and layout through the music and ideas. While I smiled when I noticed that this was called 'Volume 0', part of me would rather it had been called 'Volume 10', which of course is 2 expressed in binary code, but that really is nit-picking (yes, I'm a geek ' been working in I.T. for more than 20 years, but it's not my fault).

Lyrically it is the perfect follow-on from the debut, so much so that it feels that it could become part of a permanent loop, so much so that the question becomes 'which came first, 1 or 0?'. Musically it does feel very much of a second half of a piece of work, possibly slightly more acoustic? The musical themes and styling of the debut are carried into this, with the same influences very much in play, so much so that one actually finds it quite hard to realise that there was break between the recording of the two albums as opposed to being recorded at the same time. And if anyone doubts the City Boy analogy just listen to George at 5:20 on 'The Future Doesn't Need You' and see what I mean.

It is also definitely worth mentioning that all the lyrics are in the pack, apart from one, and the only way to get that is to go the Valhalla Biotech site. Once there the lyrics can be seen, but also there are various links, for example '5 Things That You Need To Know' (which takes you to a blog about becoming more involved in the local music scene) or 'Become A Shareholder' (which of course takes you to their store). As I write this, I see that the album is #2 on the PA charts (interestingly I gave maximum scores to #1, #3 and #5 ' haven't heard #4). It is a totally different album to the latest by Roz Vitalis, the current incumbent of the top slot: that is very much a progressive album, from the RIO scene, while this is progressive pop that is fully Crossover. In terms of sheer pleasure and repeated playing this wins hands down, as it just makes me smile each and everytime I play it. And isn't that something that music should be about? The two 'Ones & Zeros' albums perfect complement each other, and all that can be done is buy both and listen to them back to back.

 Ones & Zeros - Volume 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.11 | 362 ratings

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Ones & Zeros - Volume 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars When I first came across 3rDegree some years ago, I said that they reminded me a great deal of the long-lost City Boy, and it was interesting to hear how much of an impact they had had on the band. However, Robert James Pashman (bass, keyboards, backing vocals ? and who is also responsible for getting me drinking Trappist-style beers) later informed me that none of them had heard of the band, and it was only after reading reviews mentioning them as an influence that they sought them out! Having given maximum marks to their previous three albums (I've only noticed that although I have their 1993 debut I've never reviewed it, must amend that at some point), I was looking forward to hearing this 2015 release. But, it arrived while I was working on my book, so ended up in the never-ending backlog. However, with the arrival in 2018 of the second part of the concept, it allows me to review them back to back (and thankfully the guys have been very understanding).

What we have here is a science fiction concept album, set in the fairly near future, where it is possible to live forever, or be enhanced in some ways. It is the mix between the human and the machine, the analogue and the digital, that makes the story what it is. Although all the lyrics are contained in the digipak, it is easy to understand the storyline without them due to the wonderfully clear vocals of singer George Dobbs, and the fact that they allow the story to tell itself. No need for complex analogies, let's get to it: my only complaint is that I found it quite distracting while driving, as I would rather listen to what was going on instead of paying attention to the road. We may not have many drivers down here, but our roads aren't exactly straight and wide.

Musically we are firmly back in the realms of City Boy, with an additional UK band that may surprise many, 10 CC. It took me ages to work out what the harmonies and key changes reminded me of, and then I realised it was like listening to parts of 'Deceptive Bends'. Added to this surreal pop/rock/prog mix they have added plenty of Utopia for good measure, and come up with something that is instantly 3rDegree, instantly accessible, and guaranteed to make the listener sit there with a massive smile on their face. The one song I found most interesting was "We Regret To Inform You", which includes the robotic voice of Valhalla Biotech explaining that there has been a slight issue with the recent procedure on the protagonist's father. I can't say any more than that without giving away the plot, but coming from an IT background this song really did appeal to my inner geek, and it works incredibly well. Add to that some beautifully phased and treated rock guitar and it is a total delight.

3rDegree probably isn't a name that too many people recognise from the progressive scene, but as I write this, this album is rated as being #6 on the charts for 2015 releases on ProgArchives. Looking at what is above it, all I can say is that it is in the wrong position, as it should be #1. Absolutely essential, crossover progressive rock doesn't get any better than this.

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

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