Fireworks

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3RDegree - 'Ones & Zeros Vol. 0' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/44/96/29/3rdegree-ones-and-zeros-vol-0-24-1543777274.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 02, 2018    
 
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It's quite an undertaking and one that takes a while to unravel. But if ever the effort was worth it, it's right here.

Since their 2008 return, American melodic Progressive outfit 3RDegree have managed to build up a serious head of steam. 'Narrow Castor', their first album in some twelve years, proved they were still sharp of wit, cutting with their observations and remarkably engaging with their music. 'The Long Division' confirmed it was no one-off, while 'Ones & Zeros Volume 1' landed with such force in 2015 that most observers declared it the best 3RDegree yet.

Three years down the line and 'Volume 1' of 'Ones & Zeros', rather oddly, is followed by 'Vol. 0'. The theme of 'Vol 1' was how technology will begin to integrate with our bodies; upgrades and implants the order of the day, as the line between organic and machine blurs to oblivion. Here the question seems to be, "Do we know who we are, or even, what we are? Are we so reliant on technology that it has replaced relationships and personal contact?"

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Musically things are bright, bold, brash, intricate and crafted. The moods moving from buoyant Prog with melody at its heart to supremely technical workouts. Right off the bat 'Re1nstall_Overture' slaps you about the chops; sharp, jagged, but playful riffs stutter stopping their way into being, before snare drum takes up the call. The more plaintive 'Connecting' introduces the engagingly honest vocal tones of George Dobbs as he begins to regale us with his "future now" tale. 'Olympia' is maybe most bullish in its willingness to remind of Yes, although its breakdown into clicks, clacks and tick-tocks raises a smile mid-song.

However, as we 'Click Away!' it becomes clear that the whole album has been building towards this fifteen minute amalgam of everything that makes 3RDegree the joyously mighty force they have become. Guitars thrash and soothe, bass boldly booms, and drums pitter patter and clatter and pop. With the vocals weaving their magic in layered ladles of backing voice, and leading from the front, it's quite an undertaking and one that takes a while to unravel. But if ever the effort was worth it, it's right here.

Is 'Vol.0' better than 'Volume 1'? That's a hard question to answer. So maybe best you just buy both and listen to them back to back – no matter which is meant to come first!

Steven Reid

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