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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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Buy 3RDEGREE Music


The Long DivisionThe Long Division
CD Baby 2012
$11.33
$7.97 (used)
Ones & Zeroes: Vol. 1Ones & Zeroes: Vol. 1
10T Records 2015
$10.25
$37.27 (used)
Human Interest Story (Remastered)Human Interest Story (Remastered)
CD Baby 2017
$13.47
The Long Division by 3rdegree (2013-05-04)The Long Division by 3rdegree (2013-05-04)
CD Baby
$33.80
Narrow-Caster by 3rdegree (2008-11-11)Narrow-Caster by 3rdegree (2008-11-11)
CD Baby
$50.39
Hunters Unite (feat. Fluid) - SingleHunters Unite (feat. Fluid) - Single
Starfury Films 2011
$8.98
Narrow-CasterNarrow-Caster
CD Baby 2008
$11.34
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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 | 15 ratings
The World In Which We Live
1993
3.51 | 30 ratings
Human Interest Story
1996
3.69 | 67 ratings
Narrow-Caster
2008
4.03 | 212 ratings
The Long Division
2012
4.11 | 326 ratings
Ones & Zeros - Volume 1
2015
4.22 | 32 ratings
Ones & Zeros: vol. 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
5.00 | 3 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

3RDEGREE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ones & Zeros: vol. 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.22 | 32 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by javajeff

5 stars Ones & Zeros: vol. 0 is another stellar album from 3RDegree and the only problem with it is that if follows the masterpiece Ones & Zeros: vol. 1. Perhaps it is a prequel in the timeline, but I have had no problems listening to either one independently. The band has really progressed since the earlier stuff, and maybe it was the concept shell that was needed to provide some direction and creativity all along. Vol. 0 has some very memorable melodies much like vol. 1, and I really enjoyed the more pronounced female vocals adding more layers to the complexity of it. The musicianship is excellent, and like vol. 1, vol. 0 is meant to be enjoyed as a straight through listen. Anyone that loves progressive rock would be right at home with the new release as it is an excellent addition to the genre. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.
 Ones & Zeros: vol. 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.22 | 32 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by thesmokingman

5 stars I read somewhere that the journey is always more interesting than the actual destination, and that's what we're getting with 3rDegree's latest release of Ones & Zeros Vol. 0. This album is a dynamic, thought-provoking companion to the previous release of Volume 1.

The opening overture jumps out of the speakers with startling urgency - a stark contrast to the spacey, teasing start to the previous album - and possibly a sonic embodiment of this album's frenetic setting. Callbacks to the prior album's songs and foreshadowing of songs yet to come are peppered throughout this opening sequence (and the entire album as well) in very slick ways that don't feel recycled, but help serve as connective tissue for the overarching concept. On this album, we're treated to vignettes of a pretty bleak world increasingly dependent on ethically questionable technology, both available and in development. Regardless of how that tech is applied, however, every instance seems to come with an inescapable shot of despair attached, eventually leading us to the more patently Transhumanist (and just as morally challenging) themes covered in Volume 1. As with its predecessor, this album will also have you thinking Jack Handey caliber deep thoughts - cynical, if not obvious, but with a wry smile and a spattering of dark humor.

Musically, this album has something for everyone. It's got grungy grit, earworm hooks, classic prog pomp, power pop chops, yacht rock smoothness, and of course - vocal harmonies and lyrical witticism for days. Plus, I would be remiss if I didn't give a nod to the 15 minute epic monster which contains one of the most beautifully executed non-derivative Beatlesque moments in art rock I've heard in a long time. On top of this, the production value on this album is really solid. Everything has been mixed into a deliberate space, and the drums have a really immersive live feel.

My only criticisms of this album are largely subjective. There are passages where I feel the melodic guitars could have been brought more to the fore, and there are also a few moments of sonic disparity from song to song which seemed to throw the flow off a bit, but neither of these two issues were disconcerting enough to warrant demerits. As with many other bands I enjoy, different combinations of songwriters produce different results, which to me is more of an asset than a detriment, broadening the musical palette and allowing creative diversity to bloom.

Taken alone, this album is at least a solid 4-star effort. Taken as a companion piece to Volume 1, it becomes much more. That creative vision in itself pushes the "Ones and Zeros" Duology to solid 5-star territory - an essential two-part listen for those interested in the present and future of American crossover art rock.

 Ones & Zeros: vol. 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.22 | 32 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by mitarai_panda

4 stars 3RDegree is a cross former rock band from New Jersey, United States. Founded in 1990, California guitarist Patrick Kliesch and George Dobbs of New Jersey hit it off, recruiting several other members to form a group. Their ideas and ideas for the album It was joined together via the Internet. Soon they met and set up a band. Their creative motives are: to create interesting and engaging music, and to create a sophisticated and intelligent avant-garde rock with a mix of approachable melodies. They released the album for the first time in 1993. Afterwards, they experienced many personnel changes, but they continued to publish five series. The 2012 "The Long Division" was their first peak. At that time, they were in the US election. They used political topics. This album was produced for the theme and is hot (if in China...). Then, in 2015, the band released an album "Ones & Zeros - Volume 1" which is a more contemporary theme. This is their first complete concept album and the first part of the "Ones & Zeros" series. This series, as its name suggests, explores the impact of science and technology on people. The band said that since the 1970s, Ray Kurzweil (currently serving as Google's technical director. Kurzweil has been treated as an area of ​​artificial intelligence, robotics, deep learning, etc. The Wizards and others have been discussing futurism and transhumanism, but until now we have seen it affect our daily lives." And the album is centered around this, trying to quickly develop technology and its relevance Discuss issues and ethical dilemmas, and release unique insights. However, I personally did not take the first part of 2015 very seriously (although many music critics praised this one), because it is relatively weak in terms of music. Too many lyrics and singing parts weaken the musicality. The genre is more modern and even somewhat hip-hoped (of course, you can also say it is jazzed), and I can't accept it. And after a lapse of three years, they finally brought the second part of the series to the end of "Ones & Zeros: vol. 0". In my opinion, this is a better album. In terms of theme, it seems to express that in the face of the future of high-tech digital life, especially superhumanization (the album fictionalized a biotechnology company called Valhalla, they developed a technology that extends lifespan, turns people into superhumans, and declares The human body is only a hotel of mind, consciousness, and spirit. In other words, people have become unclear to the machine, and people must rely on technology for evolution. There are some melancholy plots behind the album, such as the failure of genetic technology that causes people to die. The gap is getting bigger and bigger, and technology companies are playing the role of "improving humanity" in controlling every aspect of our existence, etc.) Simultaneous fear and acceptance, positive and negative coexist, these are all aspects of our future, with technology Increasing intrusion into our lives is becoming commonplace. Before the band released a trial song "Logical Conclusion". It seems to me that it is an attempt to change and evolve. The band does not use a lot of vocals and singing, but strengthens instrumental music and melody. People can enter the atmosphere better without looking at the lyrics. The same is true of the entire album. A large number of excellent instrumental performances deepened the theme through lyricism. The guitar solo in the 15-minute epic Click Away! is impressive, while the fashionable bass line bass is even more intoxicating! 3RDegree finally produced a great piece of avant-garde rock that should be made. And the last summing song "Ones & Zeros" is not too much to achieve, to achieve a wonderful fusion of singing and music, the final summary is in place: "It's always been binary code It's all we've ever known We fall on a continuumIt's natural because that's part of who we are It's always been binary code For now and all tomorrows from alpha to omega It's natural because that's always how we thought This magic's only ones and zeros." In my opinion, 3RDegree is a cross-shaking rock band with a growing symphony, and of course retains their modern musical style. For "Ones & Zeros: vol. 0", it goes beyond the top and becomes one of the best album candidates this year! A four-and-a-half-star rating, so I have time to translate the lyrics, because I personally are very interested in transhumanism.
 Ones & Zeros: vol. 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.22 | 32 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Greg Jones

5 stars In 2015 the always adventurous 3rDegree released what I assume will be their artistic peak. A completely fresh and uncategorizable concept album called Ones And Zeroes Pt 1, it sounded different every time I played it and still does. Working within the limits of niche band economics, they achieved this unimaginable height purely on the strength of their compositional ideas. And the accolades poured in. Since this is a band who have been consistently topping themselves and surprising their fans since their comeback album 'narrow-caster', Ones And Zeroes Pt 1 was akin to a Dark Side Of The Moon to these ears, certainly in scope even if not in sonic lushness.

I was all set, then, for them to finally have a break in the winning streak. I mean, no one can keep leaping over expectations forever, right? I even told a few of the band members I'd be thrilled if they made a new record that was merely good. And when I was blessed with an advance copy of the follow up, Ones And Zeroes Part 0, I grinned and told myself as the rocking opener kicked in, 'that's better than good!'

I had no idea how much better. The first 3 or 4 listens I really liked it, feeling that they'd kept a bit of the unexpected from Part 1 and blended that with their penchant for hooks-less-travelled that made their earlier albums embed themselves so deeply into my heart. It seemed they had come up with a new gem worthy of their prior releases.

But this morning, not fully awake, I put on my trusty Grado headphones and decided to give it a slice of quiet zone-in time. And I entered an inter-dimensional anomaly of the unknown. If Part 1 depicted a freakish new world, Part 0 shows us in horrible detail how we'll get there by our own device-clutching hands. Indicting present day mankind with a mirror so clear you'll want to run, the message is matched by music that is miraculously timeless, somehow familiar but not. If people were spontaneously exploding and no one knew why, this album would be like a Unabomber manifesto where the only bombs are truth and we'd all be singing along, awaiting the inevitable.

Individual song comments won't help describe this for you; you really need to experience it as a whole. Lyrically 'Connecting' is arrow- splitting in it's accuracy. And 'Click Away!' Is a most unique 15 minute prog epic. But they're both part of a monster of an album that will give you an individual ride by touching your innermost thoughts and fears. Is it better than Part 1? Impossible to say. But to these jaded ears it's as important to our time as The Who's Quadrophenia and Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime were to theirs. The only criticism I can possibly make is that I wish there was a section of menacing overdriven electric guitar to drive home the scary way this shoe fits. But the world we're heading for has digitized those guitars down to ones and zeroes, just like it seeks to do to all human experience. This album? Chilling. Essential. Run!

 Ones & Zeros: vol. 0 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.22 | 32 ratings

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Ones & Zeros: vol. 0
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars New Jersey's gift to intellectually stimulating eclectic and crossover prog is back with the follow-up (or predecessor?!) to 2015's wonderful Ones & Zeroes, Vol. 1.

1. "ReInstall_Overture" (3:57) fast, brash, and poppy, this one let's me know that we're in for a more rock operetta- like adventure here. I'm reminded here of XTC or some of the poppier KING CRIMSON or ASIA music from the 1980s. It's very nice, but not great. (8.75/10)

2. "Connecting" (4:53) bleeds over from the opening overture, quickly adding singing to the mix. There's a cool intensity to this one while the vocals are going on, but then it gets weird between. "You are the [&*!#] tonight" is an odd lyric to throw in there before going back to stronger intensity. The intricate weave is pretty cool in the next section. This is almost feeling like a visual song, a vehicle for a story to be told on stage. (9/10)

3. "Olympia" (5:15) again bleeding over from the previous song, I like the flow of this section of the album. Great melody line for the first verse followed by a nice little instrumental and decent call-and-response chorus. The story is again feeling as if it's being delivered (or should be delivered) on a stage. And a good story it is with Olympia being some kind of AI servant/slave (who goes off like the OS in the film Her). (9/10)

4. "The Future Doesn't Need You" (5:50) continues the story in a much more delicate, emotional way, with the album's best music, best melodies and powerful lyric. (10/10)

5. "Unintended Consequence" (3:35) Broadway, anyone? (8/10)

6. "Perfect Babies" (4:43) Despite continuing the clever tongue-in-cheek story, despite getting stronger as the song goes along, this one just misses. (7.5/10)

7. "Logical Conclusion" (6:40) despite two awesome instrumental sections (from the end of the second minute to 3:18, and 3:55 to 5:15) and a great choral section near the end, this song fails to "hook" me with any melodic or lyrical lines. (8.5/10)

8. "Click Away!" (15:28) an epic that opens with a sound very familiar to those who have luxuriated in the sonic magic of THE FLAMING LIPS' 2002 masterpiece, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. The lyrics (referring to modern humankind's obsession with quick-access information and entertainment) are great but the melody and song dynamics fall a little flat. Despite several shifts and nice injections from chords, riffs, arpeggi, and interesting instruments/sounds, the song never really rises to a level deserving of superlatives. Great sound and melody in the chorus at 3:50. As a matter of fact, it's the "Thank you Click Farm" choruses throughout that are the most engaging highlights of the song. (8/10)

9. "Ones & Zeroes" (7:07) reminding me of a lot of some music by the CARS, this one gets into my brain enough to bring me back for more. For the finale of the story line, I'm not quite sure what the point has been: "It's always been binary code," means ... what exactly? (8.5/10)

I think the failing of this album is in the band's decision to try to be cleverer and quirkier than they needed to be-- especially with vocal melody lines; just too busy! The best song has the most stable and simple melodies.

Four stars; an excellent addition to the prog lexicon--especially to the necessary conversations regarding the values and priorities of "civilized" society. Too bad the album doesn't maintain the high and engaging standard that is sets forth with the first four songs.

 Ones & Zeros - Volume 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.11 | 326 ratings

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Ones & Zeros - Volume 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars 3rdegree's follow-up to the 2012 album The Long Division, is Ones + Zeros volume one. This concept album centres around the concept of transhumanism where ageing is no longer a disease at the Valhalla biotech. One can imagine the type of music that can be experienced on such a conceptual album, but it constantly draws the listener in with a powerful storyline that borders on reality but is set in the not too distant future. There are some incredible moments on this such as the tracks "we regret to inform you", "circuit court", "life", "the best and brightest" and "more life". The high strangeness can be likened to Frank Zappa meets Caravan as occasionally the weirdness really overshadows the music. Throughout there are some sensational keyboard workouts from George Dobbs also adept on lead vocals. Bryan Zeigler and Patrick Kliesch are sensational on electric and acoustic guitars, and there are some moments of retro synth programming. The music is upbeat in tempo and occasionally enhanced by sound affects and dialogue that punctuate a very strong storyline. By the end of the album the listener knows they have experienced something produced with passion and with a lot of soul put into it. 3rdegree are an adventurous band and their music is compelling and quirky. This is definitely an album worth listening to and is jam packed with innovative music and surprises. Discover it for yourselves and enjoy the 3rdegree experience.
 Narrow-Caster by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.69 | 67 ratings

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Narrow-Caster
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After a ten-year hiatus, 3rdegree regrouped and launched a new album back in 2008. The music was a logical conclusion to their 1996 album, "Human Interest Story", maintaining the band's sound and yet moving ahead.

My perception of 3rdegree's musical style is that they are at first an alternative band with progressive elements in their music. In some ways, I think they sound like a cross between the heavy alternative band I Mother Earth (but without the Latino percussive exercises) and Echolyn. I also perceive some Barenaked Ladies in the intellectual lyric writing but with a venomous cynicism that has a sting. There might also be some older Spock's Beard (the non-symphonic stuff) as well as, well, whatever you care to hear in the music.

"Narrow Caster" is comprised of 10 songs, most of which hover around the five-minute mark. This is clearly a song- oriented album with only "Young Once" going off on an atmospheric instrumental section and then morphing into what sounds like the next track starting but actually only delivers a new twist to the song. The rest of the songs feature some clever music but no long instrumental workouts. Like Rush did in the 80's, 3rdegree work like an experienced prog band trying to apply their progressive skills to shorter, songs that, if not pop radio, might at least stand a chance of getting on college radio somewhere. There are enough alternative rock-like guitar parts but also hints of jazz influences. Three tracks feature a raw and buzzing, heavy guitar with "Free for All" being the heaviest in nature but the album opener "Apophenia" having the better bite and groove. This song remains my favourite from the album and one of my favourite 3rdegree songs.

I quite enjoy the band's creativity in lyric writing and music composition. I think of them as an acerbic alternative band with prog leanings here on this album. But at the same time I miss some of the acoustic parts that were on the previous album, "Human Interest Story" and 3rdegree haven't developed their sound as well as we hear on 2015's "Ones & Zeroes". It's a good album by a band that were on their way to start becoming that band that you just gotta have.

 Human Interest Story by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.51 | 30 ratings

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Human Interest Story
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Early in the year, I checked out the Top 100 albums of 2015 and picked out a few to order. One album was "Ones & Zeros" by 3rdegree, a not-so-far-into-the-futuristic story about life extension and what life and being human means. Great album! I posted a review and soon after, I was contacted on Facebook by bass/vocals/keyboards Robert James Pashman. We exchanged messages about the album and other 3rdegree albums, and Robert mentioned that in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the second album "Human Interest Story", the 2013 reissue was available for 20% off in April. After a bit of discussion, I decided to order the album plus the next two that led up to "Ones & Zeros".

"Human Interest Story" is the sophomore effort by the band and it is the album where the line-up became complete with the addition of George Dobbs who took over lead vocal duties. Though I do not know how the band sounded on their debut, Dobbs has a sound to his voice that really suits the style of the music, a bit alternative with a sardonic edge that is used to good effect when required. As many of the lyrics deal with social observations (check out the title track which is about trashy talk shows), Dobbs' cynicism and irony fit the subject matter.

Listening to this album and the others, one of my first impressions was that 3rdegree are similar to Echolyn as they sounded on their "As the World" album of around the same period. But while "As the World" struck me as a very busy album, "Human Interest Story" is geared back a bit, more towards the song and yet still smoothly riding the progressive wave with some very sweet prog approaches to the composition. Actually, the electric guitar is often heavy and could sound a bit metal at times though I find it leans more towards alternative, particularly a band like I Mother Earth (only because I've been listening to them recently). With the acoustic moments of piano and guitar placed cleverly between songs of more bombastic material, I had the impression of a cynical and angry Barenaked Ladies-go-alt-rock in a tempered Echolyn progressive way. Add to that some keyboard moments that are reminiscent of late seventies pop prog like Saga or Supertramp and there's a lot to appreciate in the music here.

Regarding to 2013 reissue, I see that it is 3 songs shorter than the original 1996 release, and on the album I received, the final track is called "Done It Again" and is about an imperious employer. I can enjoy listening to the whole album, but I will point out three tracks that stand out for their own particular reasons. "Black Orchid" is a beautiful acoustic guitar instrumental with flute-like keyboards harkening back to some of the great acoustic instrumentals of the early seventies. "Locked Inside" includes a guest female vocalist (sorry I can't find her name right now), and "Misfortune on Main Street" is an 11-minute mini-epic that plays out very well.

It's tempting to give the album a 4-star rating but I find at times the vocals and backing vocals haven't yet managed to achieve that wonderful sound that they have on later albums. Also, the guitar does tend to stay on the heavy side giving the band a youthful and vigorous sound that is a little rough-edged but not usually associated with progressive rock. They will develop their music more maturely on their future albums, which to my taste are worthy of greater praise.

If you are into the band, this is an album worth having. If you are just getting into them, I would recommend working back by getting a couple of the more recent releases first. Still, an album with a lot of terrific music and song-writing!

 Ones & Zeros - Volume 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.11 | 326 ratings

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Ones & Zeros - Volume 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Ones & Zeros is a futuristic concept album by 3Rdegree. It's about a company named Valhalla Biotech and its development of a life extension process. The process isn't exactly clear as one point mentions that there's "an elixir station near you".

"There's no reason to delay a once inevitable expiration date."

Later on, a computer voice announces that the client might feel something akin to sleep, which is a result of the process where layers of the old brain are peeled, 3 dimensionally scanned, and then discarded.

The first song (but not first track), "The Gravity" mentions the Singularity concept, which as I understand it is when humans and technology integrate to make us first enhanced and ultimately transhuman. The song states that our bodies are just hotels for the mind. There's a math joke in there too: my thoughts are all just ones and zeros and I'm already primed.

Arguments against such a possible future are addressed in "This is the Future": "Every gadget's an extension of my motives and my ego and now that I have totally invested I'd be a fool to not upgrade." The person in the lyrics says that his credit card is built into his brain. Many today might scoff at the notion of giving up at least a portion of our biological selves to computers and machines; however, some say the Singularity is already here as we are already thoroughly dependent upon gadgets both internal and external. It's easy for us to progress to the point where we become entirely dependent on technology because we have been heading that way for a long time.

The music is a wonderful mix of progressive pop, progressive rock, and a great use of vocal arrangements plus some light jazzy bits. This is my first 3Rdegree album and the easiest comparison I can make is to Moon Safari. Though 3Rdegree have been around for quite some time (first album 1993 but I believe they disbanded and reformed around 2008), I only just found out about them while looking at the PA Top 100 Albums of 2015.

The story develops toward the darker side. In "Life at Any Cost", we hear a report about 139-year-old Roland Everlong, a leading proponent of Valhalla Biotech's life extension program, witnessing his son's death by old age. In "We Regret to Inform You" the cold non-human side manifests itself as the client receives a courtesy call from Valhalla Biotech, stating in an unsympathetic computerized voice, "Your economy level family sentience transferral process has crashed due to anomalous delta wave activity. At this point we regret to inform you that your father has been fragmented." The poor father's defragmentation process encounters a polymorphic virus and he's put into stasis quarantine. Finally, a third call announces, "Your scheduled sentience transfer was unsuccessful. Your father slipped his allocation matrix. We regret to inform you that your father has been deleted." The track concludes with the wonderfully ironic corporate catch phrase, "Valhalla Biotech and You: A Singular Relationship".

As you can probably gather from my review so far, the story has caught my imagination, especially since a few years ago I read a book by Ray Kurzweil called " The Singularity is Near". But the music is also terrific with a good variety. I'll admit that I probably wouldn't have been hooked on the music alone after a cursory listen. But now having listened to the album a few times, I can appreciate the music as much as the story and the concerns for the future presented in the lyrics and story.

 Ones & Zeros - Volume 1 by 3RDEGREE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.11 | 326 ratings

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Ones & Zeros - Volume 1
3RDegree Crossover Prog

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars I missed the live gig of 3RDegree at 't Blok in The Netherlands earlier this year, unfortunately. Would have loved to finally meet Robert James Pashman, who contacted me at ProgArchives in March 2008, asking if his band qualified for inclusion in the site. At the time, the band just released Narrow-Caster, their third album, and the first one since 1995 at the time. Since then, they released two more - The Long Division, which I missed at the time (2012) and this years Ones & Zeros: Vol. I, which is the subject of this review.

First thing I noticed when listening to this album, and refreshing my memories of the initial contact with Robert, is that the common musical interests we had at the time (Rush and Marillion for example) are not the main influence in their music. Instead, many elements from progressive rock since the early 70s till today can be heard on this album, in an original mix defined by 3RDegree. I'll leave it up to the listener to make up his mind about what comes from where. I myself spotted hints of Gabriel era Genesis (wonderful keyboard work on Circuit Court and More Life), as well as bits of Rush (the bass is not at all a copy of Geddy, but has the same impact on the music), vocal arrangements akin to those of Echolyn (and and one track (Life) that has a hint of 70s singer/songwriter material, not unlike the older works of one David Bowie.

The album, by means of advertisements in between the songs, and the very appealing voice of George Dobbs, tells the story of Valhalla Biotech, a company that promises people the way to a longer life by means of technology - the way to 'a longer you, a better you', in the not too distant future. People get biometric clothing, digital glasses, possibly even implants - and if they can't pay their regular fees, these things will be disabled for a certain amount of time (presumably until payment is made). Throughout the album, the flaws of this system, and real failure leading to death of people become apparent. With the digital, bio and gen technology developments of recent years, and the money hunger of modern multi nationals in mind, not a very far fetched scenario. A scenario that 3RDegree manages to capture in lyrics as well as music. The gloom of this future is expressed in the music, that is sometimes uplifting (reflecting Valhalla's commercial voice), to gloomy (The Best and Brightest, about the rat race between countries and companies), and culminating in the right out frightening We Regret to Inform You, which' ever darker and mostly instrumental sections are interleaved by ever more worrying computer voice messages about the status of someone's father in treatment. The closing message leaves the listener with goose bumps: 'We regret to inform you, your father has been.. deleted'.

In summary - I love the (scary) story line, the bass and drums, the keyboards (with three keyboard players on board they'd better be good), the guitar leads and the vocal arrangements. Not much to dislike there, unless you are not into (progressive) rock at all, or if you don't like occasional folk like acoustic guitar and vocal arrangements. Highly recommended.

Also published on my blog angelosrockorphanage.com

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

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