Release date: October 11, 2011
Woodstock, New York progressive rock/metal quartet, 3 return with its sixth studio effort, the band’s fourth for Metal Blade Records. As one has come to expect from this eclectic band, the sound vibes from ethereal and epic moments or progressive genius, to power pop and melodic metal moments. As always the band shows no fear in genre jumping, and keeping its music inclusive of any element which best suit the songs. With The Ghost You Gave To Me, 3 has once again created a highly enjoyable sonic romp through the progressive forest (if you will).
After the haunting acoustic intro, “Serenum Scropuli” the band jumps into the highly infectious rocker, “React”. The first thing those not familiar with the band will be struck by are the layers of engaging vocal melody. All of which starts with vocalist Joey Eppard, whose voice blooms and shines throughout.
In fact, Eppard is the band’s secret weapon, with his vocal variances bouncing about from track to track. Every passage resonating with warmth and euphony. Tracks like “Sparrow” and “High Times” take Eppard’s voice through the paces from soft falsetto’s to heavy power rock roaring.
3 is similar in feel to Coheed and Cambria and Fair To Midland, yet has its own distinct signature. On this record the band steps more away from the former, but the aural relation to the later stands here. Something that jumped out at me on the track, “Numbers”. Bassist Daniel Grimsland is pushed to the forefront on this funky prog-fest which closes out with a nice metal finish.
“One With The Sun” recalls Yes, with a modern twist of course. The layered and soaring vocals laid over acoustic meanderings all founded on a progressive and atmospheric base.
Drummer Chris Gartmann, along with Grimsland shine of the album’s title cut, another modern progressive piece which still evokes some of that 70’s flavor heard on the previous track.
“Pretty” has a pop-metal hook, that will stick with the listener, much like “React” does, though perhaps not as strongly. Meanwhile “Afterglow” starts out with an 80’s modern pop-rock groove, but by mid-song it becomes a stellar hard rocking piece.
The album’s heaviest riffs kick off “It’s Alive”, but the song wastes no time jumping into frolicking proggery. Which is one of the album’s (and the band’s) great gifting; transitions and breakdowns abound. You simply cannot get bored with this record.
The album, while strong throughout almost seems to limp to the end with the tracks “Only Child” and “The Barrier”. The former seems a bit like it’s wandering aimlessly, while the latter, though enjoyably melancholy is readily forgettable.
In all, this is an excellent album and a highly enjoyable listen. The Ghost You Gave To Me sees 3 return to a heavier style and the band continues to express its collective and esoteric muse. Eppard’s voice is fantastic, and his guitar work along with Billy Riker’s are well-played and fitting.