Monday, September 10, 2012

Review - 3- The Ghost You Gave To Me

I'm a bit late in posting reviews I wrote earlier this year and in 2011. I was a'slackin! So now I'm catching up and hope you all enjoy my piddly little thoughts. As for this album, true to predictions I'm still enjoying it. They're playing about two miles from my home in October with Coheed & Cambria but I can't bring myself to go. First I'd be going to a concert by myself (bummer) because my wife finds most of my music to be headache-inducing which would mean that I'd be going to a bar by myself and homey don't do that. Plus, the few bands I'd seen play at this venue (more of a giant nightclub than a bar, really) didn't have very good sound. And finally they are 3 is one of those bands that don’t quite fit into an easy definition. Or maybe they fit into too many definitions. The Ghost You Gave To Me is their third or sixth album, depending on how you count and when you start counting (do proper-label rereleases of albums originally released on their own make the cut?) Their sound is uniquely theirs. For the sake an argument since the band is on Metal Blade records, let’s just say their genre is metal, meaning that most fans of Taylor Swift aren’t going to find immediate enjoyment from this band. However like a few other bands on “the label where bands go to die” 3 refuses to play full-bore death metal with growling vocals. Actually some of those die-hard metal fans dislike 3’s vocalist because his is a clean, clear tenor voice (no, not the piercing shriek that characterized much of 80s metal.) While distorted guitars make up the majority of their sound the band isn’t afraid to use acoustic guitars (paired right alongside the electric ones… there’s none of that “Now let’s have a quiet acoustic song, kids” for this band), pianos, strings, and experiment with freaky effects.

But I’m getting around myself. Injected into this metal are vocal harmonies, soaring choruses (chori?) and a few judiciously-placed twists of the tempo, which of course gets them the label of “progressive” though they are no more or less “progressive” than a band like Muse. There are no ten-minute epic songs full of tortured time signatures devised by an irritated mathematician. Instead you get superbly written muscular guitar-driven riff-rock with a few inventive touches to keep your attention. And what amazing song crafters they are! If you’ve been hankering for melodic power metal belly up to the bar! It’s only fair to mention, though, that this album took longer to grow on me than their earlier albums but that’s often a sign of music that tends to stick with me for longer than two weeks. Time will tell.

An example of the band at their finest is “Numbers” which opens quietly with agitated guitars playing under whispered vocals that ripen into a catchy chorus before stepping aside for the kind of melodic guitar solo so rarely heard these days. The song ends with a dark metal riff that forms the basis of an extended instrumental outro. Balancing the darkness is the explosive “React”, an optimistic song of bright melodies and the puzzling lyrics of “I’m not gonna give up this heart attack” that will probably reveal themselves to me this summer while mowing the lawn. “High Times” is another energetic rocker that has bits of early Def Leppard mixed with Coheed & Cambria. Other bands that put in appearances are Rush, King’s X and PFR. The vocalist/guitarist/songwriter for 3, Joey Eppard, is a dead-ringer for one of PFR’s vocalist and the connection adds credence to my theory that Eppard is of the rare breed that is able to covey a non-Evangelical variety of Christian faith in intelligent and poetic lyrics. Then again, I also wear hats made of tinfoil.

If you’re in the mood for something a little different but something not so “out there” that it freaks out your miniature schnauzers you could do much worse than The Ghost You Gave To Me. And just because I’m a nice guy I’ll save you the frustration of trying to use a modern internet search engine to find a band named “3” and give you a link - http://theband3.com/ . You can thank me later.

1 comment:

Adam said...

I say a hearty "thank you" for introducing me to 3. Their albums will be on my picks-of-the-year list for sure.