Progressive rock and metal have been looking for a new band to update the genre with something new and original for a long time. While the progressive metal sub-genre has expanded outward, it seems like progressive rock has been left to whiny emo kids and their pretentious and totally incomprehensible space odysseys. Though in recent times bands like The Dear Hunter have started to appear, they tend to be far more eclectic, and rock oriented than I think many fans of progressive guitar rock are really looking for. So when Three burst onto the scene a few years back and was, really, the first band to do something new and interesting with progressive rock since the mid-90s, they began getting some well-deserved attention.
My first contact with this band was 2007’s opus The End is Begun, which I was summarily blown away by. The record was a re-envisioning of progressive rock like the scene hadn’t seen in a very long time. The writing was tight, catchy and it popped with energy. The unique use of backing acoustics and the tremendously crisp and beautiful voice of the band’s leading man Joey Eppard excited me like few other bands have. So I was, of course, very excited to get my hands on the new album.
This initial excitement gave way to a bit of disappointment when I read the band’s promo bit, which was describing Revisions as a chance to re-work old material and re-record it and not really new material at all. The record itself was also supposed to be far more leaning towards the singer/songwriter side of the band and not really the more progressive side, I admit, I was worried.
Of course, I shouldn’t have doubted. Three has been an excellent band longer than I have been a fan of them, obviously (having formed in 1993) and this album is filled with great tracks. However, the sales pitch of “singer/songwriter” is definitely not misleading in any way, shape or form. This record is filled with tight, pop-laden tracks with soaring vocals, beautiful melodies and a tenderness that permeates every crevice of the recordings. The technical aspects definitely take a back seat to much more linear songs with big choruses and even Eppard’s slap-blend guitar playing is much less common, which makes some of these songs feel like they’re lacking an important technical aspect.
That said, this is a band that is tight as hell and really solid song-writers, so it should make sense that their B Sides record (or, well, castaways record) is filled with excellent tracks despite being songs that never really got attention the first time around. While there are tracks on here that I don’t like at all (or am not terribly fond of) such as “Anyone Human” and “Halloween,” tracks like “The Emerald Undertow” and “Lexicon of Extremism” (which is easily the most technical song on the album) and “Automobile” (the most straight-forward poppy track, in my opinion) still make it great to listen to.
I don’t normally talk about production unless I think it’s bad for some reason, because frankly good production is pretty much a standard when you’re dealing with major bands on labels like Metal Blade or Nuclear Blast. But this record is especially well-produced and worth listening to for its amazing balance, well-used tricks and cleanness. It still sounds very full even though it’s so clean and it’s really fun to listen to because of that.
If you’re a fan of the band or a fan of bands like The Dear Hunter or Coheed and Cambria you’ll probably love this record (and their other stuff, too). And if you’re a fan of Porcupine Tree, Opeth, old Pink Floyd or even progressive rock bands like Dream Theater, you’ll probably enjoy these guys. Should you start with Revisions? Probably not, I’d tell you to go back and check out their previous record, but this one is pretty good, too.