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Three: The End Is Begun
Progressive Rock
Rating: 4.0/5.0

I was a bit suspicious when encountering Three, a progressive rock band from New York. I had heard that they had some emo beginnings; and I hate emo with a passion. I think this was merely apocryphal rumor, if not urban legend. Three produces complex progressive rock with sometimes baffling lyrics, yet still with a lot of imagination. Following their Wikipedia notation (and you know that has to be true), 'the band (sic) describe their music as "dark yet uplifting, spiritual without any connection to religion". Their music is punctuated by dark, sometimes incomprehensible lyrics, often rather detached from the accompanying music. Joey Eppard is considered a highly competent guitarist, with an unusual flamenco/slap hybrid guitar technique.' They toured with Porcupine Tree in 2007 and that's good company to keep. If this is not enough to make you curious, then I suggest you check out their web site or My Space account and give a listen to their music.

There's much to enjoy on 'The End Is Begun.' This music is definitely for fans of the aforementioned Porcupine Tree or even Dream Theater. Three really mixes it up from beginning to end on this work. There's enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and listening. Some may say this is a monotone cacophony of music more akin to the confusing metal of Lamb Of God. But I would beg to differ: listen carefully and you will find creative arrangements mixed with melody and some heavy rhythms. The opening number, 'The Word Is Born Of Flame,' is proof positive of the complexity of Three's music. And this only the beginning: prepared to have your music sensibilities challenged as you move forward. At times, I wondered if I was listening to some ancient jazz-rock fusion mixed with contemporary progressive rock trends. I was impressed not only be the intricate arrangements, but also Joey Eppard vocals. There's a soothing unpretentious to his style that easily fits the music.

As for the songs, thirteen in all, there are some significant tracks here. My favorites include 'Battle Cry' which has some complex drum work and, at times, when the guitar plays, a metal feel. 'All That Remains' is another important song if only for it's overt accessibility. For those seeking more straight forward (even radio-friendly) rock, then this is the best piece on the album. The chorus itself lends itself to general acceptability. The guitar work throughout is especially beautiful. 'Serpents In Disguise' is another cut that pleases with its blend of intricacy and accessibility. Another favorite of mine is 'Diamond In The Crush' only because it brings more rock than progressiveness, although that is still there. It blisters with both great guitar and keyboard work. For fun and exploration, consider also 'Shadow Play,' a mysterious number with an unexpected acoustic atmosphere.

Three offers some exceptional progressive rock with moments that verge on metal and, surprisingly, some pop sensibilities. For those unacquainted with the whole prog rock genre will find themselves lost in the intentional mix of divergent rhythms, time changes, and shear extravagance of the arrangements. But we all need to be challenged at times. 'The End Is Begun' is an excellent work and gave my mind and ears something extraordinary. Very recommended!
  - Craig Hartranft

In Short

New York prog rockers Three surprised me with 'The End Is Begun.' This is great progressive rock that will keep you intrigued and listening at the same time. Compare to Porcupine Tree with whom they toured with in 2007, but do not expect a copy or an interpretation of them or other progressive bands. Three is cutting their own path through the forest. Very recommended!

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