3 - "The End is Begun" (CD)
"The End is Begun" track listing:
1. The Word Is Born Of Flame
2. The End Is Begun
3. Battle Cry
4. All That Remains
5. My Divided Falling
6. Serpents In Disguise
7. Been To The Future
8. Bleeding Me Home
9. Live Entertainment
10. Diamond In The Crush
11. Shadow Play
12. These Iron Bones
13. The Last Day
Reviewed by zMETALlica on August 6, 2009
Though this band feels more like prog rock, it definitely contains elements of metal. The album opens up with "The Word Is Born Of Flame," a mostly instrumental track that begins with a flamenco style of playing on an acoustic guitar that is incorporated throughout the album. Vocals come in with more spoken lines than actual singing, then the drums come in, as well as the distorted guitars.
The build in heaviness in the intro track allows the song to seamlessly transition into the title track. This song is definitely the staple track of the album, if not the band as a whole. It is fast-paced, containing the flamenco acoustic guitar style mentioned earlier, interesting rhythmic patterns, and falsetto vocals flawlessly blended with his chest voice.
"The End Is Begun" is also one of the heavier songs on the album, which doesn’t say too much about the others. Only a little more than half of the songs on the album are as heavy as this second track. For an album that is 13 tracks long, this isn’t a good thing for metal heads, but let’s keep an open mind here. What makes the album good isn’t the songs individually, but how they are strung together. In this case, the softer ballad tracks are well placed throughout the album, which makes the overall album pleasing to listen to.
Another note-worthy track is "My Divided Falling," which starts with great slap bass playing from Daniel Grimsland, leading into crunchy guitars with a main riff. The guitars drop out for the verse to give some space for the vocals and come back in the second part of the first verse. They come back in with the intense riff from the beginning and it just makes you want to go crazy. The drummer, Chris Gartmann, provides a unique tom/kick drum pattern, which keeps the music driving forward. After the second chorus, there’s an instrumental guitar harmony break, which sounds like a bastard child of Iron Maiden and Rush. Out of those ashes comes an exploding 15-second guitar solo. The song ends with some demonic whispers, which I could imagine being growls, followed by a chanting choir.
The thing with this album is that the music makes you think the production is heavier than it actually is. The guitar tone is pretty weak, in comparison to most metal bands, but it has enough crunch to make you want to rock out. The vocalist, Joey Eppard, sings in a higher register ala Geddy Lee. Sometimes he sounds like the vocalist from Coheed and Cambria, which is interesting because his brother Josh used to be the drummer for Coheed and Cambria. The vocals may annoy some, but I find that they compliment the music. The bassist is phenomenal and you can actually hear it, which is something more metal bands should highlight on the production and song writing side.
Another track that stands above the rest is "These Iron Bones," which explodes from a prior softer track, "Shadow Play," making it more dramatic. After giving this album many listens, I still hear things in the music that I missed previous times. The effort put in by the band and production in subtleties really shines throughout the album, but this song is something above the others.
"These Iron Bones" has plenty of softer parts, but there’s always something in the background that’s driving the music forward. This is what attracts me to the music; the tasteful subtleties that make you go back and listen to a part again. In this song, it could be as simple as a lone guitar track keeping up the main heavy riff from the intro in the background, while the focus is on the vocals. I find that many metal bands focus too much on the forefront and don't take the time to add subtleties in their productions.
The album's only pitfalls are the simple indie rock-ish tracks, which fortunately don’t effect its replay value. 3’s strength is in their ability to seamlessly mix complex rhythms, catchiness, and straightforward song writing in their music. Overall I’d recommend this album for anyone interested in progressive music, who hates the guitar wankery of Dream Theater and the "how many time signatures can we get into a song" attitude that is found in a lot of technical and progressive music these days.
Highs: By blending flamenco guitar and prog rock, 3 creates a unique sound.
Lows: The album's high-energy momentum dies early on in the album and the singer can get on some people's nerves.
Bottom line: Technical without showing off and catchy without being cheesy, 3 will satisfy those with an open mind in the metal world.
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