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3.2: The Rules Have Changed

Back in 1988, a collaboration between multi-instrumentalist & vocalist Robert Berry, ELP keyboard legend Keith Emerson, and ELP/Asia/Atomic Rooster drum virtuoso led to the formation of 3 and the popular album To the Power of Three for Geffen Records. Despite critical acclaim from fans and critic alike, this was to be the one and only release from the band, as all members eventually moved on to other things. Fast forward to 2015, as Berry & Emerson began to once again discuss the never finished second album as well as a potential new album for Frontiers Records, with plans smashed mid-stream with the sudden death of Emerson that once again halted the much awaited follow-up from 3. Or did it?

With song structures & arrangements already fleshed out by Berry & Emerson, and with the blessing of Frontiers President, Serafino Perugino, Berry took all this patchwork of material and put together 3.2, with the new album titled The Rules Have Changed. Handling all the instruments & vocals himself, Berry has really completed what is ultimately a nice tribute to the late Emerson, as his stamp is all over these songs, Robert even going so far to get similar keyboard & synth tones to Keith on many of these tracks. For those that remember the debut 3 album, the blending of pop hooks with symphonic progressive rock is ever present here, tunes such as "One By One", "The Rules Have Changed", and "Our Bond" brimming with Berry's smooth, melodic vocals and occasionally bombastic keyboard explorations. "Powerful Man" is a fun, rocking prog tune, again splattered with plenty of tasty synths, while "What You're Dreaming Now" lets Robert deliver a truly potent vocal performance as well as drop in some meaty guitar riffs and symphonic synths. Catchy fare like "Somebody's Watching" as well as the very ELP-ish "Your Mark on the World" are instantly memorable but ripe with jaw dropping instrumental passages...close your eyes and you'll think you are hearing Emerson himself up in heaven doing what he does best.

With plenty of magical moments, The Rules Have Changed is a wonderful listen and brilliant homage to one of prog rocks most treasured legends. Good to see Robert Berry back in the spotlight again, as he's long been a vastly underrated talent.

Track Listing
1.One By One
2.Powerful Man
3.The Rules Have Changed
4.Our Bond
5.What You’re Dreaming Now
6.Somebody’s Watching
7.This Letter
8.Your Mark On The World
9.Sailors Horn Pipe (Instrumental)

Added: August 25th 2018
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Frontiers Records
Hits: 879
Language: english

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