3 - Wake Pig [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Wake Pig [reissue] (2005)

Metal Blade

3 have quite an impressive past, and with their signing to the famous Metal Blade Records (Cannibal Corpse, Gwar, Manowar) last year, things are looking even brighter for the group. They formed thirteen years ago in Woodstock, NY and nabbed a spot on the `94 Woodstock Festival and again later on the `99 one. They have a very impressive touring record, including a ton of shows on several tours opening for Coheed and Cambria. In fact, I saw a past show on their website where they opened up for Shabutie! Sweet. "One of the few modern bands I truly consider to be great, an inspiration to me and all the members of Co&Ca. This is important," says Claudio Sanchez (taken from the Metal Blade website). Well, Claudio, let's just see about this.

Opener and single "Alien Angel" starts things off with a definite Coheed-type feel, especially due to Joey Eppard's vocals, which resemble Claudio's -- melodic, sweet yet sinister, and with a good range. By the way, while looking into the whole 3/Coheed thing, I discovered that Joey Eppard is indeed related to Josh Eppard, drummer of Coheed; in fact, Josh used to drum for 3, and it seems Coheed basically stole Josh after they lost their drummer and changed their band name. Well, there's my history lesson for the day.

The next track "Where's Max" begins with some awkward slap bass and drums, then is followed by some interesting but at times silly synthesizer blathering. This instrumental treads ground dangerously close to sickening Dream Theater wankery, but "Dregs" shows some chops I like, with what could be called "acoustic shredding" to start the track. "Bramfatura" is an entire slap-acoustic track, and it rules. I wish this whole album was acoustic!

The title track is a keeper, due to the fact that the band stays focused. The chorus of "Save them / Save yourself" is one of the more memorable moments on the disc. "Queen" is my top choice here, which again starts acoustic, and picks up the tempo in the chorus with some quality drum work. Later, on the secret track (some alternate version of "Trust") is an impressive yet lengthy drum solo that is completely unnecessary (this coming from a drummer) and it basically sums up the problem I have with a lot of bands like this. They should be thinking, "What is good for the song and for the overall sound? What is good for the band?" but instead they often think, "Gee whiz guys, check out these sweet lixx (or polyrhythms) I just learned!"

When 3 focus on the songs and support the vocals, they do quite well for themselves and I find myself enjoying it. But then they often seem to screw things up and make me chuckle at some ridiculous guitar effect. The acoustic element, the addition of synthesizer and extra percussion make this band stand apart from others of the genre, but they need to stick to songs and not worry about impressing anyone with their mad tech. Progressive metal music is not my thing usually (other than Coheed), but these guys do have some talent and a few good songs -- I must give them that much.