Alt-metal band Gemini Syndrome released its latest album over the weekend. 3rd Degree – The Raising was released Friday through Century Media Records. The band’s third album, it came more than five years after the release of the band’s sophomore album, Memento Mori (2016). The wait for the record was worth it, too. This has already been proven through the singles that the album has produced. That is due to the songs’ musical arrangements and lyrical themes. The musical and lyrical content featured through the rest of the album is collectively just as powerful. Each will be discussed in the bigger record’s bigger picture here, as will the record’s sequencing. Each item noted does its own important part to make the album successful. All things considered, they make the album overall, yet another strong addition to this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums.
Gemini Syndrome’s latest album, 3rd Degree – The Raising, is an impressive new offering from the band. Its success comes in part through its musical arrangements. The arrangements continue to exhibit the richness and heaviness that became so familiar to audiences over the course of the band’s first two albums, Lux and Memento Mori. However, a close listen also reveals clear growth from the band this time out in terms of the arrangements. In place of the aggro rock and more nu-metal leanings present in those records’ arrangements is a darker, heavier approach that blends influences of Tool’s dark prog and Breaking Benjamin’s gloomcore sound into one. Each arrangement is unique from its counterparts here, but the influences are still there. The changes in the sounds and stylistic approaches are subtle from one to the next, but again, a close listen will reveal those variances. Case in point is the arrangement featured in ‘Absolution.’ This radio ready arrangement whose contemplative verses and heavy, fiery choruses create a great contrast that is certain to keep listeners engaged. The intense approach taken in the arrangement’s bridge, which finds front man Aaron Nordstrom almost rapping (believe it or not) adds even more to the song’s interest. By comparison, the full-on alt-metal approach taken in ‘IDK’ (one of the album’s singles), complete with Nordstrom’s screams against the more melodic choruses is a distinct change in sound and style. Yet it is still so immersive with its richness and heaviness. On yet another note, a song, such as ‘Children of the Sun’ takes listeners in yet another direction. The guitar riff that opens the song immediately conjures thoughts of Pantera. Interestingly enough, that comparison is only brief as the song progresses. From there, the guitar and bass line that builds presents an almost bluesy influence in its stylistic approach, even as heavy as the pairing proves. The song’s chorus meanwhile is a full, immersive melodic hard rock presentation. All things considered here, there is a lot that happens in this arrangement, but it is all so well-balanced from beginning to end. The whole stands on its own merits separate from the album’s other arrangements. Keeping that in mind, when it and those other arrangements (including the ones noted here) are considered collectively, they leave no doubt that the musical content featured in this record is so important to the album’s presentation. They are just a part of what makes the album an impressive presentation. The record’s lyrical themes also play in to the album’s success.
The lyrical themes that are featured throughout this album are important because of their overall accessibility. The theme featured in ‘Absolution’ is a prime example of that accessibility. The theme presents a seeming message that yes, things are going to be tough in life, but it is up to us to make a difference in our lives. He reiterates that seeming message in the song’s chorus, noting that “This is our last chance for absolution.” For those who might not know, absolution is the act of forgiving for having done wrong. It would seem to go in line with the inferred theme. He seems to be saying that forgiving others is part of making changes in our lives for the better; that we cannot hold onto anger as well as making the most of ourselves. This is all just this critic’s interpretation of course. Regardless, the seeming message is powerful and will certainly resonate with listeners whose hearts and minds are open to that apparent theme.
‘Broken Reflection’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. This song – one of the album’s singles – is a rumination on how we view ourselves versus how we present ourselves to the public. Nordstrom talked about the song’s theme when the single was released this summer, noting, “We are all trying to show the best versions of ourselves, but we need to master those versions inside before we can present the perfect image and not have it be confused for something illusory.” This statement makes sense and hopefully will to audiences. He is saying we need to look inward before we look outward as part of that process of rebirth. The theme of personal and spiritual rebirth is the overarching theme of this album, so that makes this theme even more fitting.
‘Where We Started From’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. In the case of this song, the inferred message (again this is this critic’s interpretation) seems to be one of addressing how we find ourselves in vicious cycles, doing the same things over and over. It would seem that the song hints at how our own mental and emotional states play into those cycles happening. It would seem to play into the album’s overall lyrical theme of personal and spiritual rebirth, too. Once again, this is all just this critic’s interpretation and is hopefully somewhere in the proverbial ballpark. When it is considered along with the themes (and seeming themes) of the other songs addressed here and those in the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes clear that the album’s lyrical content is just as important to its presentation as the album’s musical arrangements. The content overall gives audiences plenty to appreciate here. When the sequencing thereof is considered, too, it works with the content to show even more why this record is a success.
The sequencing of 3rd Degree – The Raising is important because it takes into account the subtle changes in the songs’ arrangements and their lyrical theme as it assembled the record. It also takes into account the energy in each arrangement. Considering the mood that the arrangements establish (even considering the overall positive and contemplative nature of the songs’ lyrical themes) this is extremely important. That is how emotionally heavy each arrangement proves. The themes, as noted, are meant to help audiences relate and cope with situations in their own lives. The sequencing ensures that those themes change from one song to the next. That in turn ensures listeners’ maintained engagement and entertainment even more. When this is considered along with the impact of the record’s sequencing in terms of the subtle changes in the arrangements, the whole proves the sequencing just as successful as the album’s content. When all things are considered together, they make the album overall a powerful new offering from Gemini Syndrome that the band’s fans will enjoy just as much as hard rock and metal fans in general.
Gemini Syndrome’s latest album, 3rd Degree –The Raising is a successful new offering from the band. It is a presentation that will appeal equally to the band’s established audiences just as much as it will to hard rock and metal fans in general. That is due in part to its arrangements. The musical arrangements stand out because of their familiarity and accessibility. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements are accessible in their own unique way and will also make audiences really think deeply about life and themselves. It strengthens the record’s presentation that much more. The sequencing of that overall content rounds out the album’s most important elements. It takes all of the content into account in every way and ensures the songs are ordered so that the content has the maximum impact on listeners, ensuring the audiences’ maintained engagement from beginning to end. When it is considered along with the content and its impact, the whole makes the album overall a strong finish to Gemini Syndrome’s trilogy of albums and gives hope for the band’s future.
3rd Degree – The Raising is available now. More information on Gemini Syndrome’s new album, single, video and live appearances is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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