3.2 - Third Impression

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Released under the name 3.2 to honor the longstanding collaboration between Keith Emerson, Robert Berry and Carl Palmer, Third Impression is in fact a Robert Berry solo album as he performs all the vocals and plays all the instruments on the recording. Emerson, Berry and Palmer first worked together in the band 3 back in the late 1980s; 3.2 was born more than three decades later and the band released the album The Rules Have Changed in 2018. With Emerson having passed away, Third Impression brings the 3/3.2 story to a close. And the story ends in fantastic form as Berry presents a set of prog rock/Album Oriented Rock that will very much please fans of 3, Asia, GTR and indeed Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Opening cut "Top of the World" begins with acoustic guitar that hints at a fondness for traditional folk music but soon Berry's vocals kick in and so do the synthesizer and electric guitar that carry the song on its nearly nine-minute journey, including with many Emerson-style keys parts that at times sound very ELP-ish. "Black of the Night" has a marching beat, synths mimicking bagpipes and lyrics that combine to make the song very anthemic while "Missing Piece" has a sound that ELP fans will recognize right away and words about a "lonely man" that many will relate to; hopefully listeners who relate will eventually find their "missing piece" as the man Berry portrays in song does. "Emotional Trigger" begins with Berry playing bluesy piano, and while there is some restrained synth playing at song's end, this cut represents the album's quiet side. Penultimate cut "A Fond Farewell," another ELP-style tune that's keyboard driven, is an obvious tribute to Emerson; not as obvious as an homage is set closer "Never" which is the last song that Berry and Emerson wrote together.


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