Published on September 26th, 2018 | by Justin G.
3.2: The Rules Have Changed (Frontiers)
Back in 1988, two thirds of Emerson, Lake and Palmer got together to try something new. Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer joined forces with singer/muti-instrumentalist Robert Berry for a project called 3. Their lone album – To the Power of Three – was moderately successful, but they never released a follow-up. Emerson and Berry were working on a new album, but Emerson’s death in 2016 put an end to that…until now. Robert Berry took all of the songwriting input from Emerson and finished out the material, recording an entire album on his own (though Emerson is credited). The project is billed as 3.2, and the album is called The Rules Have Changed.
It’s always risky to do a project like this, as it could come across as cashing in on a deceased legend rather than paying respectful tribute. I think Berry handles it well here. He obviously put his heart into the project and it is good to hear any material Keith Emerson put his stamp on, however limited it was. 3.2 sounds like the logical continuation of 3. It’s progressive, but with a melodic, accessible element. You definitely get shades of ELP, especially during the keyboard passages, which isn’t a bad thing. Berry’s vocals are strong as expected, and it’s pretty amazing to know that he took care of just about every musical aspect on The Rules Have Changed. There are some really impressive progressive passages to go along with the melodies here.
3.2 was a pleasant surprise. We don’t know exactly what a “proper” second 3 album might have been like, but The Rules Have Changed is a worthy follow-up in its own right. If you’re an Emerson, Lake and Palmer fan, the kind who also enjoyed Emerson, Lake and Powell and 3, chances are you’ll enjoy 3.2 as well.
Summary: To the Power of 3.2