IIIrd Alternative are an instrumental rock band with elements of prog and metal, similar in style to Mogwai. Now, for starters, I want to make it very clear that as a non-musician I tend to get very impatient with instrumental acts as I’ve found that the “songs” that they play tend to focus on flash instead of being listenable.
As a non-musician yeah, I do find it cool sometimes to hear a musician show off, but not for an entire album’s worth of material. Also, non-musician’s don’t look for flash in their music (or their metal) they look for hooks and something that will hold their attention for the hour or so that the album is playing. And, they also look for something that either resonates emotionally or lets them have a good time.
OK, so the above was a bit of a rant, but mainly I wrote it to show my frustration with many instrumental and “musician’s” bands, who the general populace can’t get into, but people who know how to play a guitar have wet dreams over. You know what bands I’m talking about and I know what bands I’m talking about. We will just leave it at that.
IIIrd Alternative, however, is not a band that I became impatient with at all. In fact, after hearing the album several times, I must say that I was quite pleased with it, as it accomplished the rare feat of having me actually enjoy an whole album’s worth of instrumental music. When I initially looked at the tracklist and saw that two songs were over ten minutes long, I was hesitant to even bother listening: I knew that ten minute instrumentals could not hold my attention. Well, I was wrong.
While not an record I can say was anywhere close to perfect, I can say that I did enjoy “IIIA” quite a bit, as it really is good as a collection of songs, and not a collection of noodling. Opener “Umbra” for example moves from heavy to melodic, back and forth painting pictures of far away lands. At close to 14 minutes it never drags on. The next song “Eye Against Eye” is a shorter number, heavy and catchy at the same time.
The album is available for a “Name Your Price” download at their Bandcamp right now. If you are a vinyl person you can also order a vinyl copy from Bandcamp as well. Check it out and throw the band a couple of bucks for making instrumental music so good!