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Sparta - Threes Review

by Matthew Hastie

Some bands just have the most tumultuous pasts. Once upon a time there was a phenomenal band called At the Drive-In. Fusing out of control rock, funk, Latin, and amazing spacey guitar jams, many believed this was the reinvention of Rock. Sadly, the band fizzled and died. But I can say this, I am actually very happy it happened, because instead of one great band, we now have two. 2/3rds of the band, Cedric Bixler and Omar Rodriguez, went on to form the seminal prog-rock space jam band Mars Volta. And what more needs to be said about them? They play fantastic music, have great musicianship, and probably have one of the best live performances ever. The remaining members; Jim Ward, Paul Hinojos, and Tony Hajjar, went on to form the melodic band Sparta.

Sparta takes elements of hardcore, punk, alternative, and emo (the good aspects of emo anyways). Blended together they form a unique sound and on each album they grow exponentially and continually write better songs. Their last album, "Porcelain", received much acclaim and their newest LP, "Threes", is another wonderful outing. The songs are fresh, and give a breath of life into the alternative music scene. None of the songs sound the same, yet there is a great coercion and the album does not feel empty or lacking.

"Untreatable Disease", the album's lead off track, sums up a good idea of what you can expect from the rest of the album. The song's huge chorus is a perfect starting place, and it doesn't end there. "Taking Back Control" is very reminiscent for At the Drive-In, while "Transitions" gives a hint Mars Volta's prog rock and has some amazing vocal work by Jim. "Erase It Again" definitely has a bit more of the emo/alternative sound too it, and Jim's vocals sound similar to Tim McIlrath of Rise Against. All in all, there isn't a bad track on this CD. Every time I listen to it I hear something new that I missed last time. If you are into rock music at all, definitely check out Sparta for a good listen.

Release Date: October 24, 2006

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