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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Gamma - 1982 Gamma 3
Gamma - 1982 Gamma 3

ALBUM: Gamma 3
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: E1-60034
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2002, Wounded Bird (USA), WOU 6634 * 2013, Rock Candy Records, CANDY229


LINEUP: Ronnie Montrose - guitars * Davey Pattison - vocals * Mitchell Froom - keyboards * Glen Letsch - bass * Denny Carmassi - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 What's Gone Is Gone * 02 Right The First Time * 03 Moving Violation * 04 Mobile Devotion * 05 Stranger * 06 Condition Yellow * 07 Modern Girl * 08 No Way Out * 09 Third Degree

WEBLINKS: www.anti-m.com/montrose/gamma.htm

Occasionally you will find a band or artist completely move away from a style that many were accustomed to. During the early 80's, some of these opted to embrace technology and synthesizers in such a way that would test the faithfulness of fans - if only for a bit of creative artistic license being employed by the artist in question. Such examples include: Neil Young (refer his godawful 'Trans' LP), ZZ Top's high successful 'Eliminator', Doc Holliday's 'Modern Medicine' and Van Halen (refer their '1984' and '5150' albums). Ronnie Montrose decided to join that club too, and in 1982, he released a synth riddled LP that was markedly different to the previous two Gamma LP's that went before. Keyboardist Jim Alcivar was replaced by studio hound Mitchell Froom, previously seen with the band Bruzer. 'Gamma 3' might be different, but it is high on melodic values. Many have commented that Montrose's guitar prominence was effectively nullified by all the keyboards on offer, but I don't find that at all. All that is different is there are more keyboards in the mix.

The Songs
'What's Gone Is Gone' gets us underway with a fast tempo intro. The song itself pumps along at a great pace, reminding me of Alaska's 'The Sorcerer' in parts. Arrangement wise, this one has a bit of everything.

'Right The First Time' prowls across the soundscape initially, but opens out to a highly melodic track shortly after. Froom's keyboards provide the layering colour in much the same way as Howard Helm did for Canadian heroes Refugee.

The opening strains of 'Moving Violation' reminded me of Kansas, but it was only fleeting, as it turns out to be a tough rocker mostly through the verses. It goes off on a different tangent by solo time, but you get that with Ronnie's music! lol!

'Mobile Devotion' has a similar hi-tech vibe to The Tubes in places, but is probably even more hi-tech OTT than those guys!

Complete with morse code sound samples, 'Stranger' is perhaps one of the most commercial songs on the album, the chorus though simple is very effective, the whole song combining well.

'Condition Yellow' is an instrumental track fusing Froom's keyboards with Montrose's guitar, a style that Ronnie would explore on his forthcoming solo albums.

'Modern Girl' is musically similar to that one-off Celestium album, those the acoustic guitar and Pattison' vocal flavour would send it in a slightly direction.

'No Way Out' is sung and played in the same style as the classic 'Razor King' from the debut, though the lyrical content is not as tough and dark. Ronnie lets loose a flurry of six string capers that confirms to me this album isn't all about keyboards.

Unlike the next track, where prowling around shadowy corners and night time alleys is 'Third Degree', a dark sounding track with Froom contributing some 'power chords' keyboard style! This one could even be described as progressive when compared to the previous tracks on the album.

In Summary
By 1983, Gamma were put out to pasture by Montrose after a support tour of Europe in tow with Foreigner. Pattison moved on to Robin Trower's band, Carmassi joined Heart for their 1983 LP 'Passionworks' and played with them all through their successful mid 80's tenure, while bassist Glen Letsch moved on to New Frontier then onto Robin Trower's band alongside Pattison. Montrose continued his sci-fi/synth orientation with a handful of solo LP's released during the 80's such as 'Territory' and 'Speed Of Sound'. Never one to sit still for long, Ronnie has released many many albums since. Gamma was reformed in 2000 for the 'Gamma 4' album (read review below) - continuing the musical legacy of this amazing band.

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#1 | dangerzone on June 25 2008 05:18:11
I had been meaning to review this for years but it got lost in the shuffle with hundreds of others. Great melodic hard rock.
#2 | reyno-roxx on June 25 2008 07:45:37
This album is my favourite of the four. What it may lack in upfront guitar from Ronnie it more than makes up for in the quality of the songs. 'What's Gone Is Gone' and 'No Way Out' are killer songs, but 'The Third Degree' is, to me, simply immense.
#3 | Nick C on June 26 2008 13:29:00
Less aggressive or intense than the previous albums, but that's not to take anything away from it. I don't think Gamma released a bad album and all are worthy of picking up. As mentioned the songs are fantastic.
#4 | tompa on August 06 2008 23:39:27
New-boy Mitchell Froom steals the show completely on this album. He's the true star here. Beautiful keyboards, beautiful songs. Fave tracks; Right The First Time and Condition Yellow
#5 | AORboyo on November 23 2013 13:00:05
Not played this for a few years, got it spinning at mo via 'Rock Candy' remastered re-issue....Forgot how good an album this really is, absolutely loving this Top Notch hard rock album, yeah, Montrose's hard hitting riffs are not upfront with more keyboard oriented with slant Hi-Tech in places, but the songs are still 1st class MHR....RECOMMENDED!
#6 | super80boy on December 31 2013 18:25:08
I would say the experiment clearly worked on all fronts, at least to my ears. I agree, you can still very much hear the Montrose guitar in the mix, but it is used more as an embellishment to the arrangements, not as the usual foundation. Really like 'Stranger' with its very infectious chorus. 'Modern Girl' has FM rock radio written all over it. 'Right The First Time' is fantastic.
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