[Review] Flying Colors – Third Degree

Flying Colors is a supergroup born in 2011 from an idea from producer Bill Evans. The lineup is formed by: Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard), Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs) and Casey McPherson (Alpha Rev). On 4 October 2019 their third album “Third Degree” was released on Mascot Label Group and available on CD, 2xLP and Digital. The album opens with “The Loss Inside“, a powerful song with a solid rhythmic base, energetic guitar riffs and a strong and deep voice. It is a track with guitar solos and a splendid organ part, as well as a great test of the drum-bass rhythm session. “More” takes the sonorities of the previous song, but with a more elaborate structure. The vocal is melodic in Muse style, while the music has different rhythm changes and is symphonic and aggressive. After a central part where an instrumental detachment between synth and guitar is well-developed, the vocal returns, takes up the main theme and the piece closes. “Cadence” is calmer and symphonic, with acoustic guitar and keyboards that create a softer atmosphere. Vocal parts are less personal and too similar to something already heard. The song evolves and tones increase, always remaining on symphonic terrains, the singing returns and a short guitar solo guide us to the end. “Guardian” begins with the musicians chatting in the studio, drum and bass entering with a light rhythm. The singing begins, and the main theme is not too elaborate, except for the bass, which is also produced in a solo. So the chief riff resumes and with the last strophes, we go towards the closure. It is a more direct and easily taken, but well executed given the presence of high leveled musicians. “Last Train Home” starts slowly, with a warmer voice and choruses, well-supported by guitar and keyboard melodies. As the minutes pass, the song increases the intensity, a good instrumental track with guitar and keyboards in evidence. pleasant the Synth solo and the fast and slow alternating rhythms. The vocals back, but it is not very incisive, after another instrumental passage in the final riff of guitar and synth intertwine until the end. “Geronimo” is built around a funky rhythm and a game with many overlapping voices. Good bass lines and drum parts. After a guitar solo, he takes up the vocals and with the return to the initial theme the track closes. “You’re Not Alone” is a touching track, the lyrics in fact speaks of the disaster caused by the hurricane Harvey in Texas. Piano, acoustic guitar features, a lighter rhythm and a good vocal interpretation. Before the finale, space is given to a melancholy electric guitar solo. “Love Letter” is cheerful and carefree, not exactly Prog, it seems one of those easy-going songs of the 60s. “Crawel” is the longest track on the album, with a light intro between piano and pop-style vocals. The track opens, but the sound is always a bit light, up to the instrumental interlude where there are some more ideas on guitar and keyboards. Calm and singing are back, with another short instrumental pause and a crescendo finale. The band’s intentions to create an accessible sound are fulfilled, proposing a mix between Pop and Prog cues. After an energetic and elaborate beginning with the first two tracks, the album gradually loses its effectiveness. All executed in an unexceptionable manner, by experienced and high leveled musicians. The vocal at times is not very personal and lacks some incisiveness. Recommended listening for lovers of the Pop / Prog genre, in the style of bands like Alan Parson Project, Asia or Muse.


1. The Loss Inside (5:50)
2. More (7:09)
3. Cadence (7:40)
4. Guardian (7:10)
5. Last Train Home (10:31)
6. Geronimo (5:19)
7. You Are Not Alone (6:21)
8. Love Letter (5:09)
9. Crawl (11:14)


Casey McPherson / Vocals, Guitar
Steve Morse / Guitar, Vocals
Neal Morse / Keyboards, Vocals
Dave LaRue / Bass
Mike Portnoy / Drums, Percussion

Flying Colors |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|YouTube Channel|

Mascot Label Group |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *