Pure Reason Revolution are not a band to stand still musically. Their 2006 debut album “The Dark Third” captivated progressive rock audiences with hypnotic soundscapes owing a lot to Pink Floyd. Then their second album, “Amor Vincit Omnia”, confounded that same audience with an utterly changed sound. Gone were the Floydian atmospherics, replaced by hard-edged gritty electronica, sounding a lot more like Depeche Mode than any 1970s progsters. Where would their third album take them? A blend of the two styles, or something else entirely?
Some Doctor Who noises herald the opening number “Fight Fire”, which pulls no punches whatsoever, sounding like The Prodigy at their most mental, all harsh, scraping electronic clanging with an utterly relentless pounding rhythm. But just when you expect the album to continue in that vein, it changes tack. Subsequent songs are far more melodic with the multi-layered harmonies from Jon Courtney and Chloe Alper still very much present. The instrumentation is still very strongly centered around dance and electronica, albeit with churning guitars along with the electronic rhythms. First track aside, it’s really a logical progression from their previous disk, more evolutionary than revolutionary this time around.
The best moment has to be the lengthy “Open Insurrection” towards the end of the album, a dark intense piece that puts which puts electronica, metal and prog into a blender to come up with something hugely epic. That and the closer “Armistice” with it’s harmonies and chiming guitars are the few places we hear any echoes of the dreamy sound of their debut. All of which goes to show Pure Reason Revolution are still a genuinly progressive band, always moving forward musically, and never content to retread their own past.