Pure Reason Revolution: Hammer And Anvil

Third album sees Brit proggers drown Floyd-like origins in an ocean of electronica.

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It begins with the brutal NIN- style Fight Fire – a punch in the face mitigated only by Chloe Alper’s vocal, with drummer Paul Glover powering it along like some gleeful machine-gunner. Fight Fire, though, is as rock as it gets.

Second track Black Mourning, on which Jon Courtney sings lead on the verses, is – like much of the album – akin to vintage Depeche Mode. Its successor, Patriarch, is poppier still.

Industrial stylings return, sporadically, on Last Man Last Round but Pure Reason Revolution are for the most part moving into a different universe than the one that produced, say, Les Malheurs and Deus Ex Machina on last year’s Amor Vincit Omnia – or even Valour, here. Those are all big rock songs delivered using electronica stylings, but mostly that medium now dominates the message…

Powerful tunes and beautiful harmonies abound (not least on superb closer Armisitice), but the longest lasting impression is made by Blitzkrieg: a track as far from rock as it gets – a banal vocal phrase repeated, broken down and eventually supplanted by a dancefloor beat. And on Open Insurrection it’s only when the Bonham-esque drums rise powerfully up through the mix that you remember where this album started out.

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush, Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.