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Pure Reason Revolution - The Dark Third CD (album) cover

THE DARK THIRD

Pure Reason Revolution

 

Crossover Prog

3.74 | 252 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Strange animal, this progressive beast! While there are times prog mad fans await the next offering of their favorites with singular trepidation bordering on reverence and immediately put their feelings into a written tribute a la Prog Archives, there are instances when odd events seemingly skew the logic especially when dealing with new unknown talents. Such is the case for Pure Reason Revolution's "The Dark Third", a six month old purchase (mostly due to the nagging influence of fellow PA reviewers) still being mulled and pondered over, still unsure of its position in the Prog pantheon. Having the 2-CD version in my hands only complicates the torment of having to put in words the emanating feelings from this extravagant offering. Is this Prog's future? Is this Pure? Is this Reason? Or is this Revolution? None of the above but it must be said that if the universe is infinite then so is its supreme musical manifestation! Hence, the borders that end here blur with those that begin there, just like good Space-Prog! There are palpable psychedelic Pink Floyd influences exuding from the lyrics, artwork, song titles and some of the more sweeping arrangements, all mixed in with some seriously innovative vocal harmony elements (a still sadly lacking trait in Prog), powerful wall-of-sound rhythm guitars that mesh wondrously with slick electronics and a slight alternative rawness that is most appealing (almost like a proggier Blue Öyster Cult). From the gliding opener "Aeropause" that would stand proud on any Floyd recording, the PRR eloquently conspire to take the listener into a perplexing journey that alternates between bold charm and bewildering musical landscapes that sound both familiar and exalting. The startling "Goshen's Remains" keeps the path steady, with slight hints of a silent lucidity rationalized by some wonderful female vocals, programmed string bridges and interlocking harmonies leading through the colorful "Apprentice of the Universe" and arriving inexorably to the rather radiant piece de resistance and outright classic "The Bright Ambassadors of Morning", where all the seminal characteristics and strengths of this strange group coalesce with utter genius, a 12-minute journey into sheer musical exaltation. This is where it becomes quite apparent that this is a highly collective effort with no musician really standing out solo wise, nevertheless quite obviously led by the classically trained multi-instrumentalist James Dobson on keys, violin, electronics, bass and vocals. The next shimmering nugget is the "Voices in the Air/ In the Realms of the Divine" melancholic mini-suite where once again the vocal work is outright stunning. "Arrival/The Intention Craft" is another powerful tonal envelope that stretches between booming rock parts and smoother vocal partitions. The 13 minute reprise of "He Tried to Show Them Magic/ Ambassadors Return" sweeps the listener back into the spiraling vocal pirouettes that make this band so unique. The second CD offers up some oddly more dissonant pieces that prefer to delve into some darker, more experimental themes bordering on the schizophrenic ("Aurelia" is based on Gerard de Nerval's mid -1800's book of the same name, about the uncertainty of sanity), breezy gothic nonchalance ("Borgens Vor"), jazzy and fragile minimalism ("The Exact Colour") and a mystical, manic contrast laden dirge expressed by "The Twyncyn/ Trembling Willows". The irresistible finale "Golden Clothes" adds a quirky finishing touch to this rather complex maelstrom of modern prog. We are still far from a masterpiece but this is highly impressionistic symphonic space folk group with massively ingenious vocal work that has a very definite future as long as they have continued Pure Reasons to Revolutionize! Their next one will clearly define their position in Progland, once and for all. 4 pink reptiles
tszirmay | 4/5 |

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