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

THE DARK THIRD

Pure Reason Revolution

 

Crossover Prog

3.74 | 251 ratings

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BrufordFreak
5 stars The Dark Third took me by complete surprise. The second "new" progressive rock CD I purchased based on prog reviews/ratings, it immediately won me over and continues to grow on me almost a year later. I know I'm going to rate it even higher today than I would have done when I first got it. The vocal harmonies, unexpected song twists, melodic compositions, and kind of "concept album" feel to it make it a total winner.

I. "Aeropause." An absolutely stunning opening song (instrumental). It is quite obviously reminiscent of early Floyd, but who couldn't use a little more of that classic pedal steel? Drums are a bit murky (as they are throughout the CD). My only real complaint about this song: I wish it would go on longer! (10/10)

II. "Goshen's Remains." Begins with Chloe Alper's pleasant vocals and as a rather straightforward rock song before dropping into a pretty string interlude before then ending with the exceptionally constructed and mixed multi-voiced harmonies that make this group and album unlike anything I've heard in the 21st Century. (8/10)

III. "Apprentice of the Universe." Is filled with those amazing four or five-part harmonies. I don't know or care what they're saying, it's just extraordinary--adds so much more to the music (which has some "light" electric guitar power chords and dancing synthesizers bouncing around behind the voices). (10/10)

IV. "The Bright Ambassadors of Morning" spans 12 minutes with some wonderful sections: slow and spacey, lots of instrumental, soaring five-part harmonies, a very catchy chorus repeat woven into a very well-crafted (a la "Close to the Edge") current of four other verbal streams before settling into a very catchy instrumental section (bass-led!). These guys know how to weave fairly simple melody lines with both their voices and their instruments to create some very engaging, pleasing, and commendable music! The sections with "heavy" guitar-bass-drum rhythms are so watered down, never really abrasive or over the top--not even up to Porcupine Tree levels of "heavy" symphonic prog. I love the way certain themes--melodic, verbal, or harmonic--crop up in unexpected places throughout the album--truly giving this album a "concept" feel. (9/10)

V. "Nimos & Tambos." A great three-section song with driving music behind the harmonized chorus parts. Again, too short! (8/10)

VI. Is actually two songs in one: I. "Voices in the Winter," II. "In the Realms of the Divine." The first has a very familiar sound/feel but I haven't been able to place it. Filled, of course, with the wonderful vocal weaves--this time mostly male dominated, Chloe mostly backing with "ooo's." It really is dominated by the vocals, the instrumentals almost being incidental though they are very present. The second song, about two minutes long, starts out kind of Kronos Quartet meets Black Sabbath before the voices start singing to each other, repeating each other's message, then bag! It's over. Strange. Never quite lets you get to engage. (8/10)

VII. "Bullits Dominae." Is probably the least engaging song, almost Beatles Eleanor Rigby" or Abbey Road for the first two minutes, until Chloe takes the lead over the metal rhythm section. (6/10)

VIII. Is actually two songs in one: I. "Arrival," II. "The Intention Craft." Has a very Floydian feel to the instrumental intro before turning heavy, with some accompanying strings and great synths dancing around in the background (sometimes too far back there). Some of the album's best bass and lead guitar work coupled with a great reprise of the conversation harmonies and melodies from "The Bright Ambassadors." This is definitely the peak performance of the album--they put it all out there with their most energy, best timing, best precision, great vocal work--it all mixes so well. IT REALLY WORKS!! Floyd meets meets Art of Noise meets PT, meets and yet it's all so new, so unusual, so fresh, so unpredictable, so intriguing. (9/10)

IX. Is actually two songs in one: 1. "He Tried to Show them Magic," and II. "Ambassadors Return." Rush: it opens with an intricate vocal weave (harmonied and multi-voiced, of course), which slows into an even more intricate weave of at least five layers of harmonied lines. Who compared these guys to Beach Boys, The Reasoning or Mostly Autumn? Those groups can't hold a candle to Pure Reason Revolution! Love the "get the Led out" riffs 3:30 into the song. Just before they reveal the meaning of The Dark Third in the "he showed them magic" lyric. And then, 5:15 into the song: fade and BLANK. There's a bizarre five minute gap of absolute silence (!!) before some bells and harmonized "Ahh's" bring us back to the 60s. (Is this the Beach Boys? Where's Chloe? How did they get the Wilson boys to do this!?) Bizarre! Mysterious! Off the wall! What the heck! Let's play it again!! (8/10)

Overall 76/90 = 86% but one weak song will not a modern prog classic ruin! Especially one that offers such a fresh and unusual gift: unparalleled vocal harmonies. The Dark Third is firmly established in my Top 20 Favorite Albums of the Naughties.

Five Stars: Essential for the education, edification and collection of any prog lover!

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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